Indian Trail and Hanging Rock Trail

Hanging Rock is one of my favorites!! There are plenty of trails, and I have run almost all of them.  Here is one that we do fairly often because it has all the great highlights: creeks, waterfalls, climbing, views, and post-run beer. The Trailhead for this one is Flinchum Road Danbury, NC. We start on Indian Trail which runs by the Dan River. We have 4 quick creek crossings before really starting the climb.

The lower section is usually less crowded. These creeks come off the mountain and are so cool and shady. I love them as aid stations and cool off spots during the summer months. After 2 miles, we pass an old barn and then cross the main road that leads into the park. It is another 1.6 miles from here to the visitor center. Still climbing, there are a few more creek crossings. At 3 miles you come to Window Falls and Hidden Falls. These falls are great, but it’s also where all the people start appearing. From the falls, it’s a final half mile to the visitor center.

From the trailhead to the visitor center, we climbed 1565 feet in the 3.6 miles. From the visitor center, we move onto the Hanging Rock Trail.  On weekends, this wide and paved start of the trail becomes a trail highway as plenty of people flock to hike up to the top of Hanging Rock. This 1.3 mile section does turn to more of a single track after you are on the ridge and then has stone steps and some rocky sections to make it up to the summit. The elevation gains 603 feet in this 1.6 mile trail. There is one small creek at the beginning of the Hanging Rock trail that I get to stop at both going up and coming back down the summit.

Once we get our view at the summit, which in the summer can be humid with not much view to in the winter with a nice view of Winston Salem. We reached the peak and now comes the fun- 5 miles of downhill. I am always happy to pass the falls as this is where the crowds disappear. Fall leaf season is really busy with lots of dogs. Most want me to stop, sniff and say “Hi!’ I want to just keep moving.

During the summer months, it’s nice, I get a post run cool off in the Dan River while all the canoes float by. After I get my post run soak, my pawrents like to stop up the road for a post run drink at The Green Heron. We can lounge outside while they have a beer or sometimes I get to go inside with them when it isn’t too busy.

Snake bites– I personally don’t even notice these slithering beasties, so my companions see them and try to keep me from having really bad bite injury.  Yes, it’s great to have pawrent that is a veterinarian, but he has also seen some bad stuff with snake bites so he worries about me.

Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Florida, and Texas have the highest snakebite rates. The copperhead snake was responsible for the most bites. Most bites occur between April and October and usually occur on the limbs.  

So what to do if you are minding your own business and you step on a snake who happens to be sunning itself on the trail?  First thing is to remain calm! Try to have your companion identify the snake, treatment for poisonous vs. nonpoisonous snakes can vary. Stop running and walk. Don’t run to make your way to the vehicle or ranger station. A Benadryl tablet will help, I take 2 tablets but my dad says that you should take 1 mg per pound. If you have been bitten on the chest or belly then you need to seek medical treatment immediately, like a pet emergency clinic, that has antivenom. 

Wounds on the legs and feet are not as dire, but you need treatment and pain medications. Do remember these can be deadly and you need to get care quickly!