Situated high above Hollidaysburg, the seat of Blair County, PA, is Chimney Rocks. While this area has been a popular spot for decades, it’s only since 1994 that the area has been officially open to the public as Chimney Rocks Park.
Today, visitors can visit this great area and explore the beautiful overlooks that offer incredible views of Hollidaysburg.
Chimney Rocks Park is located on a bluff overlooking downtown Hollidaysburg and the surrounding countryside. This park is great because there is easy access for anyone to see the view, but there are also more challenging vistas that you can reach for even better views.
Where to Park for Chimney Rocks
Chimney Rocks Park is located just south of Hollidaysburg on the opposite side of the railroad tracks from most of the town.
The main parking area for the Chimney Rocks can be found at the following coordinates: 40.418589, -78.387364. This lot isn’t overly large, and if it’s full, there is a second area just downhill from the main parking lot.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]
How to Get to the Overlooks at Chimney Rocks Park
There are several overlooks within Chimney Rocks Park.
The lowest and easiest to reach is located about 500 feet from the parking area. A flat crushed gravel path extends from the parking area to this overlook. Along the way, you’ll pass through a nice field at the base of a rocky cliff.
While this overlook isn’t as good as the upper ones, it offers a fantastic view of Hollidaysburg and the chance to walk along the base of the cliffs makes this a great spot to check out while in the park even if you intend to go to the upper areas. Take a moment to sit down and enjoy this beautiful view.
This lower overlook can be found at the following coordinates: 40.419398, -78.388288.
To get to the upper overlooks and a nice view of the famous chimney rock, you have two options: one that is steep but safe and one that’s very sketchy.
If you look next to the lower overlook, you’ll see a trail and a sign indicating that this is an unimproved trail.
To be perfectly frank, I’m shocked that hiking on this trail is allowed, and to say that it’s sketchy is a bit of an understatement. This trail is very steep, and I had to grab onto trees and rocks several times on my way up the hill.
In places, there was a steep drop off directly adjacent to the trail as this path wound its way very near to the top of the rock face that you walked under going to the lower viewing area. While the views from up here are great, make sure to stay back from the crumbling edge.
Eventually, following the crisscrossing trails here will lead you to the main trail to the upper overlooks.
If you opt to try this unofficial trail, I recommend only doing so with extreme caution and only while heading uphill. I also wouldn’t recommend this trail for anyone with children or with physical limitations.
The better and easier way to reach the upper overlook and Chimney Rock is to return to the parking area and head downhill along the road. Before you reach the second parking area, you’ll see a gate with a wide dirt trail beyond it.
This is the official trail to the upper overlook.
This trail is quite steep in spots and fairly rocky, so it’s not an easy trail, but it’s also fairly short at only a quarter-mile in length, so most people should be able to tackle it. It’s also worth noting that while it’s totally unmarked, it’s simple to follow this trail as it winds its way to the upper overlook.
Along the way to the upper overlook, there are two spots to keep your eyes out for.
The first is located right at the top of the cliff and features a nice bench for enjoying the views overlooking the park. There is a fence here to keep you from getting too close to the edge.
The second area is a bit tougher to spot but is the location of the famed Chimney Rock.
To find it, keep an eye out on your left (when heading to the upper overlook) and look for a small clearing just off the trail with picnic tables. Just beyond this area, you’ll see Chimney Rock.
Chimney Rock is a large spire about 20 feet in height. While old photos show it being more prominent in the past, trees have grown up around it making it stand out less when looking at the hillside from town.
It is said that local Native American chiefs would sit atop this rock and survey their land. While this is likely a myth, the views from the overlooks here do offer commanding views of the area, so I’m sure they were used by Native Americans in past centuries.
After you’ve enjoyed Chimney Rock, return to the main trail and walk the short distance to the upper viewing area.
Here, there is a small fenced-in area with a bench that serves as the overlook. It is situated just beyond the actual outcropping at the end of the cliff. For those that hike with a GPS, this spot can be found at the following coordinates: 40.420687, -78.386009.
While it’s possible to go beyond the fence, it’s not something I recommend doing without extreme caution as a fall here could be deadly.
The views from the upper viewing area at Chimney Rocks are the best in the park. From here, you can see all of Hollidaysburg and a good among of the surrounding countryside in a 180-degree view.
This is truly among the best scenic overlooks in Pennsylvania.
Once you’ve had your fill of the view, simply follow the same trail back to the parking area.
Overall, Chimney Rocks is an incredible spot and one of the must-visit attractions in Blair County. If you find yourself visiting Hollidaysburg, nearby Altoona, or driving I-99 through the Alleghenies, I highly recommend making a stop at this beautiful park.
I guarantee that you won’t regret it!
For even more information, visit the park’s website.