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Winter Hike at Hanging Rock

posted Jan 28, 2019, 5:17 PM by Justin P   [ updated Feb 2, 2019, 4:31 PM ]
Sunday, we headed to Hanging Rock State Park for a late January hike.  Arriving around 930, we first got Alex's passport stamped at the visitor center.

After that, we hiked down the short trail to Upper Cascades Falls.

Usually, this one is very crowded but early in the morning, we were the only ones here.

Although melting quickly, there were some icicles right beside the waterfall.

After some pictures we started heading back.  At the stone bench where the trail turns sharply, we got off the trail and bushwhacked down towards the creek.  There's no trail and it's very steep, but it was obvious to follow the path.  About half way down, we came to a small cave with icicles hanging.

Continuing down, we came out at the creek at the base of Tise Falls.  It's a very pretty waterfall and much bigger than Upper Cascades, but lots of downfall on it.

And it's much more difficult to reach.  There were some interesting icicles forming off a branch right in the middle of the waterfall; I bet this is really exceptional when frozen.

We enjoyed the waterfall for a few minutes and then climbed back up.  Back at the top, we followed the campground road and got on Moore's Wall Loop Trail and headed up to its namesake.  It's a pretty steep climb, but at least it was cool out.  We stopped for lunch at the top and enjoyed the views from the highest point in the Sauratown Mountains.

Then we continued along the trail.  It follows a ridge line for a while then starts heading down.  Where Moore's Wall Loop and Tory's Den Trail split, we turned right to head towards Tory's Den, which stays on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.  The trail is mostly flat at first, passing by Huckleberry Ridge, then descends down.  It was steep at first, but got more gradual towards the end with a couple switchbacks.  Moore's Wall was visible through breaks in the trees.

After crossing the road, we headed first to Tory's Falls.  It's the highest waterfall in the park, but on a small stream and its impossible to see the entire thing.

The water was up today, so it was looking pretty nice.  Then we made a quick stop at Tory's Den, a small cave.

After a couple pictures, we started hiking back.  It was steep on the hike up to Huckleberry Ridge, but all downhill after that.  It was particularly muddy on the last portion of the trail passing by the lake.  Alex got really dirty and his toes were orange with the clay mud by the time we got back to the car.  He enjoyed resting on the way home, but didn't enjoy taking a bath when we got there.