Hanging Rock State Park has been on my bucket list to visit with my son for a while.
A few years ago, I did the Hanging Rock Trail by myself and learned about how much the park has to offer.
I vowed to come back. But this time with my son. He loves hiking.
Hanging Rock State Park is about a 2 hour road trip from the Raleigh-Durham area.
So a few weeks ago, we packed up our bags and set out for the park.
First Stop: Lower Cascades Falls
Lower Cascades Falls is a hidden gem of North Carolina. It's one of the most beautiful waterfalls of North Carolina.
Well... I don't know how much of a hidden gem it is anymore because it can get pretty busy.
I suggest going early.
Put this address into your GPS as it is not in the main part of the park:
Address: 2143 Hall Rd, Westfield, NC 27053
Lower Cascades Falls is formed by Cascade Creek dropping down a 35-foot stone wall. Cascade Creek actually stems off from the lake inside Hanging Rock State Park.
The Lower Cascades Trail is one of the shortest at Hanging Rock State Park (0.4 miles one-way), another reason it’s among the most popular. The hike begins with a mix of gravel, dirt, and rock before transitioning into a set of stone and wooden steps.
Once there, you are greeted by a beautiful waterfall with a pool to wade in. *Pack water shoes and a bathing suit*
I suggest letting your kid take the lead.
My son had fun wading in the pool, climbing over all the works, and exploring the little creek that trickles down past the waterfall.
Pack a lunch and a book and then just sit and soak up this majestic site.
Second Stop: The Visitor Center
Address: 1005 Visitor Center Drive, Westfield, NC 27053
We love to stop at the visitor center of any park to get a map, stop to use the bathroom, or learn more about the park.
we stopped here, got a map, and planned out the rest of our day.
A lot of trails are accessed from the Visitor's Center including Hanging Rock Trail.
Third Stop: Hanging Rock Lake
Address: 2847 Hanging Rock Park Road, Westfield, NC 27053
A very short drive from the visitor's center is Hanging Rock Lake.
We stopped here to eat our packed lunch and then decided to swim at the lake.
Swimming Fees: $6/day for 13-year-olds and up. $4/day for children from three to 12 years old.
Boat Rentals: ($7/hour)
I thought that the lake was perfect for kids. There are lifeguards on duty, sand to play in, a calm lake to swim in, diving boards, boat rentals, changing rooms, bathrooms, concession stands, and a shelter that overlooks the lake with cozy rocking chairs to enjoy a treat in.
We spent a couple hours here.
Fourth Stop: Hidden Falls and Window Falls
After the lake, we had one more short hike in us. We drove back to the Visitor's Center and started the Indian Creek Trail.
Hidden Falls is 0.4 miles from the parking lot with Window Falls another 0.2 miles away from there.
We hiked to Window Falls and turned around and came back.
It was a 1.2 mile hike which was just the right length for my 4-year old. He started to grow tired after that.
Fifth Stop: Cugino Forno Pizzeria
We drove to Winston-Salem which was on our way for the drive back to Raleigh.
We stopped at Bailey Power Plant.
Here's the description of this cool part of town:
Bailey Power Plant offers a unique mixed-use environment at the epicenter of downtown Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter. This renovated building offers retail and office space and plenty of amenities—like being within steps of Bailey Park and a block away from Long Branch Trail access points. Enjoy expansive outdoor gathering spaces, communal break areas, conference rooms and innovative building design (including some historical pieces from the building’s past as a working coal-fired power plant). There are two nearby parking decks available in addition to ample street parking.
We had pizza at Cugino Forno Pizzeria which is located right next to Incendiary Brewing Company. Pizza and beer after a long day of hiking!
Perfect way to end the day.