We were limited by my leg injury, on crutches, so we just took the elevator to the gift shop and then made it up 44 wooden stairs to Chimney Rock. It provides a great view of the valley of Lake Lure.
Further steps lead to Opera Rock and the peak at Exclamation Point. Had I not been disabled, I'd definitely have wanted to go all the way up.
In the tunnel for the elevator, a sign marks where you can expect a 15-minute wait. That matters because you can opt for the path up to the rock that most people can cover in about 20 minutes. Why stand in a boring line when you can get more of a workout and enjoy more nature?
I thought the $15/person fee was a bit high; they did discount it to $12 since one of the trails was closed. That didn't help us much anyhow, given (again) my being in crutches. I'd definitely like to visit again when we had more time.
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