Rumbling Bald Access Upgrades and Potential Parking Expansion

Thirty volunteers descended on the Rumbling Bald loop trail like a swarm of ants, ready to work.  The roughly graded, brand new route to the West Side was raked, scraped, and groomed into walkable shape.  Unfortunately, not all those who wanted to help could; Many volunteers, some who had driven close to an hour, were turned away because the undersized Rumbling Bald parking lot was full. There is something you can do to help our volunteers get to work.

Read on!

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West-Side Re-Route

Rumbling Bald is one of the gems of Chimney Rock State Park.  If you haven’t been in the last few months, there have been some exciting improvements lately.  During November of last year, a contractor hired by the State Park re‑routed the West Side of the Rumbling Bald Loop Trail and abandoned the heavily eroded old logging road that once cut up the mountain like a scar.

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Trail Day and Climbing at the Bald

The Trail Day was hosted by the Friends of Chimney Rock on December 13, 2015, the day after the Rumble Bouldering competition (held by the Carolina Climbers Coalition).  Climbers from all over the southeast flocked to the Bald to climb the fabulous boulders found below the cliff line.  The next day, many of these climbers and other user groups spent their Sunday polishing up the new trails and making some repairs and improvements to the East Side of the Loop Trail, another rehabilitated old logging road.  Despite having volunteers turned away due to lack of parking, the Trail Day was a success.

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But, There Is Still More Work to Do

The Rumbling Bald access area at Chimney Rock State Park desperately needs a new parking lot.  The popularity of this area has grown as the trails have been steadily improved by volunteers and climbers are learning more about the vast quantity of climbable gneiss.  The current parking lot allows for approximately 35 parking spaces.  On a weekend day, the parking lot often fills up by 930 or 10 AM.  Many people drive an hour or more to come to the Bald.  So, the lack of parking often results in cars parked in unsafe locations along Boys Camp Road, on private property, or occasionally in the ditch!

Parking is not permitted along Boys Camp Road or on private property. The closest available overflow parking lot is 1.5 miles away at the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge.

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Lucky for us, the State Park has a plan for a new parking lot!

Drum roll please………The Proposed Rumbling Bald Parking Lot

The proposed parking lot design (which is subject to change) would expand the existing lot from approximately 36 to 90 spaces!  

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Unfortunately for us, there isn’t funding to pay for the new parking lot……yet.  Here is what you can do…….

Vote for the Connect NC Bond Proposal on March 15th!

The Connect NC Bond package includes more than 1 million dollars for Chimney Rock State Park.  This could be one of the best things to happen to the Park.  Not only will the bond package fund construction of the new parking lot, but it will include additional funding for park infrastructure, including potential access areas for World’s Edge.  Read more about the Bond package here:

So, when it comes time to vote on March 15th, help our volunteers get to work:

Vote to Connect NC!

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