On Location At Chimney Rock Park
... Following the Cliff Trail
Many of these photos can be found elsewhere on this Mohican Press Web Site, and come from various sources; others were recently contributed by Chimney Rock Park.
To many fans & viewers of The Last of the Mohicans, the last 20 minutes, or so, of the film - shot mostly at Chimney Rock Park - comprise the centerpiece of the film. As such, our annual Great Mohican Gatherings have usually used this location as their base & centerpiece. The results can be found at left. Nah, just kidding, there really isn't any graffiti up there ... not left by us anyway! But the two - the Gatherings & the Park - are forevermore intertwined. Yet, until now, we never have put up a page devoted solely to that place ... At long last, many of the fragments of Chimney Rock Park scenes, scattered about this Web Site, are brought together in one place, for the first time ... and contain some stunning new additions! Enjoy!
To approach Chimney Rock Park, on the eastern edge of Hickory Nut Gorge in Rutherford County, in your car, is to drive through a village filled with eateries and somewhat tacky, though quaint, souvenir shops strung out along the highway. It's a fairly bustling place; a fairly typical mountain tourist town. From various points along this "sunken" road, at the bottom of the Gorge - and just alongside the Rocky Broad River which carved it out - one can see the rock that gives the Park its name, American Flag proudly waving, and the huge, 404 foot waterfall which garners its name from the Gorge. Looming high above, and stretching between these two landmarks, are the Cliffs ... the Cliffs that are the setting of the climactic finish to The Last of the Mohicans. One would never know, from simply viewing the film, what lays below ... it's another world, hardly discernible in the film, and equally hard to fathom while at the bottom of the Gorge looking up.
Entering the Park's gate from Highway 64/74, you'll drive up the mountain, a mile or so, before reaching the ticket booth. Pay the fee - arguably a bit steep, but well worth it if you plan to spend the day! - and receive your Park handouts - a colorful map & LOTM locations guide. Just past, on your left, is the Meadows Pavilion - a great place for a picnic lunch - rest rooms, a trail head, and a small Nature Center. Continue on and you'll eventually reach the parking lot. Park your vehicle, take your gear, and either hike or ride the elevator up to the top. Most sane individuals take the latter route. You'll walk through a naturally air-conditioned tunnel to the elevator, and then exit from your upward ride into the Sky Lounge, once home to a LOTM props display, and, for a brief period, courtesy of the Great Mohican Gathering, an Eric Schweig carved mask. Both are long gone ... Obtainable here are a plethora of souvenirs, plus eats, and a great view of nearby Lake Lure.
Exit the Sky Lounge and you'll be adjacent to the Chimney. Before heading out on the trails, climb the steps and have yourself a view ...
From the Chimney Top:
Sadly, the Village no longer exists. Still, particularly before the foliage adorns the forest, you can locate the site upon which it once stood.
Following your side trip to the Chimney's top, retrace your steps down to the main path, pull out your map, and follow the Cliff Trail. Ok, ok. The Park recommends making this circuitous route by first following the Skyline Trail, and then returning via the Cliff Trail. Both will do. However, to see the film locations in their approximate chronological order, as seen in the film, it is better to do it our way. It has been our experience, in addition, that it's a tad easier to boot!
Not sure romantic is the correct term, but a moment between the two stars is indeed shared in front of the rock face here, filmed about a year after principal photography in a re-shoot. That would be the brief embrace between the two just after Chingachgook slays Magua. First, though, we see the great panorama of Hickory Nut Gorge, shot from the vicinity.
BELOW: Heading back for more make-up?
Overlapping, somewhat, with the views of Nature's Showerbath, we come to this location. It is not to be confused, as it so often is, with the earlier shots of Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook running, in slow motion, up the incline adjacent to High Falls, to the tune of Clannad's I Will Find You (in the theatrical release, anyway!) ... The shots here can be seen after Hawkeye shoots a burning Duncan in the Huron Village, though the shots were actually fired from this side of the road, up the trail a-ways from here and a bit upstream of the Top of the Falls. Ah, the good work of the editors!
View along the Cliff Trail, from
At this point in the film, we see the Mohicans along the edge of the Slide, where the rock meets the woods ... first, of course, Uncas - grabbing on to that now famous tree on the way up - and then, after the mercy killing of Duncan, his father & half-brother hasten to his rescue.
Hurons on parade, bullets fly and Uncas makes quick work of several Huron warriors, a brutal battle between Uncas & Magua leading to Uncas' death and unceremonious toss from the cliff, Alice is dazed and eventually follows with a leap to her death, bodies fall from above - though the viewer is lead to believe they fall from the Cliff Trail, where all the action is - Chingachgook & Hawkeye, muskets blazing, run through the vicinity, killing Hurons as they go ... this ALL takes place here at Nature's Showerbath - named for the gentle cascade of water that tumbles down, in "season," from the Skyline Trail above. Note what almost appears to be rain gently falling in front of Alice's face the next time you sit down to watch this movie.
Top of the Falls:
From high above that narrow highway far below on the Gorge floor, a tumultuous & violent culmination to a film takes place. After several very gentle cascades, the river finally pours over the edge, over 400 feet, as Magua is pounded to bits nearby. Cool off in the stream, eat a packed in lunch, enjoy the view ... then continue on via the trail above, the Skyline Trail, for more spectacular views as you meander back to the Sky Lounge. There, you can pick up a copy of some film ... we think it may be called, The Last of the Mohicans.
ABOVE: On set - and BELOW: Capture from the film
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Many of these photographic images are
used by the expressed written permission of the Chimney Rock Park staff. We