Hike to Hanging Rock

North Carolina Hanging Rock Visitor Center

Added by Kenton Steryous

A relatively short and well-traveled hike with awesome 270 degree views at the summit.

Park in the main parking lot for Hanging Rock State Park, and the trailhead can easily be found in the upper parking lot (furthest away from the main building), and is clearly marked. The trail starts off by descending, but don't be fooled, it quickly turns into a steady climb that will have you wanting to catch your breath in spite of the relatively short distance.

At about the one mile mark, you'll reach a set of man-made steps, and after climbing those you'll catch your first glimpse of Hanging Rock directly overhead. From here you'll make your final push around and to the top, coming in from behind Hanging Rock. 

I was lucky enough to hike there on a weeknight, and had the place nearly to myself. However, the weekends will be very crowded and heavily trafficked. But there are plenty of boulders and overlooks for you to find your own little spot.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Camera
  • Snacks
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

2.6 Miles

Elev. Gain:

600 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

21 days ago

Crowded But Beautiful Formations

Expect crowds on a nice day. The earlier you can get on the trail the better. The rock formation at the top are pretty neat, take time to chill and snack. The views are decent. We were traveling through, home basing in Winston so this was a nice park to dive into some nature with options for decent hiking.

21 days ago

2 months ago

Fun Hike To A Great View!

This was a fun, short hike! We went on a warm, sunny February on a weekend and the trail was quite crowded (and everyone seemed to have brought their dog). I imagine this would be a magical hike in the autumn when the leaves are changing.

2 months ago

3 months ago

Nice hike, remarkably crowded.

This has to be the most popular hike in the Triad Area. It was a nice hike, but on a nice weekend day you can expect to see hundreds of people on the 1.3 mile out and back. Still, I am glad I did it. There are many other trails nearby, so if you're looking for a little more hiking after finishing this you one, there is plenty to offer from the same parking lot.

3 months ago

6 months ago

Nice Little Hike, Lots Of Stairs

The hike, obviously, isn't long, but there are plenty of high steps and rocky terrain. The views are great from the top and it's a loooong way down over the edge. The Visitors Center and restrooms are very nice. In fact, if you want a gorgeous place for a picnic, there's a beautiful overlook on the center's wrap-around deck.

6 months ago

6 months ago

Sunrise Hike

My brother, my dad, and I took on this little adventure a few weeks ago. The view was great and the different lookout points made you really feel like you were in nature as opposed to be restricted to only to only one overlook point. We got up around 4:00am and hiked up there in time for first light and the sunrise - beautiful!

6 months ago

Added by Kenton Steryous

Adventurer, Photographer, Rock Climber, Fly Fisher

More Adventures Nearby

Hike Crowders Mountain

North Carolina / Crowders Mountain Visitor Center

Crowders Mountain State Park is the closest green space to downtown Charlotte and it will not disappoint. There are two peaks worth checking out: The Pinnacle and Crowders Mountain.

Sarah Levant
4 Saves

Hike to Raven Rock Falls

North Carolina / Raven Rock Falls Trailhead

If you want to see a great waterfall without hiking all day, this is the perfect trail for you.

Paris Robinson
9 Saves

Hike Lookout Mountain, Montreat

North Carolina / Lookout Trail Trailhead

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains is Montreat, North Carolina. Just down the road from Asheville, it neighbors Black Mountain and doesn't disappoint for views.

Edward Webb
7 Saves