September 9, 2017
- 2.0 Miles Round Trip from Exclamation Point – Elevation Gain: 472′
After several years of closure, the Skyline Trail was re-opened in September of 2017. Apparently, the original trail was closed after a toddler fell to its death. Since then, the trail has been re-routed and fencing was added at the top of Hickory Nut Falls to keep traffic from wandering too close to the top of the falls.
To get to the trailhead, you need to park in the upper parking lot at Chimney Rock State Park and take the steps up to the Chimney. Continue on from the Chimney up past the Devil’s Head to Exclamation Point. Climbing the steps from the upper parking lot to Exclamation Point is work. I counted the steps a few years back and this is what you will be dealing with just to get to the trailhead.
The trail is a woodland walk that is set back slightly from the steep ridge-side. You aren’t exposed to the escarpment, but if you were to get off the trail, it could be dangerous. You walk .4 of a mile through the woods to a picnic area with 2 tables and a fenced look off area looking across the gorge toward Rumbling Bald and Party Rock.
Continue on the trail through the woods and there are a few creek crossings. Forestry roads crisscross the trail at regular intervals. A significant amount of the trail is graveled. When you get to the end, there is a nice railing approximately 50 feet above the creek that keeps hikers away from the upper cascades and the top of Hickory Nut Falls. It is far enough away to keep hikers safe, but not quite close enough to get a good view of the falls. I was a bit disappointed, but I totally understand why the trail is where it is.
It’s a nice peaceful walk in the woods. Well worth the time it takes.