NOVEMBER ON MOORE'S KNOB
The Fat Bald White Guy and his Faithful Hiking Companion have neglected our favorite park this year. So on a sunny cold day, the week before Thanksgiving, we headed up to the peak of Moore's Knob Mountain. The trail up there was profiled earlier. http://fbwg-hiking.blogspot.com/2012/10/knob-rock-state-park-looking-northwest.html But it is a five mile loop trail from the parking lot to the peak and back...one of the best hikes anywhere in the Triad. Got to try out my new hiking poles...hoping to ease my hip pain...and they worked well.
The Park's lake and bath house are historic reminders of the contribution of the Civilian Conservation Corps who constructed this park in the 1930's. The path to the peak begins at the bath house and ends an observation deck a top of Moore's Knob mountain. If you look carefully you can see the observation tower from the deck of the bath house.
The path begins along the shores of the lake and proceeds up through Huckleberry Gap. Several trails diverge from this trail and I guess the Park Rangers got tired of complaints from folks who missed the trail up to Moore's Knob. So at the intersection of the Moore's Knob Trail and the Tory's Falls trail, they erected a sign in the middle of the Tory's Falls Trail. The trail gets steep here for about a half a mile.
At the sunglass cairn is a nice rock to rest your dawgs and catch a breath. We stopped here and had a powerbar and discussed the great day with all who passed us by. The trail was sparsely used on this cool Sunday afternoon but those we met, like us, were having a great day hiking one of North Carolina's best kept secrets-Hanging Rock State Park! Leaving the Sunglass Cairn there was a brief steep climb to the ridge of Moore's Wall. I have always longed for better views from this ridge line. We were given glimpses of nearby Hanging Rock Mountain and more distant Pilot Mountain nonetheless.
Along the ridge there are many interesting rock formations and cliffs. While I have in the past scrambled on to various ledges, I have yet to find a really great view. But the rocks are interesting.
The real treat of the hike is at the observation tower that is erected a top nearby Moore's Knob. The views there are wonderful and the rock scrambling is pretty nice as well. From the top of the observation tower there is a 360 degree view of the surrounding countryside.
Nearby Hanging Rock Mountain can be seen in all her splendor. For the first time I wondered of trails to the northern side of this peak. The day was so clear, not only could you see the Winston-Salem skyline, but that of Greensboro as well! The visitor's center looks like a magnificent home.
The closest peak is Cook's Wall Mountain. Late fall color is still dotting the mountainside even though it is almost Thanksgiving! Of course to the west, there is a view of the Blue Ridge. My peakfinder app helped us understand that many of the mountains seen over the Moore's Knob were in Virginia.
But to the south are the twin sister of the Saura Mountain Range, the famous Pilot Mountain and Sauratown Mountain.
Leaving the observation tower, I scrambled over to the Knob and found a pretty easy trail to the base of the knob from which I captured another view of Pilot Mountain. From the other side was a great view of the Blue Ridge and surrounding countryside.
The path down from the Moore's Knob is a series of steps...about a mile and a quarter worth....and you know the FBWG hates steps! But the color on this side of the mountain made us think this was late October, not late November.
The trail loops back through the Hanging Rock Park Campground and connects with the Lake Trail. As we ended the day we tried to catch the sunset over the lake...almost missed it.
As the sun set over the ridge, it illuminated the slopes of Moore's Knob Mountain.
Did I tell you that Hanging Rock State Park may be the perfect North Carolina Park for me? It is located 30 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem and boasts a wonderful lake, three great mountains and five wonderful waterfalls. There is no excuse for my couch potato readers not take a walk in this park!
Access is 9....Scenery is 9...Trails are 9...effort to view is perfect....a 9+ hike every time I visit the place.