I had a chance to visit my brother this past weekend and unexpectedly was able to go hiking with friends Table Rock State Park. The park is just outside of Morganton with easy access to I-40. Table Rock is in the Pisgah National Forest which is a big hiking and recreation area for Western NC.
After making it up the winding 15 mile dirt road that leads to Table Rock, you get to the parking area. On our day, it was full of hikers going up the mountain to the Rock, so we decided to take the Chimney Trail. As you work your way up the mountain away from Table Rock, you see campsites on both sides of the trail. On one side is the vista is a beautiful vista of the mountain range and on the other is part of the Linville Gorge. The trail continues to wind its way up and over a few ridges where the trail becomes rock formations. The rocks are mostly easy to hike on but there are some areas where you have to take care from falling. The trail starts to narrow as it works its way toward another ridge where there is some tricky footing. This trail goes for about 1.5 miles where you take a turn downwards towards the gorge. Another 1/4 mile or so and you are at the Chimney’s, named for the “stack” of rocks that jut out from the mountainside. After another 1/4 mile, you come to the trail head which will take you to the “amphitheater’ overlooking the vista that is the gorge. When you see the stacked rocks, turn right and go about 500 yards through some thick brush. There is a trail, but it is rough at best. Just be aware that the end is worth it. We all made it to the end and had some sandwiches and cold water. It always seems the food is better after a good hike.
Pictures never tell the whole story. They don’t show the effort made to push yourself another step or the joy you feel inside when you reach the top or finish another goal. But they sure do remind you of why we are living. Take the time to hike Table Rock. You will be surprised.
Watch your six,