Because we can never do enough on our frequent forays in the Carolinas, we added visits to nearby Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock State Parks during our weekend in Mt. Airy (9/30-31/17). Jagged Rock outcrops call to us and we are usually rewarded with spectacular views. The many prominent peaks that rise alone 1,700 to 2,500-feet from the lower ranges in the Sauratown Mountains have spawned its nickname, “the mountains away from the mountains.”

The Big Pinnacle at Pilot Mountain is the most outstanding landmark in this area. Looming 1,400 feet above the valley floor, it provides guidance to every traveler roaming the Yadkin Valley.

Karen believes in doing her part to support our State Parks.

It’s an easy stroll from the parking lot atop Little Pinnacle to the scenic views of Big Pinnacle with interactive nature displays to keep us amused. My wingspan is less than the average, adult eagle.

The rugged beauty of Pilot Mountain’s formidable cliffs is awe-inspiring.

We hiked a little over 5-miles of moderate to strenuous trails in Hanging Rock State Park to view waterfalls and panoramas that were well worth the effort.

The Hanging Rock Trail to the Hanging Rock’s outlook was a prelude to the gnarly rocks at the top.

The wind and uneven footing on the crown of Hanging Rock increased the challenge of finding the perfect viewpoint.

Venturing near the precipice increased the “Pucker Factor” exponentially.

We arrived fairly early at the top of Hanging Rock and the crowd was sparse. Hikers passed us in droves on their way up as we walked down. If you want a picture without lots of other folks in it, get an early start.

That Hanging Rock Loop Trail was partially closed and we had to hike back to the parking lot and take the opposite trailhead to view the falls. This gave us a chance to rest, eat a bite and use the facilities at the Visitor Center, which is very nice and clean.

North Carolina had no rainfall for 18-days prior to our visit. Hidden Falls was flowing gently, but still quite beautifully. The hole in the rocks that creates Window Falls had no water running behind it.

Cascade Falls was also experiencing low flow that made getting behind the cascade for a picture easier and dryer.

The blush of fall colors was just beginning in the Sauratown Mountains during our visit. We hope to be back in North Carolina’s mountains when the leaves turn vibrant and the crispness of the air foreshadows winter’s arrival. “Hike on, brethren. God’s goodness awaits.”  Jeff Lyon 

 

 

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