Hanging Rock is one of the remaining mountains of the Sauratown Range and ancient mountain range that has been worn down by time. The other two notable peaks that remain in this range are Pilot Mountain in Pilot Mountain State Park and Sauratown Mountain, which is on private land. The Sauratown Mountains are sometimes called the "mountains away from the mountains", because they are separated from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. What remains of the Sauratown mountains are the erosion-resistant quartzite that makes up the ridges and knobs, such as Hanging Rock and Moore's Knob. Although the mountains are no longer high in altitude, ranging from 1700 to 2500 feet, they are much higher than the surrounding countryside at around 800 feet, and so provide magnificent views of the surrounding Piedmont and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and north. The park was established in 1936 through donations of land from the Stokes County Committee for Hanging Rock and the Winston-Salem Foundation.
1790 Hanging Rock Park Road
Danbury, NC 27016-7417
Phone: (336) 593-8480
GPS Coordinates: 36.411906, -80.254122
Blaze: White Diamonds
The Cook's Wall Trail runs from the end of the Wolf Rock Trail to Cook's Wall, a rocky outcropping at the southeastern end of the park. The trail is marked with white diamond blazes and is about a mile and a half in length. Magnolia Springs Trial intersects with the trail and provides a path to Moore's Wall Loop Trail. House Rock and Cook's Wall are two points of interest along this trail. House Rock is just past the intersection with Magnolia Springs Trail and Cook's Wall is at the far end of the trail.
Blaze: Orange Circles
The Hanging Rock Trail runs from the visitor center parking lot up to Hanging Rock Mountain. The trail is just over a mile, but has consistent elevation gain giving it moderate difficulty. Also, it is not a loop so hiking to Hanging Rock and back is about 2.5 miles in length. However, reaching the end is worth the challenge. At the summit is a beautiful rock formation that "hangs" over lower points along the trail. The 360° views from the summit are great and on a clear day, one can see north into Virginia and south to Winston-Salem. This is the most popular trail in the park and thus the most crowded, especially during the fall when color is peaking. Despite the potential crowds, a trip to the park is not complete with hiking this trail.
Blaze: Red Squares
The Indian Creek Trail leads from the north end of the visitor center parking lot down to the Dan River. In the first half-mile or so, it passes two small waterfalls - Hidden Falls and Window Falls. Descriptions of these waterfalls are in the waterfall section below. This first half-mile is also the most popular section of the trail - most people don't continue on. Past the waterfalls, the trail continues following Indian Creek downstream and is narrow and rocky with a couple of stream crossings. After another mile, there is a road crossing across Hanging Rock Park Road and then the trail opens up and levels off a bit. There is an old dilapidated barn right past the road crossing as shown in the picture below. After about another mile and a half, the trail comes out on some bluffs high above the creek and gets narrow, rocky, and steep again. There are about 4 more stream crossings and then it levels off again before reaching the Dan River Access off Flinchum Road. The following video shows some of the highlights going from the Dan River Access up to the Visitor Center.
The Lower Cascades Trail leads to Lower Cascades Falls (see the waterfalls section below). Reaching the trailhead requires leaving the park and making the first left on Moore's Spring Road and then the first left on Hall Road. The parking lot will be on the right. See the map above to navigate to the parking lot. The trail itself is short, less than half a mile and leads to a wooden staircase leading down to the falls basin.
Blaze: Blue Squares
Magnolia Springs is a short trail, less than half a mile, that connects the Moore's Wall Loop Trail and the Cook's Wall Trail. This trail can be used to make longer loop hikes incorporating multiple trails in the park.
Blaze: Red Circles
The Moore's Wall Loop Trail begins at the family campground. In the counter-clockwise direction, after a stream crossing, the trail quickly and steeply heads up to Moore's Knob, which is the highest point in the Sauratown Mountains at 2,579 feet above sea level. There is a lookout tower at the peak allowing visitors to go a little higher and provides spectacular 360° views of the surrounding area. Continuing on, the trail runs along the ridgeline of Moore's Wall before gradually heads back down the mountain. As the trail approaches the base of the mountain, there is a split - right goes along the Tory's Den Trail and left continues on the Moore's Wall Loop Trail. A half-mile or so further and the trail splits again, with right leading to the Magnolia Springs Trail to Cook's Wall Trail, and straight continues back to the campground and lake.
Large Rock near Moore's Wall
The Upper Cascades Trail is a very short trail that leads from the southwest end of the visitor center parking lot to Upper Cascades Falls (see the waterfalls section below for a description of the falls).
Blaze: Blue Triangles
The Wolf Rock Trail runs from a split in the Hanging Rock Trail past Wolf Rock and terminates at the Cook's Wall Trail. The trail has blue triangle blazes and is over a mile in length. Wolf Rock, another rocky outcropping in the park lies close to the end of the trail near the intersection with Cook's Wall Trail.
There are several overlooks and summits among the mountains in the park that provide fantastic views. The three major peaks within the park include Hanging Rock, Moore's Knob, and Cook's Wall. Two smaller peaks with great overlooks along Cook's Wall include House Rock and Wolf Rock.
Moore's Knob is the highest point in the park and in the Sauratown Mountain range at 2,579 feet above sea level. Access to the peak is along the Moore's Wall Loop Trail. The rocky outcrop at the summit provides great views to the north and west, with the other major Sauratown Mountains, Sauratown and Pilot Mountain, easily visible. A lookout tower on top of the summit allows visitors to get even higher and enjoy panoramic views in 360°.
View of Sauratown Mountain (near) and Pilot Mountain (far) from Moore's Knob
Hanging Rock Lake provides opportunities for swimming and boating (seasonal) and fishing (year-round). The lake was constructed by the CCC in 1938 as well as the stone bathhouse and beach on the lake.
Hanging Rock Lake
05Oct2013: Early Fall Color at Hanging Rock