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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Look, it's Chimney Rock at Bat Cave!, Batman"

Yes, I know that if you google Chimney Rock you will find there are many Chimney Rocks in the world, but only one is near Bat Cave!  That is right - Bat Cave, North Carolina and it has nothing at all to do with Batman or Robin.

South east of Asheville, NC on beautiful US 74 you will find the little town of Bat Cave, the gateway to Chimney Rock Park.  Bat Cave is named after Bat Cave Mountain which has a cave with a lot of bats, imagine that.  Bat Cave has several shops and restaurants.  

My son and spent the night in Asheville, NC and headed towards Bat Cave and Chimney Rock after breakfast.  US 74 is a nice road.  There was not a lot of traffic once we were 3 miles out of Asheville.  The 10 mile stretch from Fairview to Bat Cave is really good.  Several tight curves a six hairpin curves about 4 miles out of Fairview.  We had ridden the Tail of the Dragon twice the day before and I thought this 10 miles was almost as fun and a lot less traveled, which made it less stressful and very enjoyable.
Look closely you can see some of the curves leading to Bat Cave
Less than a mile later there is another set of curves with elevation drop that does not have as tight of curves but some nice ones.  On the side of the road the pretty, but troublesome Kudzu grows unchecked up the trees and mountain side.
Main street US 74 in Bat Cave
Once we arrived in Bat Cave we decided to visit some shops and look for place to eat an early lunch before visiting Chimney Rock.  The small shops had a lot of character and were fun to look around.  There were numerous other bikers in town.  Seemed to be a popular destination.
Chimney Rock as seen from Bat Cave
On the recommendation of on the store owners we ate lunch at the Riverwatch Deli and Grill.  As the name suggest you can sit and watch the Rocky River from the back porch/deck.  We ordered and ate our deli sandwiches while watching the river and looking up to Chimney Rock.  Lunch was good, but I don't remember anything standing out enough to post about; however, I would eat there again.

We rode up to the park entrance, paid our entry fee, and headed up the mountain.  The ride up was nice and shaded with numerous pull offs with picnic tables.  We reached the parking lot and decided to hike to Hickory Nut Falls, a 485 foot waterfalls.  We descended a series of step to get to the actual trail.  
Some of the steps leading from parking lot to Hickory Nut Trail
The trail is .75 miles one way.  The trail is easy and shaded.  There were several places to stop and relax, view the surrounding mountains or Bat Cave below.   Toward the end of the trail we crossed a wooden bridge and walked to the base of the falls.  It was very pretty.  I am glad we took the time to hike the trail.
Hickory Nut Falls
After returning to the main parking lot we took the elevator up to the gift shop and bridge to the peak of Chimney rock.  Chimney Rock rises 315 from the base at the parking lot and has an elevation of 2,280 feet.  Once at the gift shop and snack bar we crossed the bridge and walked out on the top of Chimney Rock.  We could see all of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, Bat Cave, and the surroundings.  
Lake Lure as seen from Chimney Rock
We also hiked up to the Opera Box (great place to relax) and up to view Devils Head, a rock that looks like the profile of what we think would be the devil.  It is an interesting formation.  
Devils Head
We really enjoyed the views.  The Chimney Rock Park website states that one can see 75 miles from the peak of Chimney Rock. I don't know about the distance, but it was a great day, awesome sites, and well worth the visit. 
Chimney Rock as seen from the Opera Box
Notice the steps leading from the gift shop area to the peak!
If I am in the area I will visit Chimney Rock again.  Drop by you will have fun and the ride to get there is great.

5 comments:

  1. Nice writeup and photos! I've not yet visited Chimney Rock, but after reading your post, it's definitely on my destination list.

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  2. Amazing looking area, that Chimney Rock looks really interesting and I love the place names. Would love to ride there. An interesting read Bro., I also enjoyed reading about the animal park, similar to the game reserves we have here in South Africa just with different animals.

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  3. Hey "the rider" come on over and we can show you around. I would love to make it to SA someday. Visiting Africa has been a childhood dream I hope to make come true once I retire (15 years or so).

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  4. The more I see of North Carolina, the more I think I need to get down there. Looking good.

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  5. You are so close to NC you need to get down there. I am planning a trip back to that area next July. The roads are great and a lot of fun.

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