Activities & Interests
Hickory Nut Gorge
Rushing waters, rocky cliffs, a giant waterfall, and pristine forests make Hickory Nut Gorge a popular destination for hikers, leaf-peepers, and photography buffs. Over eons, the Rocky Broad River has cut through the mountainous terrain to create the 14-mile gorge, which drops about 1,800 feet between the town of Gerton and Lake Lure.
Straddling four counties and encompassing five communities, the 20,000-acre Hickory Nut Gorge is an ecological treasure. The Gorge is home to 37 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species.
Travelers driving from Hendersonville or Black Mountain will first come to Bat Cave, a town and a Nature Conservancy preserve by the same name. The preserve protects the rare and endangered Indiana bat. The town of Bat Cave offers quaint shops, mountain crafts, and restaurants.
One of the best known attractions in the Gorge is Chimney Rock State Park. Visible from the highway, the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls-which are twice as high as Niagara Falls-spill over the sheer cliffs in the Park. The Chimney itself, a stunning geological formation, presides over the Gorge like a lookout. The Park and Hickory Nut Gorge provided the backdrop for the movie The Last of the Mohicans.
At the bottom of the Hickory Nut Gorge is placid Lake Lure, which offers a sandy beach and swimming area, a lakeside gazebo popular for weddings, and boat tours. The town of Lake Lure is quite popular with seasonal visitors and offers a number of accommodations and restaurants. The movie Dirty Dancing was filmed at Lake Lure.
Hours of Operation
There are no fees for admission to Hickory Nut Gorge, but admission fees are charged at Chimney Rock State Park.
Hickory Nut Gorge is located approximately 15 miles southeast of Asheville, NC. It is accessible along US Highway 64 from Hendersonville and Rutherfordton, and via US Highway 9 from Black Mountain.
- Chimney Rock State Park (2 miles)
Standing atop Chimney Rock, an ancient granite monolith overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge, visitors are awed by the breathtaking view.
- Green River Gorge (13 miles)
The rugged Green River Gorge, southeast of Hendersonville, NC, boasts some of the most popular whitewater rapids in the eastern U.S.
- Swannanoa Valley Museum (13 miles)
The Swannanoa Valley Museum reflects the history of Western North Carolina through local artifacts and exhibits.