Friday, April 13, 2012

Outcroppings Trail to Chimney Rock Reopens April 14

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, one of the Southeast's most
iconic and popular outdoor travel destinations, is scheduled to reopen
the Outcroppings trail on Saturday, April 14. The rebuilt trail
offers new stunning views of the Park, increased capacity and improved
comfort with more places to rest.

The reopening of the Outcroppings trail, which leads from the upper
parking lot to the Chimney stairs, permanently restores hiking access
to the Chimney, the Opera Box, Devil's Head and Skyline trail to
Exclamation Point, the highest point in the Park. The modernized
elevator and Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli are expected to reopen
sometime later this spring. Discounted admission rates as of April 14
will be $12/adult, $5/youth (ages 6-15) and free for kids under 6.

"NC State Parks is thrilled to see months of planning and years of
guest commitment carry this project from a vision into a tremendous
reality. The dedication of our construction teams, park staff and our
community support has made this exciting project a true success and we
are pleased to be able to reveal this incredible new feature here at
Chimney Rock State Park," said Adrienne Wallace, Park Superintendent,
Chimney Rock State Park.

"The rebuilt Outcroppings trail offers new perspectives for our
guests. It's like upgrading from a mountaintop gravel road to the Blue
Ridge Parkway. It's an easier, more enjoyable trek for the family with
new stunning views of Chimney Rock and the Gorge," said Mary Jaeger-
Gale, General Manager, Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.

Awesome Views, Spacious Trail. Upgrading the Outcroppings trail
preserves access to the Park's iconic centerpiece for generations
while improving the guest experience. Landings are placed every 12
vertical feet of climb to facilitate rest stops, and the new six-foot-
wide stairways, which increase capacity, have a gentler incline to
make it physically easier for guests to hike to the Chimney.

A Construction Marvel. Four helicopter airlift missions were conducted
to transport tens of thousands of pounds of steel, wood, construction
materials and equipment to the trail construction site. The airlifts
saved an estimated 6-8 weeks of construction time on the project,
which began in December 2011. Dangling from a 250-foot rope attached
to the helicopter, large steel columns were carefully threaded between
large trees and lowered into new concrete footings with a precision
down to inches. The ex-military pilot of Pirate Airlift from Atlanta
stated this project was the "most challenging job in 21 years of
business." The general contractor for the trail reconstruction, Taylor
& Murphy Construction Co. of Asheville, engineered pulley systems to
transport heavy materials up the mountain.

Elevator Modernization. Originally opened in 1949, the Park's 26-story
elevator is nearing its completion in late spring on an extensive
modernization project. Almost every part including the original
elevator car is being upgraded or replaced. Construction on the
adjacent metal evacuation stairs is complete. The Sky Lounge Gift Shop
& Deli has been renovated to make its restrooms wheelchair accessible,
and it will offer improved retail and food selections. It is expected
to reopen simultaneously with the elevator at an unscheduled date.

Restrooms Renovation. Renovation of the Park restrooms on the Meadows
and top parking lot to make them wheelchair accessible is nearing
completion, and they are expected to reopen later this month. New
sustainable fixtures include waterless urinals, low-flow toilets, low-
flow faucets with automatic shutoff and automated hand dryers. New
sinks and partitions also have been installed. The elaborate interior
paintings by Park muralist Clive Haynes will be preserved.

Outcroppings Trail Reconstruction by the Numbers:

§ Total # of Stairs to the Chimney: 491

§ Stairs Rebuilt for Winter 2012 Project: 348 steps; 203 feet of
elevation change; 517 feet in length

§ Lbs. of Steel: 82,900

§ Lbs. of Wood: 58,600

§ Bolts & Screws: 16,000

§ Man Hours Worked: 8,800

§ Construction Workers: 14

Friends of Chimney Rock State Park. Want to help the Park create more
outdoor recreational opportunities? Join the Friends of Chimney Rock
State Park by visiting theirFacebook page or downloading a membership

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. In 2012, the Park is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of
the release of The Last of the Mohicans, which was filmed in Chimney
Rock. 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 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 More information on current Capital Improvement
projects at or by calling 800-277-9611.