Dan River to Hanging Rock via Indian Creek Trail

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Hanging Rock State Park

Dan River to Hanging Rock via Indian Creek Trail is a 10.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Danbury, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 10.5 miles Elevation Gain: 1,886 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash


nature trips

bird watching




wild flowers

Long hot hike up the Indian Creek Trail from Dan River in Hanging Rock State Park. It's just under 4 miles up to the Hanging Rock Visitor Center parking lot, then a short, steep climb to Hanging Rock along the Hanging Rock Trail. The first two miles of Indian Creek Trail from the Dan River to the road leading into the park climb gently through thick forest -- nice hiking if you get an early start. The climb up to the water falls and then the visitor center parking lot is brutal in places, but you can take breaks and cool off at the falls.  View from Hanging Rock is awesome.

2 hours ago

Many creek and river crossings, beautiful flowers surrounding narrow trail on the slope of the mountain. Nicely shaded entire route. Lengthy, relaxing trail with a good bit of rocks near the falls at the end.

Sun Mar 24 2019

There are three back to back crossings at the start of the hike (near Dan River) where I could not avoid getting wet. (We've had a wet spring, and I imagine these crossings are usually dry.). Also crowded from Falls to Hanging Rock. (Beautiful Saturday.) RATING KEY 5 stars = spectacular hike 4 stars = lovely hike, would happily do again 3 stars = enjoyed the hike, but not inclined to revisit

Mon Aug 13 2018

A great and lengthy hike from Dan River to Hanging Rock and back. Indian Creek Trail is simple and has several creek crossings. Hanging Rock Trail and views are super! The day I hiked this I got a massive amount of rain dumped on me for a couple miles. The creeks were a little high but still plenty manageable.

Mon Jan 15 2018

I did an out to back hike from Dan River to Moore’s Knob. The Indian Creek Trail at Dan River is a nice start to the day. The trail crosses the creek a few times and there is no foot bridge so use caution traversing the rocks. This trail is all woods but it is a well maintained trail with some of it being an old logging road. You will see an abandoned logging truck from the logging days near the start of the trail and at the end is an abandoned cabin barn (barn that was built like a cabin). The Indian Creek Trail meets up with the Mountains To Sea Trail (MST) which will take you to two waterfalls; Window Falls then Hidden Falls. Take a moment if you can to explore the falls behind the window (a rock formation that looks like a window). From there you will reach the Hanging Rock State Park visitors center. You can use this as a rest/refuel point before you make the final push to The Rock. The trail to the rock will seem easy at first but there is a good elevation gain so save your legs. After you come back from the Rock, stop in at the Visitors Center and tour the museum and learn about the three hiking challenges in which you can earn a patch.

Thu Jul 20 2017

The beautiful waterfalls are swarming with people, but once you start heading to the dan it thins fast. The biggest issue (in my humble opinion) with this trail is that the best part is the waterfalls at the start that are completely covered with people. The next 3 .5 miles or so are underwhelming at best. What's cool is there is nothing close to it in the area. if you can't make it all the way to the mountains, there is a decent trail close by. That's why it gets a 4/5. It's also very EASY and can be done in 4 hours taking your sweet time!

Sat Jul 15 2017

Loved this trail. Got going at 8am and spent about the full first 2 mi without passing anyone. The final stretch to the top is treacherous! Every time you think you're close... but so worth it in the end. Highly recommend!

Sat Apr 01 2017

My husband and I recently became addicted to backpacking. We LOVED this trail! We went within hours of rain ending so the streams were a little tougher to cross but still incredible. The views are incredible and this was by far the most gorgeous trail we've hiked yet. It does get a little crowded as you get closer to Hanging Rock but that didn't damper the rating to us. We'll definitely be back!

6 months ago

9 months ago

Sun May 05 2019

Mon Dec 03 2018

Sun Mar 11 2018