Hanging Rock State Park is where I did my first mountain hike! I wont lie, it was challenging for me, but very rewarding. And the adrenaline rush you feel at the top is amazing!
I have been doing a lot of reading and research about hiking; however, I don’t think you are ever fully prepared for your first hike until you just do it!
About Hanging Rock
Hanging Rock State Park is home to one of the easterly mountain ranges in the state of North Carolina, called the Sauratown Mountains. Prominent peaks are 1,700 feet to more than 2,500 feet in elevation!
Named after the Saura Indians, this mountain is often called “the mountains away from the mountains” because it is separate from the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Located at 1790 Hanging Rock State Park Road, Danbury NC, this park has plenty of parking, a visitor center, and restrooms.
As we usually do, we rode the motorcycle to the park and enjoyed a beautiful, backroad ride!
The main gate at Hanging Rock Park Road has the following hours:
The Visitor Center is open daily 9am-4:45pm. Both are closed on Christmas day.
This park is big and there is plenty to do! Hiking, boating, swimming, waterfalls, rock climbing, camping, fishing, and more!
Although no private boats are allowed, canoes and rowboats may be rented. Canoes can accommodate 2 people, and the rowboats accommodate up to 3 people. The rental fee is $7 per hour.
You must have a NC fishing license and all rules of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission are enforced in all state parks.
All North Carolina state parks are wildlife preserves; therefore, no hunting or trapping is allowed.
Hanging Rock Park has over 20 miles of hiking trails. All trails are marked with small plastic symbols nailed to trees. Each having its own symbol, unique color, and shape. Trails lead to beautiful scenic mountain views, rock outcrops, waterfalls and a cave.
Most of the trail markers have a small number on them. If you have an emergency, you can call for help and give the color, shape, symbol, and number on the marker. This will help locate you faster!
To see a map of all the trails at Hanging Rock, click here!
We hiked Hanging Rock Trail. This is a 1.3-mile (distance one way) hike that is considered moderate. It takes most people about 1 hour to reach the top. It took us about 45 minutes to reach the top, with many stops along the way for rest! We hung out at the top for about 15 minutes, resting and taking in the views. It took just about an hour for us to get back down.
This trail begins at the visitor center parking lot. This trail starts out paved, then changes to gravel, dirt, rocks, and it gradually gains elevation.
About half-way up the trail you come to wood stairs which eventually turns into a stone and rock path. There are plenty of places to stop and rest, with a few benches to sit on and a few picnic tables. The views are spectacular!
Once you get to the top there are plenty of rock formations to sit on and enjoy the views. Of course, the namesake rock formation, Hanging Rock, is the main attraction. This large rock juts out over the landscape and provides a stunning view.
We met and talked with many interesting people along our hike and we saw three deer playing and running around!
Because we were on the motorcycle and still had a few hours drive home, we did not explore the other trails or waterfalls. That’s OK though, we will be back!
About 10 minutes from the park is Danbury General Store. We stopped here for a bite to eat before heading into the park. This store had a little restaurant/grill and the food was delicious. The staff was so friendly and we enjoyed talking with them.
Trevor and I enjoyed this park, our hike, and all the beautiful scenery. We will be back to see the waterfalls and cave another day!
Have you ever been to this state park? We definitely recommend it! Looking for other state parks in NC, click here!