Hanging Rock State Park

1790 Hanging Rock Park Road, Danbury, NC, USA

happyly approved

Hiking, camping, swimming, a museum, and more at this state park.

Beautiful views with many outdoor activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. 

Located just north of Winston-Salem and only 2 hours away from Charlotte or Raleigh, Hanging Rock State Park is a favorite amongst locals for hiking, camping, and swimming. This area offers the best in traditional outdoor experiences with a 73-site campground, picnic grounds, stocked lake for swimming and canoeing, and over 20 miles of hiking trails, including the favorite trail up to Hanging Rock. These trails are popular for their spectacular views and how they weave alongside streams and waterfalls. You can even access Dan River for paddling, 8.4 miles of biking trails, and rock climbing (permit only). The trails in Hanging Rock State Park are all well-maintained and marked. Each trail has its own blaze, so it’s easy to make sure you are on the right path. These blazes have small numbers on them, so in the case of an emergency, you can tell someone what color trail and what number you are at to help emergency services locate you.

The popular trail to Hanging Rock begins at the edge of the visitor center. This trail starts out paved but quickly moves into dirt, rocks, and gravel. With a gradual elevation, the 1.30-mile one-way Hanging Rock Trail generally takes guests around an hour to reach the top. This trail would definitely need the carrier for the youngest children but is doable for preschool age and up with some encouragement. At the top, you can enjoy views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the North and spots to rest along the quartzite rocks. Do note that the edge just drops off at locations, so keep an eye on younger kids. There have been known deaths here from falling off the rock. There are shorter and longer trails for different family needs and activities. 

At Hanging Rock State Park there is a 12-acre lake for swimming and canoeing. A hardwood forest surrounds the shoreline of the lake and the dam. A stone and timber bathhouse includes a restroom, dressing rooms, snack bar, and lounge area of the lake and Moore’s Knob. Fees for swimming are $6/day for adults 13 and over, and $4/day for children ages 3 - 12. Swimming is only available during the summer months and is open Monday 11 am - 5:45 pm and Tuesday - Sunday 10 am - 5:45 pm. 

Into climbing? Rock climbing is available in the park by permit only. Cook’s Wall and Moore’s Wall are a series of cliffs up to 400 feet high and extend almost two miles. These walls provide opportunities for seasoned climbers and novice alike. 

Camping at Hanging Rock State Park is a great way to spend several days exploring. With 73 different tent and trailer sites, there is something for everyone. Each site has a picnic table, grill, and tent pad. There is a bathhouse available with utility sinks and hot showers. Along with camping, there are vacation cabins. Each cabin has a bathroom, living room, kitchen with dining space, and two bedrooms and can accommodate up to 6 people. 

Hanging Rock State Park offers free educational programs in the museum that explores the natural and cultural history of the Sauratown Mountains. Rangers regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs and can arrange for special exploration with a group. There are also educational materials about Hanging Rock State Park, which are aimed at grades 5 to 8. To accompany this, there is a free teacher’s guide and workshop. While most of these programs are free, some require pre-registration. You can visit the website or call the parks office for more information. The Exhibit Hall has hands-on displays of native plants and animals as well as a video about the Civilian Conservation Corps. The hall also features seasonal art displays. The Exhibit Hall is open daily from 9 am to 4:45 pm. 

North Carolina has some amazing state parks, and this is definitely one you will want to check out. 


Allison Towner
Charlotte, NC
A Charlotte, NC transplant, Allison was born and raised in Texas. She has a degree in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University. Allison loves to scuba dive, travel, garden, and be active. She has a lovely husband and two smart, playful kids, a girl and boy. A love for nature and the outdoors has always been a passion of hers and now she gets to continue that with her family. They love to explore new places and go on family camping and hiking trips. Allison and her family live on a 12-acre homestead with ducks, chickens, and a garden. Outside life is important to their family and wants to share that passion with others.
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