Stretching from the Blue Ridge Mountains of eastern Appalachia through the Piedmont, the Dan River Basin flows with foothills and rocky outcrops that make for plenty of bouldering opportunities—as well as world-class rock climbing in Hanging Rock State Park.
Probably the more famous of the two primary climbing locations in Hanging Rock is Moore’s Wall, which has grown as a climbing destination since its first recorded ascent in 1959. Moore’s Wall features quartzite rock and overhanging lines, along with multiple routes and areas in which to play. Each has its own character and offers a different climbing experience.
The website Mountain Project, which documents various climbing destinations, includes this heads-up about Moore’s Wall:
One distinguishing feature of climbing here is the adventurous nature of the descents; don’t look for convenient bolted rap stations at the topouts of most routes. A typical rap station consists of fixed pro, slung trees or chocks, or a combination of these. And just finding the rap stations can be a real easter egg hunt, involving scrambling and downclimbing. Be prepared!
Moore’s Wall is the more high-profile of Hanging Rock’s main two climbing destinations.
The other is Cook’s Wall, which requires a long hike to access but which is home to many climbing routes and few crowds. The Mountain Project breaks Cook’s Wall into four sections: Cookbook, Lower Wall, West Walls (aka Cooks Fin), and Devil’s Chimney. The page also takes pains to distinguish Cook’s Wall from Moore’s Wall:
The holds, the texture, even the shape of the cliff and formation of the individual walls are distinctly different from Cooks to Moores. They are each unique and have their own style and character. … The routes are generally 60′-100′, the angle is usually steep to really steep and the rock is predominantly good to great.
Rock climbing in Hanging Rock does require a permit, so check out the park’s website and check in with rangers before hitting the rocks.
While in Hanging Rock State Park, there are plenty of other ways to play, too. Paddle on the Dan River. Ride 8.4 miles of mountain-biking trails. Hike on more than 20 miles of trails that lead to expansive panoramas and plunging waterfalls. Stay at the park’s 73-site campground, and fish or go canoeing in its stocked lake.
Looking for other trip ideas around the region to enhance your visit? Check out one of these: