Hanging Rock
Mar 20, 2021
The activities depicted on this site are inherently dangerous and can result in serious injury or death. Any action that you take as a result of information obtained from this site or any information provided through Hike2Hike is at your own risk.

This past year I took a lot of risks. I got laid off like so many others. But, instead of sitting on unemployment and waiting for my old position to return, I decided I wanted something new. I spent the better part of every day teaching myself web development. Though I was successful, a career change also meant starting at the bottom. While taking on the reduced wages was a bit of a blow to my self-confidence, I took it in stride. I asked my sister if I could live with her for a short time while I gained a foothold. First though, since my new job is remote to start, I headed for the east coast to explore a new place and see my girlfriend.

She knows I love the outdoors, but she also told me before I came that this place would not satisfy my needs. I often yearn for tall peaks, challenging scrambles, and long walks in the woods. After my arrival she said I would enjoy a trip up hanging rock, a famous nearby hike to Raleigh, NC.

hanging rock from the parking area
hanging rock from parking
hanging rock warning sign
warning sign at trail head

The trail for this peak starts from a huge parking lot, which to my surprise was not even complete on a sunny day at 9 am. Compared to Washington's often very busy trail heads the sight was a welcome one. There were quite a few people on the trail, but, everyone was well spread out.

From the start, the scenery is lovely. Tall stands of trees dominate the trail and small creeks run below it off and on. It is a little unfortunate that this time of year the trees had no leaves, but, they still had a sublime beauty to them. The first mile or so of the trail is paved and an easy walk.

trail stairs at hanging rock state park
trail stairs

The second half of the trail is where things get more interesting. Though I felt surprised to see stairs leading up a hill, the path finally had more of an outdoors feel to it. As the views opened up I began to feel that sense of calm I always get when I am high above everything. Best of all, along the route there are multiple rocks that provide some nice little scramble practice. Lima looked on as I enjoyed them, cautioning all along.

The summit of Hanging Rock is quite a joy. There are several spots where the rock juts out and creates an air of mystery and risk that doesn't exist. However, the feeling that you are hanging over the edge fo a cliff on a rock suspended hundreds of feet in the air is worth the short trip. My favorite part of hanging rock was walking out on one of the ledges. It is only a couple of feet wide and finally I felt that pang of risk that I seem to adore.

waterboy on the edge of hanging rock
Waterboy on hanging rock

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