Hanging Rock State Park is a popular hiking destination and day trip for North Carolina Piedmont Locals. It is known for its unique rock cliffs that jet up 2,500′ above the surrounding area. Common park activities include hiking, rock climbing, camping, and swimming at the lake. For this guide we focus on navigating the park, our favorite scenic hikes with great views, a waterfall, and some playful photo opportunities.

Hanging Rock State Park North Carolina Couple - Landscape


  • Driving: Download an offline Google Map before you go. You won’t have cell service in the Park. (How to)
  • Hiking: None of the trails are on Google Maps so we recommend saving the Hanging Rock State Park Map to your photos before you go. The Offline Map and Park Map can be used to help navigate if needed.

Hanging Rock State Park


1. Hanging Rock Trail:

Hike Details
Distance: 2.4 miles (round trip)
Elevation Gain: 603 ft
Route Type: Out & Back
Parking: Hanging Rock State Park Visitor Center

Hanging Rock Cliff Overlooks: Rocky Cliff edge overlooks with a breath-taking view of the valley.
Hanging Rock: This is a rock that people hang on, as it gives the appearance of being on a high cliff edge. In reality, your feet are about 1-2 feet from the rock below.

This is a moderate hike that has a well maintained trail. The first ~0.5 mile is paved and has a fairly gradual incline. The last portion is steeper but has stairs or large rocks to climb. When you get to the top, there will be various Hanging Rock Cliff Overlooks. The Overlook to the very right has the rock you can safely hang on (pictured above). Danger: As the signs display, serious injuries and deaths have occurred here. Please be careful along the cliff edge.

Planning Tips:
  • Go Early. The trails get busy. If you want the view to yourself, the earlier the better.
  • Go at Sunset. This contradicts the last tip but sets you up for an and amazing sunset view! The hike down will be dark so bring a flashlight.
Photo Tips:
  • Hanging Rock: Get a low angle to make it look higher up 😊
  • Hanging Rock Cliff Overlook: Take a picture from the parallel overlook to get the full prospective of the cliff.
Hanging Rock Overlook State Park North Carolina

Hanging Rock Cliff Overlook

Hanging Rock State Park North Carolina Couple

Hanging Rock

Hanging Rock Overlook State Park North Carolina Couple

Hanging Rock Cliff Overlook

2. Moore’s Wall Loop Trail

Hike Details
Distance: 4.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 954 ft
Route Type: Loop
Parking: Hanging Rock State Park Visitor Center

Moore’s Knob: This is the highest peak in the park and the Sauratown Mountains. At the top, there is an 18′ tall observation tower that has an unobstructed 360⁰ view of the surrounding area.

To start this hike head west out of the parking lot, back to the main road. As you get to the lake, you’ll see the trail to the right, follow that around the lake until you get to the fork in the road. Go Clockwise on the trail. To do this, go left at the initial fork. This direction is more rocky, but the climb will be more gradual. The right side is very steep with lots of stairs. If you come back down the stairs, you will be able to relax at the creak at the bottom.

Moore's Knob Hanging Rock State Park North Carolina

Moore’s Knob

3. Lower Cascade Falls

Hike Details
Distance: 0.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 91 ft
Route Type: Out & Back
This is a short hike down many well maintained rock steps.

Lower Cascade Falls: This is a 35′ tall waterfall that is framed on one side by a cliff wall. There is a shallow swimming hole at the bottom that people frequently swim in. If going on the weekends in the summer, expect to see a lot of families in the water.

Lower Cascade Falls - Hanging Rock State Park - North Carolina

Lower Cascade Falls

Related Posts

Hanging Rock State Park NC GuideHanging Rock State Park NC Guide