ASHEVILLE NC – The elevator at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park has reopened to the public after repairs due to power issues were completed. Visitors to the Park will now have the option of walking to the top of the Chimney via the 491 steps of the Outcroppings Trail or taking the 35-second elevator ride, which opens into the Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli. A boardwalk from the Sky Lounge accesses the final 44 steps to the top of the “Rock.”
“We’re thrilled that everyone can once again reach the top of Chimney Rock,” says Chimney Rock State Park General Manager Mary Jaeger-Gale. “Chimney Rock is unique in that it offers a spectacular view for people of all ages and abilities. Our 26-story elevator makes it possible for people who might not be able to hike or climb to experience our 75-mile, panoramic views.”
Power-related and leveling issues had rendered the elevator inoperable for weeks at a time for a little over a year. In November of 2013, North Carolina State Parks and Chimney Rock Management, LLC mutually agreed to cease operations of the elevator until its problems could be remedied. State Park Superintendent James Ledgerwood says these issues have been resolved:
“The state parks system has been committed to keeping all the infrastructure at Chimney Rock State Park safe and in good repair, so that visitors of all ages and physical abilities can enjoy this scenic treasure. The unique location of the elevator has provided a multitude of challenges that have required many minds to come together to ensure a reliable elevator. I am pleased that these issues have been corrected and access has been restored.”
Because the elevator served as the secondary egress for the popular Sky Lounge Gift Shop and Deli, it was closed as well. The Sky Lounge is now open and offers souvenirs, local crafts and grab and go snack options and ice cream.
The elevator originally opened in 1949 as the tallest in North Carolina. It took eight tons of dynamite to blast the Park elevator’s 258-foot-high shaft and 198-foot-long tunnel through solid granite.
About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor attraction located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It has been recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic and popular travel destinations for more than 100 years. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. The Park features a hiking trail to one of the highest waterfalls of its kind east of the Mississippi River, Hickory Nut Falls, at 404 feet. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com.