There are five named waterfalls within Hanging Rock State Park and all of them are an easy hike (less than a mile) from a parking area. Three can be accessed from the main parking area by the visitor center. The Indian Creek Trail at the north end of the parking lot leads to Hidden Falls and Window Falls, both on Indian Creek. Both of these waterfalls are small, but worth a short hike to see, especially Window Falls. More impressive than the falls is the "window" in the rock next to the falls. Near the visitor center is a very short trail to Upper Cascades Falls on Cascade Creek. The other two falls require a short drive. Leaving the park, turn left on Moore's Spring Road and the first left on Hall Road. There will be a parking lot in about a mile with a short trail to Lower Cascades Falls, my personal favorite in the park. There is a big stone bluff to the left on the falls that really creates a beautiful setting for the falls. At one time, it was difficult to see the waterfall, but the park built stairs leading down to the base. On a warm day, a dip in the cool falls basin is a good way to cool off. To reach the last waterfall, continue on Hall Road until the end, then turn left on Mickey Road and left again on Charlie Young Road to the parking lot for Tory's Den. Although Tory's Den Falls is the highest waterfall in the park, it is difficult to see the whole thing, and unless it has rained recently, the falls are more of a trickle.
Hanging Rock State Park has more than 18 miles of scenic hiking trails throughout the park. And being less than an hour from the Triad and about 2.5 hours from the Triangle, it's a great location for mountain hiking without a long drive. The most popular trail is the Hanging Rock Trail, a 1.3-mile route up to the park's namesake peak. From Hanging Rock, there are spectacular 360° views all around. Especially on a fall weekend, expect a crowd of hikers, families, sunbathers, and photographers. For a less crowded hike, consider the hike up to Moore's Wall. The total loop is about 4 miles and leads to a lookout tower with more great views. You can see Sauratown Mountain and Pilot Mountain in the distance. A third option is the Wolf Rock-Cook's Wall trail that runs along a ridge at the southern end of the park, with connections to Hanging Rock and Moore's Trails. Wolf Rock, House Rock, and Cook's Wall all provide nice views to the south. Or, if you're feeling brave, combine them and see all the sights in Hanging Rock in one long hike! There are also a couple of shorter trails that lead to the park's five named waterfalls - see my Hanging Rock Waterfalls tip for more details.
Favorite thing: If you live in the Triad area (Greensboro, Winston-Salem & High Point, NC) or find yourself in the area with time to spare, Hanging Rock State Park is a good diversion. In my opinion, the best outdoor option in the Triad area. Part of the Sauratown Mountain range, an eastern branch of the Appalachians. 2 hour roundtrip hike to the rock overlooking for forest. On a clear day, you can see 30 miles to Greensboro. Waterfalls and miles of other hiking trails. Swimming in a small lake. Tubing available in Danbury, NC, just outside the park. Hanging Rock is a much better option than Pilot Mountain, which is also nearby.