Hanging Rock State Park just north of the triad in NC, is home to 5 named waterfalls. They are small in nature and are nothing like the much larger waterfalls that lie farther west. Several of these 5 falls dry up to merely a trickle in summer, but we had just received 1-2 inches of rain, so curiosity got the best of me. How much of an impact would rain have on these small falls? I had just enough free time after work to ride up, visit 2 of them and find out for myself.
Torys Falls is in a remote section of the park which requires a different drive than the regular one into the main park. The short hike to Torys Falls is listed as moderate. Once there, you find yourself at a ledge looking at a waterfall over 100 ft tall. It is very tiny though, even with good rain, it was not an impressive flow. Even though the waterfall is over 100 ft, only about the top 25 feet can be viewed as the rest disappears over cascades into the deep forest. There is another treat here, Torys Den, a cave that was once the “hide-out” of the remaining Tories in the revolutionary war.
My next stop was a short drive to the Lower Cascades Parking Lot. This location, while still outside of the main park, is home to Hanging Rock’s finest waterfall, “Lower Cascades”, a very scenic 35 foot waterfall with a huge overhanging cliff on the left side. Another short hike is on tap here, a tad longer than Torys Den and a tad steeper. Fairly new steps have made this once treacherous trek reasonably safe now. The waterfall could be heard from the parking lot on this day, so I was pretty excited about getting down there. Once there, I could tell the water flow was up and it made for a gorgeous setting. I sat there nearly 15 minutes, took a few pictures, then began my return to the real world. There is definitely some reward to be had, if you are able to get to a waterfall just after a big rain, even on small falls like these.