Sometimes, no matter how much you love your job or your home or your family, you just need to get away. Which is why glorious places like Hanging Rock State Park exist*.
*Okay; the reason Hanging Rock State Park actually exists is because of nature creating mountains and the Stokes County Committee for Hanging Rock and the Winston-Salem Foundation donating 3,096 acres of land to North Carolina for the purpose of establishing a state park and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) building a dam and hiking trails and a park road and sandy beach, but you know what we mean.
And just between you and us (and the whole internet, now, we guess), we really need a vacation. So, we’re lucky that we have the state parks to disappear to. If you’re feeling the same way, come one, come all to our virtual tour bus (it leaves via your computer screen, very high-tech.) We’re heading to Danbury, North Carolina, and our first and only stop is Hanging Rock State Park.
Before we leave, make sure you’ve downloaded the Official Guide for North Carolina State Parks (the North Carolina Pocket Ranger® app, duh) and signed up for the North Carolina State Parks Passport Challenge. It’s a game (GeoChallenge!) where you visit every North Carolina state park, and you get 15 points for visiting Hanging Rock!
While you’re touring and playing, you’ll probably end up doing some of the following.
Safety comes first when rock climbing (hanging on some rocks, you know?) at Hanging Rock State Park. All climbers have to register with the park, and you do this by completing a climbing and rappelling registration and activity permit, which can be done at the park office. There’s no charge for the permit, so that’s a relief. So, all you do then is make sure a copy of the permit is either with a park ranger or in a registration box, and hold on to another copy, so you can have it with you while climbing or rappelling.
Now that we’re down with safety, it’s time to get down to the fun! Cook’s Wall and Moore’s Wall are a series of cliffs up to 400 feet high and almost two miles long. You’ll find that they provide climbs for both beginners and more experienced folks.
Who wouldn’t want to hike here? According to the website, Hanging Rock State Park boasts “picturesque cascades and waterfalls, high rock cliffs, spectacular views of the rolling Piedmont and Blue Ridge Mountains, and a mountain cave”. You get to see all of these things on over 18 miles of wooded passageways (12 trails.) Plus, people with disabilities can still enjoy this activity: a short wheelchair-accessible trail leads to a rock outcrop, and there’s an accessible deck near the visitor’s center that provides a lovely view of Hanging Rock.
Education and Events
Like any good state park, Hanging Rock offers interesting and regular ranger-led interpretative programs. If you have a large group, you can contact the park office to arrange a special tour experience. Otherwise, you can click here to see what events will be going on during your visit. For instance, since today is October 31st, we’re going to check out an art exhibit in the auditorium of the Visitor Center. Subject of all the pieces? Rock formations, waterfalls, wildlife—all inspired by Hanging Rock State Park.
And for more education and events – there’s the exhibit hall!
But really – it looks cool! The Visitor Center has a bunch of cool exhibits. You can check out open panels of a dead tree, learn more about the Saura Native Americans who inhabited the land the park’s on, gaze at dioramas of the plants and animals that live within the park, bend a rock, and more.
It can happen. And it can happen here.
There are 73 campsites for tents and trailers, and one site is wheelchair accessible. Amenities? Each campsite has a picnic table, grill, and tent pad. Wash houses (with laundry sinks and hot showers) are closed from December 1st to March 15th, but they’re open the other times! Other stuff? Drinking water!
There’s also group camping, with five campsites. Reservations are required, and each site has picnic tables and a fire circle, with pit toilets and water nearby. Best way to experience the wilderness!
If you’re feeling less rustic, you can choose a vacation cabin (or 10.) Each accommodates up to six people, and two are handicapped-accessible. Included in the cabins? Two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. Unfortunately, pets aren’t allowed in the cabins or cabin area at any time.
Fishing, boating, picnicking, swimming. For more details, though, you’ll have to check out Hanging Rock State Park’s website—or just take a real trip there yourself!