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The Hanging Rock Byway - Traveling the North Carolina Piedmont

Updated on December 1, 2007

The Hanging Rock Byway has been designated by the North Carolina Department of Transportation as one of 45 scenic byways in the state. These routes have been selected because they embody the diverse beauty, culture, history, and geography of the state while providing travelers with a less-hectic alternate route. The routes are clearly marked with highway signs and the Scenic Byways logo.

The Hanging Rock Byway

Length: 38 miles

Driving Time: One hour

Counties: Forsyth, Stokes, Surry

Take U.S. 52 North from Winston-Salem and follow N.C. 65 from Rural Hall. You will pass through areas settled by Germans after the Revolutionary War. At the intersection of N.C. 65 and 66 turn left and follow N.C. 66 North to Mt. Olive. The byway begins where Denny Road (S.R. 2000) intersects with N.C. 66. Take N.C. 66 for about 4 ½ miles to the community of Gap, where the road forks. On the way, you will pass through the community of Mt. Olive, named for a local church. Take the right fork, Moore's Springs Road (S.R. 001), just northwest of Hanging Rock State Park.

You can enter the 192-acre park or to the lookout tower for a panoramic view of the area. The park is named for an unusual natural quartzite outcrop, which is a part of the Sauratown Mountains. There are deposits of itacolumite, a flexible sandstone found only here and in Brazil. Also in the park are the Cascade Falls which have a double drop of 200 feet in the upper cascade and 60 feet in the lower cascade. The falls were discovered by Lewis David Von Schweinitz, a Moravian mycologist and botanist. Look for Tory's Den, a cave below the Moores Knob bank. During the Revolutionary War, it is believed to have been occupied by Tories - colonists loyal to the king.

Continue on S.R. 1001 past Moores Springs to N.C. 89 West. Turning right will take you into Danbury, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Founded in 1849, Danbury is located on the Dan River at the foot of the Sauratown Mountains. It was named for North

Carolina Governor Alexander Martin's plantation in nearby Rockingham County. The community originally was an Indian village that became a trading post called Crawford.

Before the Civil War, a major iron foundry was located here. North Carolina's tribute

block in the Washington Monument came from a quarry near here.

Return to the byway following N.C. 89 West through the Sauratown Mountains. Named for the Saura Indians who once inhabited the area, these mountains are some of the oldest mountains in North America. The route ends at McBride Road (S.R. 1742) in the Shelton Town community just east of Mount Airy. Mount Airy is the home of Andy Griffith's fictional

Mayberry from The Andy Griffith Show. A sheet granite quarry is located on the

northeast side of town. This granite was used in the Wright Memorial monument at Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks. Nearby attractions include Pilot Mountain State Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Pilot Mountain is an isolated peak. It was once called "Mt. Ararat," from which the Ararat River flows. The Blue Ridge Parkway can be accessed about 15 miles north of Mount Airy near Fancy Gap, Virginia.

Other Piedmont North Carolina Byways :

The Colonial Byway

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    • MayberryNC profile imageAUTHOR

      MayberryNC 

      9 years ago

      I don't know what they cost, but I've always thought there is a lot of waste connected with road signs.

    • profile image

      E.M. Howell 

      9 years ago

      How much did these Byway signs cost? I was traveling in Rowan County and saw one which is almost unreadable. I don't understand why it was there and what was the purpose. Is this another unneeded expense by NC's DOT? Or is there a valid reason for these signs?

      I'd really like to know.

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