Chimney Rock Park, North Carolina

For another educational ride in the state of North Carolina, visit any of nature centers that aim to spread environmental education. Some of these nature centers admit guests for free although they also ask for voluntary donations that would help in other expenses. Programs in these nature centers are mostly available by appointment although everyone can actually walk on their grounds.¬†Experience the rugged beauty of the Chimney Rock Park located 25 miles southeast of Asheville. The Chimney Rock Park welcomes its visitors with the most refreshing views of the mountain area tied up with the best hiking trails that attract men and women of any age group. Some of the park’s most sought attractions are The Chimney and the Opera Box. The Chimney, a 515-foot monolith on the very edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the focal point of the State Park, sending climbers a breathtaking view of the surrounding area atop a 2,280 feet elevation. The Opera Box, on the other hand, provides its visitors with the soundtrack of nature while they savor the panoramic views of the Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge. The Exclamation Point is the highest of the Chimney Rock at 2,480 feet. True to its name, climbers will easily burst into the enjoyment when they reach this point. Other attractions are the Devil’s Head, a rock formation that resembles the head of the evil, the Hickory Nut Falls, one of the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River, and the Outcroppings, a group of jumbled giant rocks below the Chimney.

Chimney Rock Park is definitely a heaven’s gate for hikers with its exemplary trails that are definitely some of the best in North Carolina: Skyline-Cliff Trail, Hickory Nut Falls Trail, Four Seasons Trail, and the Outcroppings Trail. In addition, Chimney Rock Park is also a favorite shooting location for films. The last scene in The Last of the Mohicans (1992) starring Daniel Day-Lewis was filmed in Skyline-Cliff Trail, Firestarter (1984) starring Drew Barrymore, who has featured the park’s entrance gate and bridge and A Breed Apart (1984) featured the wooded areas and the Exclamation Point. An organization focused on education and preservation in equestrian activities and nature studies is the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) located at Hunting Country Road, Tryon, North Carolina. It was formed in 1985 in a 112-acre of land where hiking and riding trails, nature pond, Equestrian Center, classrooms and meeting rooms are located.

It’s Equestrian Center acts as permanent stabling for over 300 horses and acts as host a number of equestrian events. Horse shows include dressage, stadium jumping, carriage driving, hunter pace, and combined training. The grounds at FENCE are free of charge and are open seven days a week from dawn to dusk. Other popular nature centers in North Carolina are Charlotte Nature Museum which features plants and animals of the Charlotte Area, Grandfather Mountain in Linville which includes a nature museum, exhibits and trails, Crowder Park in Apex, Roanoke/Cashie River Center in Windsor and a lot more.