Yesterday I enjoyed hiking up the mountain at Hanging Rock State Park, in Danbury, N.C. The park is located in the northern part of the state, about 30 minutes north of Winston-Salem.
This was my third trip to this park, and second this year. In June, I was with my husband and children and we did one of the waterfall trails, which was awesome. This time though, it was just my husband and me, enjoying a day date by ourselves.
There are several different trails in the park. We chose to do the Hanging Rock trail, which goes all the way to the top. The trail is 1.3 miles each way, and completely wooded with the exception of the summit.
The park brochure lists this trail as “moderate,” but it’s definitely challenging for most people. The trail starts off paved, then changes to steps and rocks, especially the closer you get to the top. None of it is totally flat — expect many inclines, declines, and stairsteps along the way. It’s worth it when you get to the top, and can walk around on the rocks, or just sit and enjoy the spectacular views from both sides of the mountain.
If you visit during the fall, I advise arriving early before the crowds. The park opens at 7 a.m. We got there at about 9:30, and by the time we finished our hike the parking lot was full and a large bus of church youth had hit the trail.
I wanted to do a mountain hike to see the fall leaves, but we were a couple weeks early for peak color here. It was also an overcast day, with some rain off and on. Fortunately, the rain held off during our hike, and temperatures remained in the comfortable 60s. Despite the grayness of the day and mostly green leaves, it was still beautiful. This is one of my favorite parks in North Carolina.
We worked up quite an appetite, and stopped for lunch at Dan River Family Restaurant, located along the side of the road not far from the park. If you go, stop in for their wonderful pit-cooked barbecue sandwich, homemade there daily. It is the best BBQ I’ve had in North Carolina! We followed that by sharing a slice of their homemade peanut butter pie, with peanut butter cookie crust…incredible. We loved it so much that we took a pound of barbecue and slaw home with us. This will definitely be our “must-stop” whenever we come here. Delicious homestyle cooking served with a generous helping of southern hospitality.
What a wonderful way to enjoy a fall day!
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