Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on October 25, 2023.
Chimney Rock Village (aka The Village of Chimney Rock) sits at the entrance of Chimney Rock State Park, a popular North Carolina destination. While most people come for the famed Chimney Rock attraction and great hiking trails, the Village is a great base that’s filled with many historic shops, restaurants, and more.
We’ve loved this place during each of our fun experiences and created this guide to share our favorite things to do in Chimney Rock Village and nearby!
Here’s how we have organized this article:
- Where is Chimney Rock Village?
- The History of Chimney Rock
- Visiting Today (and Places to Stay)
- Things to Do (including Chimney Rock State Park)
- Restaurants in Chimney Rock
- Things to Do Around Chimney Rock
You can skip ahead to find our favorite things to do or keep reading about Chimney Rock Village’s location and the history of this wonderful town.
Where is Chimney Rock Village?
It is roughly 40 minutes southeast of Asheville, making it a great day trip from this large city. Other nearby towns include:
- Lake Lure (5 minutes away)
- Hendersonville (30 minutes away)
- Black Mountain (35 minutes away)
- Rutherfordton (35 minutes away)
- Tryon (40 minutes away)
- Forest City (45 minutes away)
History of Chimney Rock
This geographic area is millions of years old, with the 480-foot Chimney Rock granite monolith dating back 535 million years. This towering Rock became a tourist attraction in 1885 when a staircase was built leading up to it.
In 1902, Dr. Lucius B. Morse bought the land surrounding the Rock and created Chimney Rock Park. The Morse family managed the park until 2007 when they sold it to the state of North Carolina.
Today, Chimney Rock State Park comprises 8,014 acres of forests and mountains.
The Village of Chimney Rock grew alongside the state park. The village was recognized as a municipality in 1991, but most of the buildings and businesses there today can be traced back to the 1920s and 30s.
The permanent population is about 140 people today, but Chimney Rock Village welcomes thousands of visitors and tourists each year who really help bring the village to life.
Based on our experiences, we can say that Chimney Rock Village isn’t your average mountain town—the historic and Western atmosphere combined with its beautiful location in the valley below Chimney Rock results in a truly unique and transformative vibe.
While the town is smaller, its Main Street (Alternate US Highway 74) remains lively and bustling. As you browse all the shops, restaurants, and businesses on Main Street, you’ll really fall in love with this little town.
Where to Stay
The hotels and inns at Chimney Rock Village have largely been family-run for generations. If you plan to stay around for a few days, here’s a list of great places to stay.
- Broad River Inn (339 Main St): Broad River Inn is an elegant building with eight gorgeous rooms. The Inn is located near the Rocky Broad River and within walking distance from most shops and restaurants in the Village. The owners, Nick and Kristin, have cultivated a welcoming and adorable place to stay here!
- Chimney Rock Inn (126 Main St): Another great place to stay in the Village is the Chimney Rock Inn. The rustic and woodsy environment will make you feel at home in this mountain town. Chimney Rock Inn offers six unique cottages and eight rooms in the main house for you to pick your favorite.
- Hickory Nut Falls Campground (639 Main St): If you’re more interested in an authentic outdoor experience, you may enjoy camping along the Rocky Broad River! The Hickory Nut Falls campground has been operating for over 50 years, offering families and visitors the opportunity to experience Chimney Rock in a unique way. There is something for every type of camper here, with 70 RV sites, 13 tent sites, and 2 cabins.
- Riverhouse Inn (307 Main St): This Inn is just a quarter-mile from the entrance to Chimney Rock State Park and a great place to stay. The dark blue building was renovated in 2012 and features nine bedrooms. The views here are amazing, as the Inn backs up onto the riverbank.
Read More: 25+ of the Coolest Rentals in North Carolina
Chimney Rock Events
The Village of Chimney Rock comes alive throughout the year, with events at Chimney Rock State Park and elsewhere in the village. We think Santa on the Chimney in December is one event that should stay on your calendar.
Read More: The NC Tripping Events Calendar
Things to Do in Chimney Rock Village This Weekend (and All Year)
Here are things to do in Chimney Rock Village throughout the year, starting with the area’s most Bucket List-worthy attraction.
- Chimney Rock State Park
- Rocky Broad River Walk
- Shopping in Chimney Rock Village
- Chimney Rock Brewing
- Restaurants in Chimney Rock
Chimney Rock State Park
Of course, Chimney Rock State Park is at the top of our list of things to do when visiting Chimney Rock Village! One of the park’s top attractions is the Chimney Rock monolith, but there are other hikes and sights to see here.
Hickory Nut Falls is the second most popular destination at this NC state park. The 404-foot waterfall is one of the highest in the Eastern US and offers an impressive view. The Hickory Nut Falls Trail is a moderate 0.7-mile one-way trail (1.4 miles roundtrip) that takes you straight to the waterfall’s base.
Some other things to do at Chimney Rock State Park include:
- Exclamation Point Trail: A 1.2-mile roundtrip hike that stops at some of the best overlooks in the park.
- Skyline Trail: A 2.2-mile roundtrip trek that is the longest and most difficult in the park but features a stop at Peregrine’s Peak, the highest vantage point at 2460 feet above sea level.
- Animal Discovery Den: Animal lovers will love this small habitat that houses animals like groundhogs, snakes, turtles, and more.
Rocky Broad River Walk
The 1/3-mile long Rocky Broad River Walk runs parallel to Main St and is naturally surfaced. It’ll connect you to all the shops on the river side of town, with the others just across the street.
Shopping in Chimney Rock Village
Main Street is known for its assortment of truly quirky items and environments. Here’s a list of some downtown Chimney Rock shops that you definitely shouldn’t miss.
- Bubba O’Leary’s General Store and Outfitters (385 Main St): This general store opened in 1992 when owners Ann and Peter O’Leary wanted a change from the fast-paced city life. The old-fashioned store sells candies, gifts, jellies, jams, and more. And, if you’re looking for outdoor clothes for mountain hikes, Bubba’s is the place for you!
- Chimney Rock Gem Mine and Jewelry Co. (397 and 374 Main St): Located along the Rocky Broad River, the Gem Mine has two showrooms on Main St. In addition to browsing the largest sterling silver collection in Western North Carolina and other rare gem finds, customers can also mine for gems themselves!
Read More: The North Carolina Bucket List Book
- Featherheads (398 Main St): Featherheads has been a staple of Chimney Rock Village for over two decades. The shop offers a selection of pottery, artwork, jewelry, and more from local and Native American artists.
- Gale’s Chimney Rock Shop (418 Main St): Since 1947, Gale’s has offered the most kitschy and eccentric wares and tchotchkes. This shop embodies the one-of-a-kind style found throughout Chimney Rock Village, and the things you find here, you’ll likely never encounter again!
- Natives Rest Candles (382 Main St): Natives Rest was founded in the Hickory Nut Gorge, an area considered sacred by some Indigenous tribes. The company prides itself on preserving Native history and creating environmentally conscious candles. Some of their products include a line of 100% pure essential oil candles and a line of aromatic-infused candles.
Chimney Rock Brewing
Address: 461 Main St, Chimney Rock, NC
Local craft beers and food at Chimney Rock Brewing (formerly Hickory Nut Brewing) are a great way to enjoy your day in Chimney Roc Village.
Grab a seat overlooking the Rocky Broad River or one right next to it and you’ll see why. Chimney Rock Brewing specializes in English Cask-style ales, with some hoppy IPAs and stouts also on the menu.
CRB also has a location in Mars Hill, in Madison County, serving the same local beers as they do in Chimney Rock.
Restaurants in Chimney Rock
Like the diversity and culture found in Chimney Rock shops, the restaurants are just as vibrant and exciting.
- Burntshirt Vineyards Tasting Room and Bistro (428 Main St): You may recognize this name since Burntshirt is a popular vineyard in nearby Hendersonville. The vineyard also operates a second location in Chimney Rock. Visitors can book a wine tasting and tour and enjoy a nice dinner at the bistro.
- Chimney Rock Smokehouse (430 Main St): The Smokehouse is a newer addition to Main St, opening in July 2022. Despite its recent inception, it has gained a reputation for its great barbecue, quality, and freshness.
- Coffee on the Rocks (435 Main St): Coffee on the Rocks promises to “start your day with great coffee,” and they do not disappoint! It’s the only coffee shop in town, and its coffee is so great that people keep returning. The café features a rustic, old-timey vibe and an authentic Old Time Photo Saloon.
- Riverwatch Grill (379 Main St): For the best burgers around, Riverwatch Grill is the place to be. This restaurant features a lengthy menu of delicious burgers, sandwiches, wings, and other comfort foods and outdoor seating on the Rocky Broad River. Dinner here is a relaxing experience paired with great food.
- Village Scoop (439 Main St): After eating your fill at one of Chimney Rock’s wonderful dining places, stop by the Village Scoop for a sweet treat! This ice cream parlor has served over 61 Hershey’s Ice Cream flavors since 1998 and is still a family favorite. Enjoy a hand-dipped cone, milkshake, sundae, smoothie, and more!
Ready to Explore the Village of Chimney Rock?
We love visiting Chimney Rock Village throughout the year and can’t wait for our next trip that way. Until then, we hope you enjoy our guide that features our favorite things to do in the Village of Chimney Rock.
Have you ever visited this awesome part of North Carolina? We’d love to know what you think about this place.
Things to Do Around Chimney Rock (Day Trips)
Before you get in touch with us, here are some nearby things to do in Chimney Rock Village’s surroundings. We start with the town that’s literally attached at its hip.
7 minutes away from Chimney Rock Village
Lake Lure is not even 10 minutes away from Chimney Rock, so the two towns share a lot of community and things to do. This gorgeous lakeside town is known for the best lake life and the surrounding mountains.
Enjoy an afternoon of boating on the lake and visit the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, a bucket list-worthy attraction!
More Rutherford County Neighbors
Rutherfordton (35 minutes away) is a historic town with a wonderful downtown to explore.
- This includes its InterACTIVE Museum, a great place to take your kids. Ours loved it!
- Another great place to visit near Chimney Rock Village is Forest City (45 minutes away), largely known for its beautiful Christmas lights display. Of course, we recommend a visit any time to enjoy this lovely small town.
30 minutes away from Chimney Rock Village
Hendersonville is 30 minutes from Chimney Rock and is an amazing day trip option.
- The town is known for its apple orchards, amazing wineries and vineyards, and great outdoor hikes.
- If you have even more time in Chimney Rock Village, drive out to nearby Flat Rock and check out the Historic Carl Sandburg Home.
- Of course, if you’re into hiking, start with waterfalls like Bridal Veil Falls at DuPont State Recreational Forest.
35 minutes away from Chimney Rock Village
Explore Black Mountain’s rich arts scene, visit Lake Tomahawk Park, and try all the breweries in town! We love Lookout Brewing.
Black Mountain is also very near the Blue Ridge Parkway, including highlights like the Folk Art Center.
40 minutes away from Chimney Rock Village
- Walking around Biltmore Estate (especially during Christmas)
- Devouring amazing meals at the city’s restaurants and breweries.
- Visiting outdoor and family-friendly spots like the WNC Nature Center and the North Carolina Arboretum.
More Chimney Rock NC Things to Do (Travel Guides)
We’ve featured things to do in the Village of Chimney Rock and nearby places in our collection of NC travel guides. Here are a couple of them.