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What Is Hanging Rock State Park?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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Hanging Rock State Park is located in the mountainous region of Stokes County in North Carolina, within the US. This national park is also close to the nearby cities of Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem, and ranks as one of North Carolina's top destinations for hikers. The 7,000 acre (28 square km) park's name derives from one of the distinctive rock formations that towers above the landscape.

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) engineers began work on the park including the creation of a beach, a diving tower and a bathhouse that was, in 1991, added to the National Register of Historic Places. The CCC cleared land to create a road and picnic area, and also created hiking trails in the park. A visitor's center opened at Hanging Rock state park in 1993, including an exhibition room, several classrooms and an auditorium.

In 1936, Winston-Salem Foundation along with the Stokes County Committee for Hanging Rock collectively donated the area to North Carolina. Additional land was acquired by the state in the 1970s and the park expanded again after another land acquisition in 2000. The entire park lies within the Sauratown Mountain Range, named after a Native American tribe that had occupied the area prior to the arrival of European settlers.

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There are a number of activities for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts available at the park. Canoe and rowboat rentals are available on-site. Several shelters are available and may be reserved for special events or used on a first-come, first-served basis. Swimming is permitted on Hanging Rock Lake, located within the park, and two campgrounds are available for year-round tent and trailer camping as well. Hikers will find trails with spectacular views with routes suitable for both beginning and advanced hiking enthusiasts.

Azalea, mountain laurel, pinxter, rhododendron are plants all commonly found within the park. Large swathes of land are covered with oak and hickory trees. Animals native to Hanging Rock State Park include white-tailed deer, wild turkey and peregrine falcons. Copperhead and timber rattlesnakes have been reportedly found in the mountain range, and other commonly found reptiles include Wehrle's salamander. Hunting is not permitted in the park as all of the animals are protected.

Hanging Rock State Park contains a number of waterfalls including Upper Cascades, Lower Cascades, Hidden Falls and Window Falls. Yet another waterfall, Tory's Falls, is located close to a rocky area known as Tory's den where British loyalists called "Tories" reportedly hid themselves during the American war of independence. The Hanging Rock and Cook's Wall provide good vantage points for visitors seeking panoramic views of the park but at a level of 2,500 ft (786 m) above the sea, Moore's Knob is the park's highest point.

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