Hanging Rock State Park – Moore’s Wall Loop Trail

As quoted in the Hanging Rock State Park brochureNot far from the cities of the Triad area, off the four-lane highways, there’s another North Carolina to be discovered — sheer cliffs and peaks of bare rock, quiet forests and cascading waterfalls, views of the piedmont plateau that stretch for miles.”
One of the perks of being a teacher is the time off.  This past weekend was a three day weekend due to Veteran’s Day, so Eric and I took advantage of the extra time and headed to Hanging Rock State Park.  This is a lovely escape just over an  hour’s drive away from Greensboro.  It was a perfect November day – tee shirt weather in Greensboro, which meant a little cooler in the foothills.   

We decided to take the Moore’s Wall Loop Trail which is a 4.3 mile strenuous hike.  This hike starts off  curving around Hanging Rock Lake, winds through the forest, and steadily climbs into the rocky mountain, and ending with a spectacular view from a fire lookout tower.  
Greta was a little tired from sleeping in the car, but in general a good sport.  She always gets excited by the site of her hiking backpack, and this trip was no different.  She’s a trooper as long as we keep her entertained with questions and leaves to grasp.  
Greta has been hiking since she was just a few weeks old.  Hiking with kids is easy, here are our 5 simple rules:
1. Don’t wait until they can walk.  Start kids young.  Kids need to get outdoors, especially out in nature, away from the city.  A backpack for carrying kids is the best way to start.  Try on these backpacks before you buy, as you tend to get what you pay for.  Buy secondhand, if you can.  
2. Stay hydrated and prevent hunger fatigue.  Pack twice as much water and healthy snacks as you think you will need.  
3. Be prepared for the elements. Bring extra layers and rain gear. ALWAYS bring sunscreen on the trail and apply before getting out of the car. Wear hats and sunglasses as well. 
4.  Prevent injuries.  Wear shoes that can withstand rigors of hiking.  I cannot tell you how many kids I have seen complaining of sore feet and they are hiking in flip-flops!
5.  Ensure repeat trips.  Rest often.  Make up games to interest kids .  On this hike we played, “What sound does ____ (animal name) make?”

I was so grateful Eric was carrying Greta on this hike – I had forgotten how steep the end of this hike can be – this shows the last few stone steps before reaching the watch tower.  
The views are rewarding.  This shows Pilot Mountain which is currently burning due to a controlled burn that got out of hand.  We could see some of the smoke, but could not smell the fire at all.  While we did not see all that many people on the trail, the watch tower was more crowded than usual – most likely due to the closure of nearby Pilot Mountain. 

Climbing the last sets of steps before the tower platform.  

It was windy up here – Greta gasped for breath a couple times.  The last time we were here, we brought Brownie, our dog with us.  She is deathly afraid of heights and would not go near the railing.  

The leaves were still quite beautiful, even this late in November.  

Great the hungry goblin needed a snack before we headed back. 

This hike is so rewarding with views – I was so happy with the weather on this day. 
This rock shows the graffiti of earlier hikers, circa 1900. 

We took the loop, and so took the shorter way down.  This section is shorter in distance, but much harder on the knees – lots of worn smooth stone steps due to the higher traffic on this section. 

The lake looked a little cold today, but we vowed to make it up here sometime this summer and perhaps stay in one of the cabins.  

The bathhouse was built from 1935 to 1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  It offers lovely views of the lake, has modern bathrooms, and a comfortable place to sit and relax.  

I always say this is one of the most beautiful park parking lots I’ve been to – full of mature trees, granite stone walls, and lake and Sauratown Mountain views.

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