Hanging Rock is one of the best known monadnocks in North Carolina. The Inner Piedmont of the state has a number of these isolated peaks and ranges. They are not all uniform and there are several origins to these unique summits that sprout surprisingly from the otherwise flat or rolling topography leading down toward the Coastal Plains.
Hanging Rock is—like Crowder Mountain far to the south of the Piedmont, composed of quartzite caprock that has resisted erosion and formed the compact range we know today as the Sauratown Mountains. These peaks are relatively impressive summits, some standing as high as 1700 feet above the surrounding lowlands. Unlike the Crowder Mountain/King’s Pinnacle peaks, the Sauratowns are large enough and extensive enough to have a large and exposed aquifer pumping out clear streams and forming a number of impressive waterfalls and cascades throughout the range.
Being the namesake of Hanging Rock State Park, the mountain is not the highest in the Sauratown Range, but it is yet a unique spot, featuring soaring cliff faces, eroded rock shelters, large isolated boulder fields, and sporting great views of the range and of the Piedmont sloping down toward the Atlantic.
The Sauratowns are a popular rock climbing destination with most of the
routes located on Moore’s Knob, the highest of the Sauratown’s summits. To the south, one can see the most famous of the range’s named peaks—Pilot Mountain, itself the center of a state park named for the summit.
In addition to a wide range of good hiking trails, the peaks hosts a number of impressive waterfalls, most of which are easily accessible. The forests are all second growth, but healthy enough as far as that goes, and the place is packed with local wildlife.
From Walnut Cove, NC take Hwy. 89 west to Danbury. Turn left at Stokes-Reynolds Hospital on Hanging Rock Park Road 1.5 miles to the park.
From Winston-Salem, NC take Hwy 8 north to Danbury. Turn left at Stokes-Reynolds Hospital on Hanging Rock Park Road 1.5 miles to the park.
From King, NC take Hwy 66 north to Moore Springs Rd. Turn right on Moore Springs then right on Hanging Rock Park Road at the park entrance,
From Stuart, VA take Hwy 8 south to Danbury. Turn right at Stokes-Reynolds Hospital on Hanging Rock Park Road 1.5 miles to the park.
No admission fees. Rock climbing is allowed, but permits are required. Check at park office.
Lower Cascade Falls.
Camping is allowed in the designated park campground, but not elsewhere in the park.