Just 30 miles north of Winston-Salem, Hanging Rock State Park is located in the Sauratown Mountain Range. Named for the early Saura peoples who once inhabited the area, this range towers over the surrounding country, with peaks reaching nearly 2600 feet in elevation. The park derives its name from the large quartzite escarpment that “hangs” over the valley below. Established in 1936, the park initially encompassed 3100 acres, but has grown to 7900 acres since 2015. With its proximity to the suburban areas of Stokes County, the park serves as a backyard playground for hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, rock climbers, paddlers, anglers and campers.
The 73-site campground in Hanging Rock State Park is an ideal basecamp for enjoying all the outdoor activities the park has to offer. Campsites can accommodate tents, popups and limited RVs; there are no hookups or dump stations at this location. Each site is equipped with picnic tables, grills and tent pads. Drinking water is available at several locations in the campground, and there are two bathhouses with hot showers. There are also five primitive group campsites with picnic tables and fire circles; drinking water and vault toilets are available nearby. If you don’t feel like roughing it, the park also offers 10 vacation cabins. Each of these are equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and sleeping accommodations for up to six.
When you’re ready to play, there are more than 20 miles of multiuse trails in Hanging Rock State Park for hiking, biking and riding. Trails vary in length and difficulty, so drop by the visitor center and pick up a trail map. For the mobility impaired, there is a 0.1-mile path to the Rock Garden. Anglers can enjoy casting for bass, sunfish, and catfish either by boat or wading on the park’s small lake. Canoe and rowboat rentals are available for paddling on the lake, or you can bring your own gear for paddling or fishing on the Dan River. Rock climbing is permitted on the 400-foot-high Cook’s Wall and Moore’s Wall. For just kicking it under the trees, the park has several picnic areas, as well as an exhibit hall and concession stand.
Facilities were clean and decent, although distances to restrooms can be pretty long from some sites.
Be prepared to truly rough it if you camp here. No electrical or sewer hook ups for rvs. Perfect for traveling campers that are packing light and have minimal needs.
Two weeks ago, my Scout troop (Troop 2 out of High Point) used campsite 3 in the group area. It was perfect for us. We've stayed at several others before as well. While a student at Wake, I hiked the trails frequently. So, I know the park pretty well.
The SP is in a great location, especially if you are in Central NC. There is easy access, and good roads for a decent driver. The roads are marked well.
The park is also close to a good canoe/kayak rental outfitter called The Dan River Company. (If you want a craft beer after your trek, they have a small tavern there.)
The campsites in the group areas were good and clean. There were picnic tables and fire rings. Our site actually had 3 fire rings with benches and 4 picnic tables. These are rustic, which is fine for me. If you are looking for showers and gravel tent pads, don't stay there. Frankly, I'd just as soon as camp on concrete as a gravel tent pad. There is also a mowed field next to the group campsites to play in or just chill and watch the stars. Oh, and the ranger basically encouraged us to hike and roam the park at night. I don't think I've ever had a ranger ask if I planned to drive around a park at night.
The trails to the top are made for hikers and people who walk. You will not get up to either summit by driving or riding anything. The trails aren't that tough, but are going to test you if you do not get out much. I prefer the view from Moore's Knob.
There are a lot of reasons to love Hanging Rock State Park. That’s why it is probably my favorite state park in North Carolina. However, I am torn between giving it two stars and giving it five stars. In general, I would give the park five stars, but for the camping facilities, I would rate it two stars. There is so much to do without having to leave the state park. First, let’s look at the park itself, and close to the end I will discuss the campground.
To get to the park, you drive through beautiful rolling hills. The park has a modern visitor center with a nature center and friendly rangers. There are lots of trails to explore, but they are not just trails to nowhere. There are five waterfalls to see, a climbing access area, Cook’s Wall, and much more. Moore’s Wall Loop Trail is a 4.3 mile strenuous hike, and it begins by walking by the lake. There is a platform about halfway through the hike in which you can see the skylines of Greensboro and Winston-Salem. My favorite trail is the Hanging Rock Trail, which is listed as moderate. Parts of it are moderate, very short stretches are easy, and much of it is strenuous. The last part of the Hanging Rock Trail is the most difficult, but the view at the end is worth the hike because it is spectacular. From the hanging rock (I should say rocks since there are more than one), you can see for many miles across several counties. The shortest hike to see a waterfall is relatively easy and is only three-tenths of a mile one way. The lake has a swimming beach with mountains in the background, and there are also rowboats and canoes for rent. According to what I understand from their website, canoe rentals and concession stands at the lake are open weekends only in the spring and fall (10am - 5:30pm). I was hoping to take my kayaks next time, but unfortunately, private boats are not allowed. Two large picnic shelters are also close to the lake.
Here is why I would give it two stars. The camping sites are shaded and spacious with picnic tables, lantern poles, and fire rings, but the bathroom facility is outdated (built in the 1960s). Even though it has hot water, it is NOT handicap accessible, and the shower doors are narrow. If you are not a skinny person, you might have trouble squeezing through the shower doors. There are no electrical, water, or sewer hookups; however, there is access to water by way of frostproof hydrants. The campground hosts were very helpful and answered my questions. You can also purchase bundles of firewood since taking your own firewood into the park is frowned upon. If you are like me, however, and camp to experience the outdoors, you will not want to stay at your campsite very long. There are just too many things to explore at this state park. If you are going and want to truly experience the park, plan to camp at least three nights. One day you can explore Upper Cascades falls and the hanging rock. On another day, you can hike the Moore’s Wall trail and cool off in the lake. On another day, see a couple more waterfalls or hike the Reuben Mountain Trail.
There is also a group camping area. I took the Boy Scouts there once, so I decided to visit this time to see if it was still the same. They have added bathrooms and more well-defined tent sites—quite an improvement since the last time.
Great camp sites. Only one trail out of campsites. Others you have to drive to. Great hiking for all levels.
NC campgrounds do it right! There are trash and recycling receptacles located every few campsites. Four dishwashing stations set up behind the restroom. This park has lots of hiking trails, waterfalls, a swimming lake, great fishing, newts to catch, places for kids to explore. We hammock camped and it was wonderful. Located in a beautiful area of NC with the cutest towns surrounding it. I'd love to go back.
Another large but empty campground, with 73 campsites and two loops you have lots of spots to choose from. Every site is tent or trailer ready, with picnic tables, campfire ring, tent pads, and the ability to pitch two tents. However, there is no hookups or dumping station at this campground. They do have hot showers, sinks, drinking water, and flush toilets. The sites are not able to be reserved, so it is a first-come-first-serve basis.
The trails here are great, right in the middle of the campground you can hike basically straight up for a mile or so and reach the observation tower which overs amazing 360 degree views. Definitely a must see view.
We take an annual summer trip here. The waterfall hikes, beach with concession area and nearby tubing down the Dan River make this a great campground to explore the beautiful NC mountains. The campsites and restrooms are well maintained and the camp hosts are knowledgeable and friendly.
This was a close (1 hour drive) from Winston Salem and was the perfect first tent camping experience! Tons of beautiful trails, some with waterfalls, and a great beach! Camp site was mexcellent! Just enough privacy and clean bathrooms, plenty of water spickets! We will be back!
Great campground for car camping with great views! There are over 20 miles of trails to hike that lead to waterfalls and beautiful mountain views. Swimming is also an option during the summer months. The bathhouse is closed during the winter months to avoid frozen pipes. There is a privey available just across the road from the bathhouse but you need to bring your own toilet paper.