NC - Danbury (NC-8) - Hanging Rock State Park

Written by Lee Wonnacott.

WEBSITE Probably one of the best state parks in NC for startling mountain views and craggy rocks. Many miles of hiking trails, two picnic areas, RV and tent sites with showers, and ten rental cabins. Cabins are beautiful and just $80 nightly. Small lake for swimming and fishing - available summer weeks only. For riders that like to walk or hike this is an excellent day trip destination. Many fun roads in the area. Tent space from $20 nightly. GPS coordinates: 36.411906, -80.254122
View from Visitor Center

Bikers enjoy Hanging Rock

A Shutterbug's Delight

Hanging Rock State Park has a long history dating back to the 1930's. It started as a Civilian Conservation Corp camp and park project, employing hundreds of young men from the Appalachian Mountains at a time when jobs just didn't exist outside of government projects. Improvement continue today, as evidenced by the visitor center and museum completed in 1993.

The visitor center museum shares the history of the CCC and gives a good idea of the parks geology and a glimpse of what critters you may encounter. One exhibit in particular asks that you count all of the animals you can see - and most visitors miss at least one or two, especially the snakes.

During the peak seasons there are regular Ranger presentations in the small auditorium that are very helpful. You'll learn how to spot some of the rare species of animals found here and, more importantly, how to ensure that neither you nor the animal are disturbed by the visit.

Day visitors should allow at least three hours to fully explore the areas around the visitor center. Trails go out from all directions at each has somewhat of a different nature; some lead to low point with ponds and puddles while others bring you to the edges of precipices. All of the paths are in excellent condition and very well marked. There are several spots to stop and picnic and at least one large area where groups can gather and use grills.

Bikers seem to love this park. The parking area is very large, paved, and easy to find flat spots that don't require you to horse a 700 pound motorcycle around on a hot day. The roads in the park, and those outside of the park boundaries, are in good shape. You might find a couple of the minor roads have some potholes, or even gravel, but generally all of the routes into and away from the area are the type that put a grin on your face.

The park highlights the Sauratown Mountains, which has peaks up to 2,500 feet - about 1,700 above the prevailing elevation. It's not hard to find a nice place to sit in the sun and ponder a distant high horizon, or relax in a shady spot as the gentle beat of a small waterfall takes you off to that place your mind has reserved for really special days.

Enjoy your visit. Bring your camera and take your time to explore this fun location.

-LW