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Hanging Rock Five Overlooks

posted May 23, 2017, 9:18 AM by Justin P   [ updated Jun 8, 2017, 4:52 PM ]
On Saturday, we were going to complete the Five Overlooks Challenge at Hanging Rock State Park.  After waking up, we got our stuff together and started hiking the Moore's Wall Loop Trail up to the summit.  It was a steep climb up, but we started early so the temperatures wouldn't be too bad.  Soon we made it to the top and took a short break to enjoy the views.

We met a guy from Winston-Salem up here knew our friend Waterfall Hiker Chris.  Looking west, the Sauratown Mountains were visible, with Sauratown Mountain first and Pilot Mountain in the distance.

I climbed up the lookout tower for the best views.  Also spotted a pretty little American Painted Lady butterfly on the rocks up here.

After some pictures, we continued on the loop trail.  The mountain laurel and rhododendron up here were just beautiful and we stopped frequently for pictures.  Just past the summit of Moore's Knob, there were a ton of rhododendron blooming along Moore's Wall below the summit.

Further on the trail, there was a beautiful spot where both the mountain laurel and rhododendron were blooming together.

We continued on down the mountain, passing some pretty wildflowers, and went left at the split to stay on Moore's Wall Loop Trail.

In a short ways, Sandy jumped at the sight of a snake - and it was a copperhead.  Although they're not aggressive snakes, I don't know if Alex would do and I certainly didn't want him to get bit.  Fortunately, when the snake saw he, he slithered enough off the trail that we could safely pass.

At the next junction, we turned right on Magnolia Springs Trail to start heading back up.  At the ridgeline, we turned right again and made our next stop at House Rock.

There were really nice views from here and we could see the Winston-Salem skyline in the distance.

While Sandy and Alex took I short break, I walked around to get some pictures.  The mountain laurel up here were really beautiful.

Next, we continued on towards Cook's Wall, passing more beautiful mountain laurel.

At the end of the trail, we reached Devils Chimney.  We had lunch here while watching some guys fly a GoPro drone around.

It was pretty hot, so Alex found a shady spot under some rocks to rest.  Heading back, we stopped at the gap between Cooks Wall and Devils Chimney and scrambled down a steep path for a really good view from between the cliffs.

Then we continued to backtrack on Cook's Wall Trail, passing Magnolia Springs Trail and then getting on Wolf Rock Trail.  It was quite crowded at Wolf Rock, so I waited for a large group of scouts to leave so I could get some pictures.

Alex appreciated a little break.  Then we finished up the trail and turned right on Hanging Rock Trail to get our last overlook.  This one is the most popular in the park and was very crowded.  I spotted some fire pink blooming near the summit.

Alex took a little rest while I got some pictures.  Looking west I could see Moore's Knob with the lookout tower just barely visible.

Hanging Rock, the park's namesake is very popular and crowded since it's such a beautiful overhanging rock with great views.

But since it was so crowded, we didn't stay too long.  We headed back down to the visitor center and I got a patch for Alex; the lady at the office said he was only the second dog to receive a patch (after her grand-dog).  From here, it was just another mile on the MST back to camp.  We headed into Danbury and got a pizza to go and then headed to Green Heron Alehouse.  They don't serve food, so Alex was allowed inside.  We ate our pizza and drank beers before heading back to camp.  We built a campfire, but shortly after the sun set, it started raining so we just went to sleep.