Written by vampirefan on 29 Oct, 2005
Here are just a few suggestions to make your visit a happy one: 1. Bring a camera (or more), extra film, and batteries. Mother Nature is very cooperative here and enjoys posing for you, so it is hard to take a bad…Read More
Here are just a few suggestions to make your visit a happy one:
1. Bring a camera (or more), extra film, and batteries. Mother Nature is very cooperative here and enjoys posing for you, so it is hard to take a bad picture here.
2. Wear sturdy hiking boots or thick non-slip tread tennis shoes.
3. Bring a cooler and picnic and enjoy the chance to eat in the great outdoors.
4. Bring insect repellent in the spring and summer.
5. Wear a hat in the spring and summer, and check for ticks.
6. If you want to wade in the falls pools, water shoes are suggested.
7. Go to the ranger station and pick up a trail map.
8. Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Please don’t pick the wildflowers, and please take your trash with you. You will see, and it is perfectly OK to take, leaves that are on the ground. Many of us Martha Stewart wannabes use them for fall decorating.
And I will leave you with a few recommendations:
Hanging Rock Outdoor Center 336-593-8283. www.hroconline.com. Located on Moore’s Spring Rd. Offering canoe and kayak trips. Not recommended. Normally I don’t give any kind of recommendation to a place I have not used, but under the circumstances, I wanted to mention it. I had a reservation for all three of us at 2pm. I chose HROC since we could take Jazzy in the canoe. Now I just thought we were renting the canoe and didn’t realize that it was an actual guided trip. No one mentioned that when I called about it, and no one mentioned to make sure we were there early. We were running late and arrived at 2:05. We were informed that the group had left about 10 minutes prior and we were too late! Grr!! The woman at the front desk told us, “Well, I am sorry, but you’re late and 2 o’clock is just pushing it, so our guides leave out right on time or a few minutes before.” Granted, we were late, but if 2 is pushing it, then why have a 2 o’clock trip, and why not let people know to be there no later than 1:45? So for these reasons, I don’t suggest them, and I would suggest going with one of the other outfitters.
About 45 minutes from the park is the town of Lexington. Lexington is heaven for the true BBQ connoisseur. The BBQ here is Eastern-style or Lexington-style BBQ. This is a pit cook meat, and the sauce has a vinegar base to it instead of the sweet molasses base in Western-style NC BBQ. If you can, stop in at one of their many excellent restaurants here. For more information, go to www.lexingtonnc.net.
It was Lexington BBQ day, so it was crowded, and we waited until we got to Wink’s BBQ and Seafood, located off of Highway 85 and 52 N. in Statesville. John just went in and got our plates to go, or else I would have an entry just for them. But I HIGHLY recommend them if you are in the neighborhood. We both had the pulled pork plate, with came with hush puppies, a generous portion of steak fries, and BBQ slaw. BBQ slaw is cabbage and peppers with sugar and BBQ sauce, and it goood food. This is pit cooked BBQ. You can smell the Q a-cookin’ when you pull up. This meal made this Q fan’s tummy very happy.
I would encourage you to visit my lovely home state of NC, since we have plenty to offer, from the wonderful and breathtaking mountains to the beautiful coast. You can go to www.visitnc.org for more information about my beautiful state. I also encourage each of you to request a visitor’s package from your own state and become a visitor in your state!
Several years ago, the NC Department of Tourism changed their slogan from "I Like Calling NC Home" to "Be A Visitor in Your Own State." So for about the past 2 years, I have been trying to live that motto as much as…Read More
Several years ago, the NC Department of Tourism changed their slogan from "I Like Calling NC Home" to "Be A Visitor in Your Own State." So for about the past 2 years, I have been trying to live that motto as much as possible. Granted, we all like a vacation that takes us a million miles from home. Too often, though, we forget all the amazing and beautiful things that are located within our own state. I do happen to like calling NC my home, and I have been visiting as often as possible.
A few weeks ago, John had a weekend off from playing. I had wanted to go to the state park for a while, but decided to wait until the fall, when the weather plays nicer and the leaf peeking is at its best. If you have never been to our mountains in the fall to gaze at the beauty when the trees are decked out in the fall finery, then you are truly missing something amazing. Sadly, this year's leaf peeking hasn’t been as spectacular, since we went through a drought in the summer. Nonetheless, the mountains still presented a spectacular show for all those who came that day.
The weather was comfortable, so John and I loaded up the cooler, grabbed Jasmine, and off we went in search of beautiful mountains and waterfalls. When we arrived, we first stopped at the ranger station to grab a trail map and to make a pit stop at the restrooms before heading out on our hike. All of the trails to the falls are fairly simple hikes. The weather was cooperative, and the hikes to each of the falls were pleasant. I got winded, though, and had to stop several times and catch my breath. I love nature and being outdoors, but Mother Nature doesn’t return that warm, fuzzy feeling to me. I am highly allergic to trees and flowers, dirt, dust, and just about anything else found in nature. So if you are like me and also still determined to laugh in the face of Mother Nature and hike on, then bring Kleenex and take allergy pills before you arrive.
Hiking and leaf peeking is a family affair here. We passed many families and groups of kids who were enjoying the day in the great outdoors instead of being planted in front of the TV not using their minds. Make sure to bring your cameras to capture the wonders that unfold before you - though I don’t really know if the camera can completely capture the beauty that God created here.
There are a number of trails here in addition to the trails that take you to the falls. They run from easy and short to the more strenuous Moore’s Wall Loop Trail, which is a 4.2-mile hike. There is also a beautiful lake located within the park. Be sure to bring your cooler and picnic basket, as there are a number of shelters located near several of the parking lots. Some of the shelters and benches do have grills in case you would rather cook out. In addition to hiking trails, you can find a number of bridal trails. This is also a great drive to enjoy from a motorcycle. We saw quite a few bike clubs in the parking lots. In case you still have the antiquated idea of anyone in leather on a bike as “bikers," typically meaning the Hell’s Angels kind, the “bikers” here are typically doctors, lawyers, CPAs, and CEOs, since they are the only people who can afford to be a modern-day “biker.”
There is also another waterfall located near Lower Cascade Falls that we didn’t make it to. I was just so congested and tired, and Jaz (who was nursing a injured foot) was just as pooped, so we just pulled ourselves back in the van and headed for home. But if you have the time, check out Tory’s Fall. You can take the hiking trail and it is a moderate 4.2-mile trail from the parking lot area on above the lake parking lot. Or drive to Moore’s Spring Rd. and take a left on Charlie Young Rd. and take the trail from the parking lot. From here, it is a half-mile moderate hike. The falls drop 240 feet to a peaceful brook below. Also nearby is Tory’s Den, which is 20 feet deep and was used by the troops for hiding and storage during the Revolutionary War.
Since we have pleasant weather year round here in North Carolina, Hanging Rock Sate Park is great to visit anytime. The fall and the spring are the best times to visit. The spring brings a lush forest of greens, the beautiful dogwood trees, mountain laurel, and rhododendron. The fall offers cooler temperatures, and the leaves turn from lush green to dazzling gold, red, and orange colors. The forest helps keep the temperatures down in the summer. From May to June, the turkey-beard wildflower can be found near the sandy beds at the bed of the waterfalls. The pools at the falls also offer relief from the summer sun. Our winters are mild here, so the cold months bring less crowds and unbelievable beauty, especially after a small dusting of snow. If you are looking for the waterfalls in the winter, I would suggest just viewing them from the platforms.
I would suggest 2 days here if you have the time. You can camp out here, or vacation cabins are available for rent. Accommodations and restaurants can be found in nearby Danbury and Germantown. Winston-Salem and Mt. Airy are only a short drive, making a perfect combination for a vacation.
Since this is the mountain, you can expect there to be wildlife here. Black bears have been spotted, but are rare. If you do spot one, make sure to jump up and down and make lots of noise to scare it off. Deer, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and chipmunks are the most often spotted wildlife. Be on the lookout for snakes from spring until fall. You will also spot plenty of the canine wildlife variety attached to their leash and walking their pet parents. Pets are permitted here, but must be on a leash on the trails. You can unleash them down at the falls; just make sure to keep your eyes on them.
You will find the trails for Window and Hidden Falls from the ranger station. They are located on the right side of the ranger station (if you are facing the station), towards the back. You will see the sign for the trails. Along the…Read More
You will find the trails for Window and Hidden Falls from the ranger station. They are located on the right side of the ranger station (if you are facing the station), towards the back. You will see the sign for the trails. Along the trail, you will find bathrooms and picnic areas. The picnic areas are picturesque and made to resemble old smoke houses.
The falls are about a mile from the parking lot. The hike is moderate. The trails here also are well defined and are very wide. Most of the other trails to the falls are narrow. The hike makes its way through centuries-old forest, making the hike quite beautiful. Make sure to take your time and enjoy the beauty to the falls.
As you near the falls, you will go down a small series of steps, and Window Falls will be on your left and Hidden Falls on your right. There is a huge stone here to take a rest before hiking onto the falls.
Window Falls gets its name from the “window” that has been created naturally in the quartzite bluff that overhangs the Indian Creek. There is a viewing platform here where you can see the window and the creek flowing before it gets to the falls. In the springtime, the area is lovely with the rhododendron that surrounds the area. From the viewing platform, you can make your way behind the 15-foot fall.
To get closer to the fall, go back up the platform and keep going, and once again steep stone steps will take you closer to the falls. Once again, I urge you to be careful climbing around the rocks. There are two ways to get to the falls. John took the shorter way and slid down the big rock that gets you to the falls. I, on the other hand, decided to go down a bit further and traverse the stones that allow you to get close to the falls.
The falls also lead to a small pool and then down more rocks and continues on its way. Nature has been accommodating by allowing the rocks to form a natural path from one side to the other. You can gain different views of the falls and photograph the smaller falls. There is a small path to the left that wall allow you to follow the water trail on down a bit.
After climbing back up to the platform and climbing back up the steps, you can get to Hidden Falls. Now Kevin Adam’s book suggests that you save your film at this falls. This IGOUGO falls-hiking friend says bring your film. Granted, Hidden Falls isn’t as beautiful as the Upper and Lower Cascades, but it is certainly worth seeking out. It is easily as impressive as Window Falls.
Like all others, there is a viewing platform here, and then you can hike on down to the falls for a better view. Again, and I hate to sound redundant, but BE CAREFUL. The water cascades down a winding series of stone slabs that in some way remind me of the base of Frank Lloyd Wright’s house, Falling Waters. The falling waters here tumble into a series of rocks, and like the other falls, continue on their way as the water has here for centuries.
The lower cascade trails will lead you to the prettiest of the falls we visited while in the park. Lower Cascade Falls is the prettiest and the easiest to get to of all the falls. To get here, you need to go back out…Read More
The lower cascade trails will lead you to the prettiest of the falls we visited while in the park. Lower Cascade Falls is the prettiest and the easiest to get to of all the falls. To get here, you need to go back out towards the entrance of the park and turn onto Moore’s Spring Rd. This is the same road the Hanging Rock Outdoor Center is located on. You take a left onto Hall Rd. and look for the parking lot on your left. You will see the sign for the trail. Make sure before hitting this trail that you take advantage of the bathrooms and picnic area at the ranger station. This parking lot does not have facilities and does not offer a picnic area.
The trail here is well marked and relatively flat, making this also an easy hike. The falls are located only .03 miles from the lot. Several times along the trail, just as you get close to the falls, you are offered some magnificent views of the Sauratown Mountains and the valleys below. On into the trail, there are some pretty wooden fences that you pass. While these appear to be very new, they are made to look like the cross-tie fences often seen at Civil War–era homes and grounds. While the trail here is relatively flat and would be accessible for wheelchairs, the viewing platforms are not. Prior to getting to the platforms, you will start descending down a flight of stairs that are not handicapped accessible.
As with the other falls, there is a viewing platform, which allows you views of the falls if you don’t wish to be adventuresome and get closer to the falls. You can get some nice shots of the falls here that will include the trees surrounding the falls. There is also a set of stone steps that will lead you down to the falls. It is very steep and slippery, and you should use caution when climbing down, especially when the rocks are wet. This is probably a hike that should not be attempted in the winter.
You can see the water cascading down the 25-foot drop into a small pool. The falls are actually a series of falls that extend 120 feet, and the water eventually meanders downstream to join the Dan River, located nearby. Here you will be in awe of the incredible gorge, which wraps around the falls. The walls of the gorge date back thousands upon thousands of years. From the pool, the water continues on its journey to form a number of smaller falls and cascades. There are probably more photo opportunities here than any of the other falls as well.
There are a number of rocks to climb over, and a series of them will lead you to the other side of the gorge, closer to the falls. Again, use common sense and caution. The other rocks offer you a great opportunity of photographing the water as it goes on its way toward the river and give you a number of angles to photograph the falls. The pool here is only a few inches deep, so you can walk in to get an up-close view of the falls. Water shoes would be helpful, as would a towel. I wanted to go into the water, but didn’t feel like putting my wet feet back into my hiking boots.
There are also plenty of rocks around the gorge to just sit and rest. This place is so beautiful and awe-inspiring that it makes the perfect place to sit a few minutes and reflect, commune with nature, talk with God, meditate, or just allow your thoughts to be silent for a few minutes as you take in God’s handiwork and marvel at the nature around you.