Hanging Rock State Park is located in the beautiful and remote Sauratown Mountains. These quartzite mountains are highly resistant to erosion, resulting in unusual shapes like the signature Hanging Rock. Apart from rare geological formations, this region is also home to many unusual plant and animal species. Wildflowers like rhododendrons, Pinxter azaleas, and mountain laurels are just a few of the many plants found in the park that are not commonly found in this region of North America. Likewise, several rare species of salamander, falcon, and wild turkey that are not normally seen living in this region can also be observed in the park.
In the early 1930s, Hanging Rock State Park almost became a high-dollar mountain retreat for the super-rich., but the deal fell through when the company went bankrupt during the Great Depression. So, the land eventually went to the state instead. As they did in so many other state and national parks, Civilian Conservation Corps workers added infrastructure to the park as well as lakes and hiking trails. Today, visitors pay no admission fee to enjoy this 8,600-acre state park. A popular choice for RV campers year-round, Hanging Rock State Park is a must-see when passing through North Carolina.
Hanging Rock State Park is about 30 miles north of Winston-Salem and about two miles from the small town of Danbury. To reach this fairly remote park, travelers can follow most major highways in the area. Local roads lead visitors right to the park's entrance. These roads are paved and have gentle curves that should be no problem for larger rigs. Once inside of the park, visitors will want to make sure that they take it slow as there are several tighter turns that could cause some trouble if taken too fast. Keep a sharp eye on the road and watch out for any hikers or children that might be playing in the area. The roads are all surrounded by forest, so be wary of any low-hanging branches that could clip or scratch the RV or trailer on the way in. Only one main road goes through the park, and it does not go all the way through.
RV parking is a bit limited. There is parking on Mickey Road/Hooker Farm Road near Tory’s Den and also near Lower Cascade Falls, which is not far from the park’s main entrance gate or the central campground.
Hanging Rock State Park has one main campground that offers camping year-round. This very scenic campground is near the bottom of the Upper Cascade Falls and the shore of Hanging Rock Park Lake. The campground consists of two different loops that have a combined total of 73 campsites available. One of the campsites is ADA-accessible. Be aware that there are no RV hookups available. Some of the sites are better at accommodating RVs than others, so be sure to be careful when making reservations. The largest site can accommodate an RV that is 60 feet long.
All of these sites can be reserved ahead of time, and any sites that have not previously been reserved are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each campsite includes a fire ring and a picnic table. Camp amenities include a drinking station where campers can obtain fresh drinking water as well as restrooms with hot showers. The campground is pet-friendly, but pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
Three major interstates meet at Greensboro, North Carolina where there is another option for campers who need a place to park the RV. The Greensboro KOA is pet-friendly with partially or fully-shaded full-hookup sites with up to 50-amp service. These sites are large and can accommodate big rigs up to 70 feet. Stay up-to-date with Wi-Fi, lounge by the pool, or keep warm with propane and firewood on-site. Whether visiting Hanging Rock State Park or sampling the Piedmont region's hundreds of restaurants, Greensboro KOA makes sure that all campers have a pleasant stay.
The Family Campground in Hanging Rock State Park consists of two loops that have a combined total of 73 campsites. Any campsite that has not been previously reserved is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Campers should be aware that not all of the campsites are able to accommodate RVs as easily as others. The largest site can accommodate an RV that is 60 feet in length. Each site includes a fire ring and a picnic table. Campground amenities include a drinking station with fresh water and a bathhouse that includes hot showers.
For campers who are seeking a few of the comforts of home, the park has a total of ten vacation cabins available by reservation only. The cabins are located along a turnoff right before the Family Campground. All of the cabins have a two-bedroom floor plan and include basic furnishings and kitchen appliances. Campers should be aware that no linens are provided so they will need to bring their own with them. The cabins are equipped with heating and air conditioning and can house up to six people. There is no smoking or pets allowed in the cabins or in the surrounding area.
Not far from the park's main gate there is a small loop with five primitive campsites available by reservation only. These sites are designed specifically for group camping and can each accommodate up to 16 people. Each site includes a picnic area and a large fire circle. There is a nearby station where campers can access drinking water as well as vault toilets. Campers should be aware that they are not permitted to use the showers in the main campground.
Guests who want an activity that is a little more thrilling might want to consider rock climbing. There are two places in the park where rock climbing is permitted: Moore's Wall and Cook's Wall. These cliffs extend up to 400 feet high in some places and are spread out over about two miles. Climbers of all levels will be able to find a route that is perfect for them. Be aware that all climbers are required to obtain a permit before climbing in these areas. It is also important to note that the park does not maintain any fixed routes or anchors, so climbers will need to bring all of their own gear and be extremely cautious while climbing.
Hanging Rock Park Lake is a popular fishing destination. Anglers can visit the lake year-round to fish for bass, catfish, sunfish, and many others. Anglers have the option of wading in, fishing from the shore, or taking a boat out on the water. Be aware that no private boats are allowed on the lake. However, the park does offer rowboats and canoes that can be rented during select times of the year. All visitors who are over 16 and intend to fish are required to have a valid fishing license.
The 12-acre Hanging Rock Park Lake was formed many years ago by damming the Cascade Creek. The cold mountain water is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer's day. Visitors can take a dip in the lake at any of the park's designated swimming areas. The park also provides a bathhouse with restrooms and changing areas. Connected to the bathhouse is a snack bar where guests can purchase food as well as a lounge area for those who want to relax and enjoy some great lake views.
Adventurous visitors will not want to miss out on hiking to the quartzite rock formation that gave the park its name. The Hanging Rock Trail is a 1.3-mile hike that starts at the Visitor Center parking lot and leads visitors to the very top of Hanging Rock. Along the way, hikers will have the opportunity to view some of the rare foliage and flowers that grow in the park, and if they keep a keen eye out, they might even spot some native wildlife.
The sandy beach and grassy shores of Hanging Rock Park Lake are a perfect spot to have a picnic. Enjoy the views of the 12-acre lake and its clear mountain water while relaxing in the cool shade of ancient trees. The park provides two large and well-maintained picnic areas where visitors can stop for a lunch break. Each of the picnic areas has 60 tables and 15 grills that visitors are welcome to use. Visitors who want a more secluded picnic can hike up to one of the park's overlooks to have lunch while taking in some of the park's most spectacular views.
Until recently, it was almost impossible to get an up-close view of these falls, but some adjustments to the .03-mile trail have made it much easier to navigate. Today, visitors can get up close and personal with this three-story waterfall. Its distinctive features include a very large overhanging bluff and an unusually deep and wide plunge pool. Be aware that swimming is not permitted in the plunge pools as hidden rocks and logs make swimming very dangerous. Visitors are required to follow all of the park's safety rules regarding activity around the waterfalls.