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view from the top of Hanging Rock State Park

Located in Stokes County just three miles west of Danbury and 30 miles north of Winston-Salem, Hanging Rock State Park sits on 7,900 acres in central North Carolina. Originally established as a Civilian Conservation Corps project in 1936, this North Carolina state park is home to 31 trails leading to rocky outcrops, waterfalls, and lofty overlooks of the rolling plateau of the Piedmont and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Open year-round, Hanging Rock State Park is one of North Carolina’s easternmost mountain ranges offering elevations up to 2,500’. The park also has numerous water features, including both a lake and a river, allowing for a variety of activities for the whole family. Wildlife is plentiful in Hanging Rock State Park; birdwatching is a particularly popular activity here, and 110 species of land and marine mammals can be found in Hanging Rock. There is an auditorium and frequent educational programs in the park, and the visitor’s center offers many exhibits and classroom opportunities for all ages.

Activities

Hanging Rock State Park offers a diverse and expansive list of outdoor activities, including 48 miles of trail hiking, 15 miles of bike trails, 6 miles of horse trails, camping, bird-watching, fishing, swimming, paddling, and rock climbing.

Boating and Swimming at Hanging Rock State Park

Boating on the Dan River and Hanging Rock Lake is limited to the use of kayaks, rowboats, canoes, or other non-motorized boats; rentals are available in the park’s campground, except for during winter months. Swim passes are required.

Horseback Riding at Hanging Rock State Park

There are 6 miles of wide, gravel and dirt horseback riding trails, including the Ruben Mountain Trail and the Tory’s Den Trail. Horses are not permitted in camping, picnic, or swimming areas.

Mountain Biking at Hanging Rock State Park

Mountain biking is permitted on many of the trails within the park, with easy access and parking at 2568 Moore’s Spring Road. The majority of the trails are rated intermediate, and one—the Rattler Trail—is advanced and should be ridden downhill only. Mountain bikers in the park should always yield to hikers and equestrians.

Hidden Falls waterfall at Hanging Rock State Park

Hiking at Hanging Rock State Park

Hanging Rock State Park’s trail network provides options ranging from easy and moderate to strenuous and advanced; a 7.4-mile portion of the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail also runs through Hanging Rock State Park. Be sure to remain on marked trails, as there are many species of rare and delicate plants in the area; hikers should always yield to horses on multi-use trails.

Here are some of the more popular hiking trails at Hanging Rock State Park:

  • Riverbluffs Trail: Easy, 1.3-mile loop trail with a 55’ elevation gain that offers views of the Dan River and the Matrimony Point rock formation.
  • Hanging Rock Trail: Moderate, 2.6-mile out-and-back trail with a 603’ elevation gain up to the park’s namesake quartzite formation as well as expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Indian Creek Trail: Strenuous, 7.2-mile out-and-back trail with a 1,213’ elevation gain; includes several creek crossings (no bridges) that may become impassable after storms and in the spring.

Fishing at Hanging Rock State Park

Fishing of all species is permitted in Hanging Rock State Park’s water features, including Hanging Rock Lake and Dan River. State fishing licenses are required, and all North Carolina regulations and fishing seasons must be followed. Some of the species found in the park include large- and small-mouth bass, several species of chub, dace, and shiner, and many others.

Nature & Wildlife at Hanging Rock State Park

The Hanging Rock State Park is home to a diverse collection of wildlife, including 171 species of birds (including grouse, sandpipers, Cooper’s hawks, and egrets), 110 different mammals (including black bears, otters, opossums, and beaver), 38 fish species (including perch, bass, and dace), and 25 species of reptiles and amphibians (including box turtles, brown snakes, salamanders, and tree frogs).

Rock Climbing at Hanging Rock State Park

One of only five North Carolina state parks that allow this sport, rock climbing is a popular pastime at Hanging Rock. Visitors planning to partake in this activity must register with park officials, carry a climbing or rappelling permit at all times, and only climb in officially designated areas during posted hours of operation. Untethered climbing is strongly discouraged, and designated climbing areas are not officially maintained.

Pets

Dogs are welcome in the state park—as long as they are under control at all times, and leashed to no more than 6’. Pets are not permitted in bathhouses or swimming areas, and visitors with pets on any trails should always yield to other hikers, bikers, or equestrians.

Camping

Hanging Rock State Park offers a year-round, self-check-in campground with 90 sites (no hookups), 9 family cabins, and several large picnic shelters, all of which can be reserved in advance.

Amenities include a bathhouse with hot showers, a seasonal snack bar, an amphitheater, fire pits, nature trails, canoe and kayak rentals, picnic tables, fresh water, a gift shop, and both latrines and flush toilets. There is free WiFi in certain areas of the campground, and an emergency landline is also available. Pets are allowed in the campground, and state park rules for pets apply.

Park Location

Hanging Rock State Park
1790 Hanging Park Road
Danbury, NC 27016
Phone: 336.593.8480

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Hanging Rock State Park: