On the last day of our spring break we decided to head to North Carolina to check out Hanging Rock State park. It's not too far from us and is actually pretty close to Pilot mountain where we have hiked many times before. i did a little research on it, and found that there are may waterfalls in the park and was excited to check it out. i printed up this waterfall tour to take with us.
Hanging Rock has a really nice Visitor's center. There was some interactive educational displays, and a small gift shop. Almost all of the hiking trails start here in the parking lot near the visitor's center. There are indoor bathrooms and a water fountains to fill up water bottles. So it ended up being very convenient that we would end up back here after hiking each trail.
The first waterfall we checked out is the Upper Cascade Falls. This one is across the road from the visitor's center and only about .2 miles. It was a easy trail, and falls are beautiful. There is a small wading pool in front of the falls where the kids can get their feet wet. There was a family at the falls when we arrived, they were sitting along the edge with their feet in the water and the space was a bit too crowded for us to stay very long. We snapped a quick picture and then headed on to the next trail.
The next trail we took was the Hanging Rock Trail. It is listed as only being 1.3 miles, but i swear it was the longest mile of my life. ha ha. i'm wondering if it was 1.3 miles as the crow flies, because it felt much longer than 1.3 miles, and we hike all the time. So this picture was taken at the base of Hanging rock. We still have to climb all the way up to the top. The trail isn't really difficult, but it is a little strenuous. If you have any issues with heights i would not recommend climbing to the top.
This photo was taken at the top of Hanging Rock, although we have not yet walked out onto the actual Hanging Rock ledge. i was already pretty terrified at this point. That cliff behind us, just goes straight down. It doesn't look like much in the photo, but it was really scary. The man that took the photo for us, made a gasping noise when he went to hand me back the camera and stepped closer to the edge. He wife was sitting on the rocks across from us and afraid to move. i honestly had no desire to climb out onto the ledge, this was plenty high enough.
So this is a nice shot of Hanging Rock. In just a moment, we are going to walk around to it and then walk out and sit on the edge of this ledge. There were a lot of folks at the top of Hanging Rock, i'm not quite sure how i managed to get a picture without anyone on it. Most folks were hanging back on the less scary areas.
This photo was borrowed off a page about Hanging Rock. Just to show you some perspective. People are seriously freaking crazy. lol.
Here is my family sitting the same place the folks above are sitting. i was just about having a panic attack, and kept telling Kenan not to go all the way to edge. My knees literally turned to jelly and i had to sit down about half way out on the ledge. i was almost in tears, begging Kenan to come back up to where i was. So, sorry to say i did not enjoy Hanging Rock. There were a lot of young adults/college students sitting right out on the edges. i even watched one girl's foot slip and she was walking out on a ledge and had to look away so afraid she was about to fall.
We even spotted this Fence Post lizard at the top. This was the time i'd ever seen a fence post lizard, so i thought that was pretty cool. i have the goal every year to see/identify something i've never seen before. It's amazing to me that after living here for 14 years, i still find new things each each.
After coming down from Hanging Rock, we walked back to the Visitor's center to refill water bottles and then continued on to the Indian Creek trail. The frst falls we came upon are Hidden falls, but there were some folks ahead of us that turned down the path to those falls so we continued on to Window Falls. It is .6 miles to the Window Falls. These are absolutely beautiful falls. There were some young folks who had put up a hammock here and were chilling out by the falls and smoking some funny stuff. ;) So we didn't hang around long, just snapped a couple pictures and then went back to Hidden Falls.
We were all getting pretty tired at this point, and it was starting to get late so we know this was going to be the last hike even though we didn't get a chance to see all of the falls.
Hidden Falls, are just off the Indian Creek Trail only about .4 miles from the parking lot. There was no one else at these falls when we got here, which was really nice. These are smaller falls, but the water is shallow and the kids were able to kick off their shoes and play in the water.
After leaving Hidden Falls, we headed back home. Here is a nice view of Hanging Rock. This is a wonderful park to explore. i look forward to coming back to see the rest of the waterfalls. We did not get to see the Lower Cascade falls or Tori's Den and waterfall. There are several other trails that i would love to come back and hike, but i do not ever need to go to the top of Hanging rock again, ever. :)