This trail is the classic route which takes you to the eponymous Hanging Rock. The trail starts at the Visitor's Center parking lot, on the far side from the actual Visitor's Center. It begins as a paved trail, but after about 0.25 miles it drops into a wide, friendly trail that starts to work it's way up. And up. And up. It can be steep in sections, sometimes reaching almost a 30% grade, but after about 0.25 miles you breach the top and level out (and, very kindly, there are benches along the way to catch your breath or just sit and idly watch the forest). You hike along the ridge, dipping briefly before gearing up for another long slog up. This time it is a set of trail steps that take you most of the rest of the way up, breaking up as you near Hanging Rock to just trail once more.
You come out to the rock, and are rewarded for your short but intense hike with views that stretch 20+ miles to the south and east, easily viewing the rolling foothills of the Piedmont. Retrace your steps to complete the entire hike.
See topo maps and more information on the description at Everytrail
Length: 1.3 mile one-way
Time: 1-3 hours
Greensboro has recently launched the newest part of their Greensboro Science Center, the Carolina Sciquarium! This is North Carolina's first inland aquarium, nearly 200 miles away from the ocean. It is a small aquarium, not sized to compare against ones like the coastal aquariums or larger national ones, but it is a good size for the city.
The Sciquarium has multiple viewing exhibits: Asian fishing cat, otters, penguins, Amazonian wildlife, and ocean tank. The Asian fishing cat is a large sleek feline, while the otter exhibit has a plexiglass dome in the middle so visitors can crawl in, stick their heads up, and watch the otters even closer. Sometimes the otters will come over and play with you, rubbing their furry bellies against the plexiglass. The penguins swim readily up to visitors, very friendly, and the Amazon exhibit has small fish, a green anaconda, and spotted stingrays. The ocean tank, the largest in the facility, has multiple species of shark, colorful reef fish, and even a few green moray eels slinking around the coral formations.
There is also a touch tank with several bat and round rays, which is delightful. Remember to be careful, use two fingers!! There are other display exhibits which highlight conservation, wildlife morphology (different jaws, spines, scales, etc.), and show the behind-the-scenes workings of the aquarium (how they keep the water moving, how they brought animals from the ocean to the tanks here).
It is a great addition to the city, and a wonderful place to bring family and friends of all ages. I took my adult sister here when she came to visit, and we had a blast just soaking in all the critters. And with admission you can also visit the rest of the Greensboro Science Center!
Admission: Adults (ages 14 - 64): $12.50
Seniors (ages 65+): $11.50
Children (ages 3 - 13): $11.50
Children 2 and Under: Free
Hours: Open daily from 9:00am - 5:00pm
Open year-round except closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, and closes at 2pm on Christmas Eve.
There are plenty of places nearby to indulge your desires for nature. But if you really want to get out there, head west to the Pisgah Forest. About 90 minutes from Greensboro, this is a verdant wonderland for hiking, camping, backpacking, birdwatching, waterfall gazing. I have been chronicling some of my adventures on the Pisgah Wilderness page. Enjoy!
Greensboro is most noted historically for a revolutionary war battle where the US forces did not win, but, led by Nathaniel Greene (hence the name of the city) seriously weakened Cornwallis that his army was defeated shortly thereafter. The location of that battle currently is a gorgeous park. There are monuments galore and historical markers telling the story of the events. This part is also a wonderful place to walk, hike, or mountain bike. Its presence near two lakes (also with adjacent trails) is one of the more attractive parts of town.
The other notable, and arguably more important historical event in Greensboro involved sit-ins at a downtown Woolworth's as part of the US civil rights movement. On Feb 1, 1960 four brave NC A&T college students sat at the whites-only counter at Woolworth's and asked to be served. The International Civil Rights Museum is set to open on this location on July 25, 2005. From all accounts, it should be a great museum.
This museum exhibits the history of Greensboro, NC. They also exhibit the history of famous people that were born in Greensboro like short-story writer O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) and former first lady Dolly Madison. You will also like the exhibit of the lunch-counter sit-ins at F.W. Woolworth which was the nation's first major protest against segregation. Free admission
The Guilford Courthouse National Park has over 200 acres of trails and 28 monuments recognizing both the American and British sides who fought here. The battle of the Revolutionary War took place on March 15, 1781 and was led by the British General Cornwallis and the American Rebel leader, Nathaniel Greene. Greene's monument (pictured here) is the most impressive in the park.
Well, this place isn't quite done yet. In fact, the museum and cultural center is set to open in 2007. However, you can come in and see the counter where four North Carolina A&T State University students staged the first sit-in of the the Civil Rights Movement. This brave action started a wave of sit-ins all across the country.
The counter is located in the old art deco-style Woolworth Building in the heart of downtown.
. . . of the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park is open daily from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Inside, you'll find a museum with interactive displays and artifacts from the battle. There is also a bookstore a movie room in which they show a 30 minute film that gives you a good historical background about the battle itself.
There are 12 galleries that display the history of the people of the region (the Piedmont). Highlights include an impressive collection of Civil War firearms and a stroll through a historical cemetery.
Downtown Greensboro, especially the clearly marked "cultural district", is worth a quick visit. Here's another picture of the Jefferson Pilot Building and some interesting public art that's in the area. You'll also find some good restaurants, shopping and other historical sites, all within a few blocks of the area around Elm Street.
This is a great place for a stroll . . . oh, and it happens to be a historical site! I say this, because if you go here expecting an amazing tourist site, you'll be disappointed. I didn't expect much and therefore, I enjoyed it. After all it's free. It's basically a big, natural park full of monuments and a visitor's center.