Guests can get a taste of rock climbing with  Fox Mountain Guides.


Rock climbing, hikes make for a fun day


By Landdis Hollifield


Summer is all about spending quality time with your friends and family outdoors.

On Saturday, June, 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., you’ll be able to reach new heights, learn different ways to have fun outdoors and explore a new hobby during National Get Outdoors Day.

Families are encouraged to enter their best photos of National Get Outdoors Day in the Park’s Smiles of Spring Photo Contest.

Kids interested in climbing to the top of the Park’s 32-foot-tall climbing tower can test their skills starting at 11 a.m. To participate, kids must be over 50 pounds and parents must sign a waiver before their child can climb.

Kids in Parks will also share information and answer questions about the Track Trail program during a guided hike along the Great Woodland Adventure trail at 2 p.m. Each Track Trail features self-guided brochures and signs that turn a hike into a family adventure. Before the event, parents can go to the KidsinParks.com to learn more about the program and create an account for their child. Families can go on their first Track Trail hike or add to their log on National Get Outdoors Day.

If you’ve never rock climbed or rappelled but are curious, Fox Mountain Guides will be on site offering climbing tasters.  Kids and adults can give it a try by rappelling down the side of Vista Rock with the help of an expert instructor. The cost is $20 per person and payment can only be made in cash or by check the day of the event. All gear and supplies will be provided for this activity. Here’s an opportunity to earn some bragging rights and get some great photos to share!

Shutterbugs will have a chance to enter the Park’s Smiles of Spring Photo Contest. All they have to do is take a selfie or photo of themselves somewhere in the Park and submit it to the contest for a chance to win fabulous prizes. Contest details can be found at ChimneyRockPark.com.

All activities, except for Fox Mountain Guide Tasters, are included with Park admission.

Once folks see how much there is to do in the Park, they’ll want to come back for more. Guests can upgrade their day’s admission ticket to an Annual Pass or Rockin’ Discovery Pass (for kids age 5-15), which allows passholders unlimited  visits   for a year. They’ll also be able to take part in special passholder events and receive discounts at area attractions for just $13 per adult or $6 per child.

Exploring and learning:

Family spends National Get Outdoors Day in Chimney Rock


An oversized sculpture of a salamander quickly caught the eye of 5 year- old Max Price along the Great Woodland Adventure trail.

“Wow, look how big this is,” said Max. “I know it’s not real, but I’m still going to pet it. This is cool, it kind of looks like a dinosaur, but it’s not.”

Max and his family spent part of last year’s National Get Outdoors Day hiking the trail and interacting with its 12 stations that makes children think about the flora and fauna that surround them.

“Look up there,” said Molly, Max’s sister. “It’s a giant spider and web! We learned about spiders at the library earlier this summer. They’re cool.”

Near the end of the trail, Max and Molly took the time to build their own primitive structure using sticks at one of the trail’s stations. It was during their building activities that the whole family was excited to see a rafter of wild turkeys slowly making their way through the forest.

“Guys, look over there and be very quiet,” said the kid’s father John Price. “See that family of turkeys? Look how there are big ones and little ones. The big ones are probably the adult turkeys and the little ones are probably their kids.”

By the end of the family’s journey, both the kids and their parents had learned a lot about the local flora and fauna that make Chimney Rock so unique.

Young Max had even come up with a joke after reading about the reasons that the buffalos became extinct.

“Why did all the buffalo become extinct?” Max asked his family.

“I don’t know. Tell me Max,” said John.

“Because of Buffalo Wild Wings,” said Max.

To learn more about the Park’s Great Woodland Adventure trail and National Get Outdoors Day activities, visit chimneyrockpark.com or facebook.com/chimneyrockparknc.

Landdis Hollifiled is Public Relations and Promotion Manager, Chimney Rock State Park. Photos courtesy of Chimney Rock State Park.