Located along Indian Creek and the Dan River, Hanging Rock State Park was created in the 1930s as a Civilian Conservation Corps project. This vast park features camping, swimming, miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, and complimentary interpretive programs that serve as an educational resource for visitors. The park is also well-known for its colorful fall foliage, but this park is perfect to visit any time of year.
Nestled in the northern part of the state near the Virginia border, Hanging Rock is only five minutes from Danbury, one hour from Greensboro, and just over two hours from Raleigh. If you find yourself in the area, definitely make a visit to this magnificent North Carolina State Park.
History of Hanging Rock State Park
Nestled among one of the most easterly mountain ranges in North Carolina, the Sauratown Mountains range from 1,700 to 2,500 feet in elevation. Not connected to the Blue Ridge Mountains, this range was named in honor of the Saura Indians who are Indigenous to this historic land. Over millions of years, mother nature withered the once-lofty peaks to what the scenic ridges and knobs they are today. The main mountain features include Moore’s Knob, Moore’s Wall, Cook’s Wall, Devil’s Chimney, Wolf Rock, and Hanging Rock.
In the 1930s, a local committee along with the Winston-Salem Foundation donated almost 3,100 acres of the region to North Carolina for the sole purpose of creating what we know today as Hanging Rock State Park. Today the park in Stokes County 7,000 acres and boasts
Things To Do
Hanging Rock State Park is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Frequented activities include swimming, boating, mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing. Additional perks of visiting Hanging Rock include ample picnic areas with plenty of picnic tables, restrooms, junior ranger programs, free interpretive programs, and volunteer opportunities.
Hiking at Hanging Rock State Park
There are over 20 miles of trails and some favorites include the Hanging Rock Trail, the Indian Creek Trail (to Hidden Falls), the Rock Garden Trail, the Riverbluffs Trail, and the Tory’s Den Cave and Waterfall Trail. These trails each offer unique scenery, terrain, and difficulty levels.
The most popular among hikers is the Hanging Rock Trail, which is a 2.6-mile out and back trail that begins at the visitor center parking lot and leads hikers up to eventual spectacular views of the region, including views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the north.
For a moderate hike, take the Cook’s Wall Trail that starts behind the bathhouse off of Hanging Rock Park Road and offers amazing views of Sauratown and Pilot Mountain. The Lower Cascades trailhead takes you to the base of a 35-foot waterfall, while the Upper Cascades trailhead brings you to an observation deck for a different view of the cascading falls.
This area is also favorable for rock climbing. Climbers will appreciate the bouldering, climbing, and rappelling that is allowed here. Please note that climbing is only accessible in certain months and a permit must be purchased if you plan to climb.
Mountain Biking is another popular sport at Hanging Rock. Bikers can enjoy a wide variety of trail types ranging in length and difficulty for visitors to explore.
Water enthusiasts will appreciate the array of options when it comes to getting wet! The park presents an oasis for swimming, boating, paddling, and fishing. Swimmers can cool off in the Dan River or in the 12-acre forested lake created by the damming of Cascade Creek. A bathhouse provides restrooms, changing rooms, a snack bar, and a lounge with views of both Moore’s Knob and the lake. You can even rent rowboats and canoes – private boats are not allowed.
For overnight guests, Hanging Rock has vacation cabins for rent, tent and trailer camping, and group camps. Each campsite has a picnic table, a grill, and a tent pad. Some campsites are RV-accessible but please note there are no hookups or dump stations. Make online reservations to ensure you have a campsite for your trip.
Important Information about Hanging Rock State Park
The official park entrance is located off of Hanging Rock Park Road, while the visitor center is located in Westfield, North Carolina. Be sure to note the different entrances for climbing, biking, and other frequented areas of the park.
The visitor center is opened every day from 9 AM to 4:45 PM, except for Christmas. Be sure to check the website and make reservations when necessary before visiting the park.
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