Chimney Rock completes new elevator and staircase to iconic rock tower

 out chimneyrockBuilding the original elevator to the mountain’s summit in 1949 took workers 18 months to blast through solid granite, creating a 258-foot shaft reached through a 198-foot-long tunnel. It was completely revamped.

The park has also overhauled the Outcroppings Trail, a companion series of 491 stairs that also allows access to points on the summit. The former Outcroppings Trail was a network of wooden stairs built piece-meal over the first half of the 20th century. Rebuilding them involved four helicopter airlift missions to transport construction materials. Steel columns were carefully lowered between rock outcroppings and large trees onto new concrete footings.

The projects were completed by contractors supported by state park staff and Chimney Rock Management, the private firm that operates visitor facilities within the Chimney Rock section of the 5,700-acre state park. Chimney Rock had been a private tourist destination before it was incorporated into the state park system in 2007. The Morse family started developing the popular attraction in 1902.


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