Hanging Rock State Park is a 7,019 acre (28.40 km²) North Carolina state park in Stokes County, North Carolina in the United States. The park is north of Winston-Salem and is located approximately from Danbury in Stokes County.
In 1936, the Winston-Salem Foundation and the Stokes County Committee for Hanging Rock donated 3,096 acres (12.5 km²) to North Carolina for establishing a state park. Prior to this, the land had been owned by developers intent on creating a mountain resort on its highest summit. The plans fell through when the developers went bankrupt during the initial construction. After the state acquired the property, the Civilian Conservation Corps built the original facilities between 1935 and 1942, including the construction of a 12 acre lake and bathhouse that is currently on the National Register of Historic Places. Additional land acquisitions in the 1970s added to the park the Lower Cascades, a spectacular waterfall, and the Tory's Den, a rock outcropping rumored to have served as a hideout for British Loyalists during the American Revolutionary War. Another large land purchase in 2000 added Flat Shoals Mountain, a smaller summit visible from the top of Hanging Rock, to the park as well.
Hanging Rock State Park is located in the Sauratown Mountain Range, one of the most easterly mountain ranges in the state. Often called "the mountains away from the mountains," the Sauratown range is made up of monadnocks that are separated from the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. With the exception of Pilot Mountain, which is in Surry County, the Sauratown Mountains lie completely within the borders of Stokes County. Prominent peaks in the Sauratown range rise from to more than in elevation and stand in bold contrast to the surrounding countryside, which averages only in elevation. The highest point in the park - and the highest point in the Sauratown Mountain range - is Moore's Knob. It rises to 2,579 feet (786 m) above sea level.
Named for the Saura Native Americans who were early inhabitants of the region, the rocky tops of the Sauratown Mountains are the remnants of a once-broad layer of rock that covered the region. Over many years, wind, water and other forces eroded the surrounding blanket of rock. What remains of these ancient mountains is the erosion-resistant quartzite, which now supports scenic ridges and knobs, including Moore's Knob, Moore's Wall, Cook's Wall, Devil's Chimney, Wolf Rock and Hanging Rock.
Due to its unique location, the park is home to a number of species of flora that are more commonly found in the westernmost part of the state. Carolina and Canadian hemlock grow alongside each other, and in the spring visitors can view the colorful displays of rhododendron, mountain laurel, pinxter azalea, and a number of other wildflowers. Much of the park is an oak-hickory forest, with chestnut oak the dominant hardwood.
The park is also home to the rare Wehrle's salamander, and peregrine falcons have been known to nest in the crags on the park's high peaks. An abundance of ravens and vultures are usually seen calling and circling overhead. Visitors usually see white-tailed deer and Wild Turkey while walking the park trails. Raccoons and opossums are usually seen alongside the roads at night.
Two venomous snakes, the copperhead and timber rattlesnake, live in the park, and do not bother unless provoked. All wildlife is protected at Hanging Rock just as in all other North Carolina State Parks.
Hanging Rock State Park offers over of trails where visitors can hike to its numerous peaks and waterfalls. The park has a 73-site tent and trailer campground (minus R/V hookups) and 10 vacation cabins for overnight accommodations. The lake and bathhouse, open from June - Labor Day, offers swimming and boat rentals. Rock climbing is permitted at Moore's Wall and Cook's Wall but is not allowed at the Hanging Rock summit. The visitor's center and museum room is open daily. There is no admission fee to the park.