I think one of the things I love most about NC is all of the natural variety we have here. I can drive a few hours east or west and reach beautiful beaches or majestic mountains. This week, my friend Teddy and I took a short trip a couple hours north of Charlotte to Hanging Rock State Park for some hiking and to celebrate Memorial Day. (AKA I told him I was coming to pick him up and that he was going hiking with me- Thanks, Teddy!)
Teddy and I didn’t quite make it out to the park as early as we had originally planned… Which was entirely my fault… I slept in… Oops?
By the time we arrived (around 9:30?), the park was already getting pretty full and the weather was starting to get hot. After a mandatory stop in the beautiful visitors’ center for a quick potty break (the bathrooms are SO CLEAN) and a consultation with the super helpful park guide who gave us a map – we were ready to go! The park guide suggested that we hike the Hanging Rock trail first and finish with the two waterfalls, Hidden Falls and Window Falls.
I should really apologize to Teddy again. I told him our hike was going to be easy peasy lemon squeezy, nothing more than a nature walk on an incline. Well… I found myself at the top of some decently steep stairs, hot and out of breath. (Sorry, Teddy!)
I will say – the views from the top are totally worth the hike. It was beautifully breezy when we got up there, which helped combat some of the intense heat from the sun. While it was kind of crowded at the top, it wasn’t impossible to take some good pictures, enjoy the view, and do a little bit of meditation. We even spotted some of the abundant wildlife up at the top – there were some hawks enjoying the warm day, coasting on the breeze.
We attempted to visit some waterfalls when we got back down from Hanging Rock. Unfortunately, Hidden Falls was PACKED with kids. And while I may like kids enough, I don’t love them screaming and running around on slippery rocks. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Instead, we made our way down to Window Falls which were beautiful. I got to take my shoes off and play a little bit in the water while we were up by the topmost waterfall. (The higher one was a lot less crowded than the lower one since kids couldn’t climb up there as easily.)
The park has a lot of other hiking trails we didn’t have time or energy to try, but maybe next time I make my way out there I’ll get to try some new ones!
The Informational Stuff
Hanging Rock State Park is located about two and a half hours north of Charlotte, North Carolina in Stokes County. If you’re looking for the park, the visitors center does come up on GPS and I had no trouble with the GPS signal the entire drive up.
If you’re interested in visiting, the park is open every day EXCEPT Christmas, but the hours vary with the seasons. I recommend going super early in the morning if you’re going in the summer (it gets really hot and a bit crowded if you wait too late).
Check out the State Park’s website at https://www.ncparks.gov/hanging-rock-state-park for more info!
If you guys get a chance and are in the mood for a good Hike in central NC, I’d thoroughly recommend Hanging Rock. Definitely check it out and let me know what you think!
You’re never too old to go exploring and play in some waterfalls! (Just don’t go chasing them or anything…) And make sure you’re always safe and you don’t do anything reckless like jumping off waterfalls or clinging to cliffs.
Until next week – Hang in there 😉