Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock mountain State Park in North Carolina.

© Alexey Rotanov/Shutterstock

Chimney Rock Park

North Carolina Mountains

The stupendous 315ft monolith known as Chimney Rock towers above the slender, forested valley of the Rocky Broad River, a gorgeous 28-mile drive southeast of Asheville. Protruding in naked splendor from soaring granite walls, its flat top bears the fluttering American flag. Climb there via the 499 steps of the Outcropping Trail, or simply ride the elevator deep inside the rock.

The leisurely but less crowded Hickory Nut Falls Trail leads through lush woods for around three quarters of a mile to reach the foot of a 404ft waterfall, high above the river.

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