News Updates

The Riverbluffs Trail is complete! Come check it out at the Flinchum Rd. trail head at Hanging Rock State Park. The short loop provides some great views of the Dan River Bluffs.

Vade Mecum

posted Jan 9, 2017, 5:28 PM by Administrator Friends of Sauratown Mtns

Friends of Sauratown Mountains and Hanging Rock State Park will host an open house at Vade Mecum on January 28, 2017 1pm until 5pm. This event is open to the public.  Come out and tour this beautiful historic property and learn about its glorious days from the past and talk with Designers who are making plans for the property's future. The property is located off Moores Spring Rd about 3 miles from Hanging Rock State Park. For those of you who are not familiar with Vade Mecum; Vade Mecum Springs & Resort was a popular tourist attraction in the early 1900's.  People came from all over the country to vacation at the resort and drink the renowned mineral water.  You don't want to miss the history talk by Steve Shelton and see some of the old memorabilia from those days (pictures, postcards, etc). One of the old hotels is still standing today along with a beautiful chapel.  This is a must see property.

1:15pm: Welcome by Park Superintendent - GYM
130 - 5pm Talk with OBS Design Team about the property - GYM
3:00pm Steve Shelton History Talk - GYM
3:45 Hike to Springhouse
1- 5pm Self Guided tour of hotel, chapel, cabins .

Fall colors drawing crowds to state park

posted Oct 30, 2016, 5:21 PM by Administrator Friends of Sauratown Mtns

PILOT MOUNTAIN — With fall foliage approaching its peak at Pilot Mountain State Park, officials there are trying to make the viewing process easier for visitors in light of crowds attracted by nature’s splendor.  The annual pilgrimage of leaf-watching visitors to Pilot Mountain is well under way, as described by Park Superintendent Matt Windsor — although the peak hasn’t been reached. That will occur probably at the end of October through about the first week of November, park personnel say.“We’re starting to get some really good reds and some oranges, but most of our oaks are still green,” Ranger Jesse Anderson said Tuesday.

“Our various types of oaks are probably the most-dominant deciduous hardwoods we have in the park,” Anderson added in reference to species that shed leaves every year. “They have yet to turn.”

A number of variables, including precipitation and lower temperatures, can affect when leaves reach their color peak and how vivid the display actually will be during a given fall.

“It seems normal to me,” Anderson said of the present condition at Pilot Mountain State Park. “We haven’t had a really strong cold spell.” As nights become longer and cooler, chlorophyll levels decrease, causing the green colors to disappear and yellow and orange hues to emerge.

Heavy traffic tips

While the peak viewing time has yet to arrive at the local park, that hasn’t stopped the crowds that have clogged traffic within its boundaries — including this past weekend.

“Both Saturday and Sunday, there were times when the waiting time was up to an hour to get to the top of the summit,” Anderson said of the main road at the park.

Windsor, its superintendent, has announced some crowd-management guidelines to lessen the problems at Pilot Mountain State Park during upcoming weekends as the leaves are changing.

“We would like to ask visitors that are local to please consider visiting during the week if you are just planning a short visit or a scenic drive,” he suggested.

“The park is experiencing record visitation year-round, and the fall is no exception,” Windsor added. “On busy weekends as many as 2,000 vehicles a day enter the mountain, which has only 150 total formal parking spaces.”

This can result in waits of 45 minutes or longer, on a steep grade, and increase the chances of traffic accidents.

Another problem relates to a situation noted every weekend, when a large number of visitors come off the highway wanting to ride through the park and not stop

“Ride-through traffic of this kind is not possible when the park is full — you will have to wait in line to either visit or turn around,” Windsor advised.

Signage is posted outside the park gates when the facility reaches capacity. When the wait becomes 30 minutes or more for parking, all incoming traffic is redirected back out the front gate.

The amount of vehicular traffic the park once experienced only in the fall now occurs on a regular basis year-round. So local residents should keep this in mind when visiting during any nice weekend, by planning ahead and arriving early, Windsor suggested.

By checking the park website at, those planning to visit can find alternate areas for hiking at the mountain and directions to its Yadkin River Section where there is seldom any parking problem.

When possible, live traffic updates will also be available using the smartphone app “Waze” (, which provides users with real-time updates.

Windsor mentioned that everyone’s patience is appreciated and he hopes they “enjoy the leaves.”

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter

Fall Membership Meeting

posted Oct 26, 2016, 4:47 PM by Administrator Friends of Sauratown Mtns

Our rescheduled Fall Membership Meeting will be Sunday afternoon, October 30th at Pilot Mountain State Park.  We will meet at the Horne Creek trailhead and picnic area in the River Section North off Hauser Road.

Come at 3:30 pm to join Superintendent Matt Windsor for a tour of the immediate area.  Matt will discuss stream restoration of Horne Creek, swamp milkweed planting for a Monarch way station, and thinning of pine forest to restore to natural habitat.

Following the walk both Matt and President Jay Young will give brief updates on the park and FSM activities.

At 5:00 pm we will enjoy food and fellowship.  FSM will provide BBQ, soft drinks and paper products.  We ask our members to bring a side dish or dessert to share.

Please RSVP to by Saturday, October 29th so we will know how much BBQ to purchase.

Hope to see you on the 30th!

Reach the Peaks Volunteers Needed!

posted Aug 1, 2016, 5:13 PM by Administrator Friends of Sauratown Mtns

Reach the Peaks is a great event, connects a lot of people to Hanging Rock, promotes fitness and outdoor recreation, and is a major fundraiser for Friends of the Sauratown Mountains and the Stokes County Arts Council.  We are shooting for 750 participants this year and will need a bunch of enthusiastic FSM volunteers to pull it off. 

To volunteer e-mail or call Dave Cook at or (919)732-0807.

FSM is providing the following volunteers:

·       Friday, September 23

o   Need 3 volunteers to help set up parking lot in the afternoon

o   At 2:00 we need a crew to hike the water bottles up to Cook Wall/Magnolia Springs Trail intersection.  Dave Cook will lead the crew.  More volunteers we have, less trips it will take (like to do it in one trip).  These water bottles are for the runners as they have difficulty carrying water.

·       Saturday, September 24

o   7 AM – 10AM Need 8 people to run the waiver and information table at the parking lot.

o   8:45AM – 11:00AM need two people doing runner water bottle distribution intersection Cook Wall and Magnolia Springs Trails.  Will have to start hiking up their about 8AM.

o   Need 4 pairs of staggered sweepers for hikers and runners watching for problems and communicating them to the parking lot.  Will get to hike the whole route.  Pairs leave at 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, and 10:00.  May volunteer as a pair or we can pair you up.

o   Need 4 people on each peak, total of 20 volunteers to sign runners and hikers in and communicate needs to parking lot.  Stay until final sweeper comes through early to mid-afternoon depending on which peak.  Need to be on the peak:

§  Moore Knob 8:40AM

§  House Rock 8:50AM

§  Cook Wall 9:00AM

§  Wolf Rock 9:20AM

§  Hanging Rock 9:30AM

o   Need 4 volunteers for FSM information booth

§  2 people from 7:30AM – 11:00AM

§  2 people from 11:00AM-2:00PM

o   Need some people to stay afterward to help take down


posted Apr 21, 2016, 5:35 PM by Administrator Friends of Sauratown Mtns

Monarch populations are in trouble, so we are asking local kids to help by becoming a Junior Ranger for the day and help plant milkweed on our newly added property!  Did you know some butterflies have a specific "Host Plant"?  We will be offering kids the opportunity to get their hands dirty and plant some milkweeds for monarchs, explore to find local butterflies that may also be in the area, learn about the monarch life cycle, and why pollinators are so important to us!  Program will be held rain or shine, so dress for the weather!  Meet off Boyd Nelson Road and use 300 Boyd Nelson Road, Pinnacle, NC 27043 for GPS directions.

Date of Event: 
Saturday, April 23, 2016 - 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Start Location: 
Boyd Nelson Road, Pinnacle, NC

Passage of the Connect NC Bond on March 15th is crucial to our two State Parks.

posted Mar 9, 2016, 5:04 AM by Administrator Friends of Sauratown Mtns

Hanging Rock will get funds necessary to repair and renovate Vade Mecum so that it can be opened to the public.

Pilot Mountain will see a much overdue Visitor Center funded along with parking and transportation improvements. Used to be that the park overfilled on peak Autumn weekends. Now even in the Winter, traffic backs up waiting for a parking space to open at the Summit.


Please vote for the bonds on March 15th. And encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Hanging Rock’s lake nominated as a top fishing spot

posted Mar 1, 2016, 3:38 PM by Administrator Friends of Sauratown Mtns

What’s your favorite fishing hole? For some folks in the northwest part of North Carolina, it’s the scenic lake at Hanging Rock State Park, especially since the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission began stocking it with trout last year to join the bass, sunfish and catfish.

haro lakeThe state park is one of five fishing spots nominated by the commission in a national contest to pick the top fishing holes in the nation. Lovers of Hanging Rock State Park’s lake can vote for it and get a chance at prizes including a grand prize – a luxury fishing trip to Walt Disney World. The contest is being sponsored by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and is officially called “America’s Top Family Fishing and Boating Spots Sweepstakes.”

The 12-acre lake at Hanging Rock was created in the 1930s when the Civilian Conservation Corps built a dam on Cascade Creek along with a beautiful stone bathhouse, which provided a swimming spot for the community. In 2013, the park staff completed a new fishing pier. The park rents canoes on the lake in warm weather and picnic grounds are nearby.

All the details on the contest can be found here.

Two Officers - Two Hikes

posted Feb 24, 2016, 4:05 PM by Administrator Friends of Sauratown Mtns

We welcome two new officers to  the FSM Board.  Dave Cook, former Hanging Rock and North District Superintendent, joined the board as your new Vice President following his retirement from State Parks.  Dave replaces Harry Wilson who resigned in December.  Former Secretary Judy Davis is back on an interim basis replacing Kelley Gerstenmier who recently resigned.  We thank both Harry and Kelley for their service.  While the demands of Secretary was difficult for Kelley after moving East of Raleigh, she will serve as Chair of our Education Committee planning field trips to our parks for at risk school children.

You have your choice of two member hikes this weekend, one at Pilot Mountain and one near Hanging Rock.  One short and easy.  One a little longer and more difficult.  You choose which one to do, or do both!

   On Saturday, February 27th at 1:00 pm visit the most intact canal remnants in the state of North Carolina at the Pilot Mountain Bean Shoals Canal Access.  Why do we not have a working canal above the Bean Shoals today?  Come along for this easy 1 mile hike led by Ranger Jesse Anderson and learn why.  This is located in the River Section North off Hauser Road.  Follow the unpaved road to the very end fording Horne Creek three times in the process.

    Sunday, February 28th takes us to one of our business members, Singletree Gun & Plough near Hanging Rock.  Join us at 1:30 pm at the lodge where we will begin our hike led by our hostess and Singletree proprietor Johannah Stern.  She will lead us down to the Dan River passing several interesting features, including a view of Pilot Mountain.  Once at the river we will do one or two loops along the river for either a four mile or a six mile hike.  The group will choose which they wish to do.  Johannah promises that it is all easy hiking except for the mile and a half climb back uphill but we will take our time and the trail is a wide leaf covered logging road.

    Singletree is at the end of a long unpaved drive off Ed Booth Road.  If coming from Danbury, turn onto Moores Springs Road just before entering the park gate and go just about two miles before taking a right onto Ed Booth Road.  At the top of the hill take a right onto Singletree Road.  If coming from NC66, go just past Moores Springs and take a left on Ed Booth Road.  Johannah advises that the drive is showing the strains of winter weather but hopes to have gravel spread this week.  Restrooms are available to us in the lodge but we are requested to leave our shoes or boots on the porch before going into the lodge.

    Please let us know if you will be joining us for either hike or if you have questions.  We hope to see many of you this weekend.

Pilot Mountain State Park seeking Volunteers

posted Feb 4, 2016, 5:38 PM by Administrator Friends of Sauratown Mtns   [ updated Feb 4, 2016, 5:40 PM ]


Volunteering as a Campground Host is an opportunity to become involved in the management of a NC State Park area. Campground hosts will be allowed to stay in the campground and use the park’s facilities free of charge, full RV hookups are provided. Hosts are asked to serve for at least one month.

  • Register family campers, which involves filling out a permit and collecting payment.
  • Provide information on the park and rules to campers.
  • Clean campsites by removing grill ashes and blowing off driveways as needed. 
  • Be present in the campground between closing and opening hours for camper assistance, except for days off.

Contact Dylan Joyce at or 336-325-2355 for more information.

Piedmont Land Conservancy partners in largest addition to Pilot Mountain State Park in 30 years

posted Jan 4, 2016, 12:16 PM by Administrator Friends of Sauratown Mtns

  • PLC has facilitated the addition of 70 acres along the northern border of Pilot Mountain State Park.
  • Funding provided by the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund and state Clean Water Management Trust Fund.
  • Acquisition will allow for greater access to the Park.


Piedmont Land Conservancy has helped facilitate the largest land addition to Pilot Mountain State Park in over 30 years. The 70 acre expansion will protect the Pilot Creek watershed, create a new hiking trailhead and provide other benefits to the popular park, which features miles of trails, camping, climbing and views of the iconic Pilot Mountain knob, rising over 2,000 feet into the Piedmont sky.

Matt Windsor, superintendent of Pilot Mountain State Park, says, “We are so very glad that this has worked out for Pilot Mountain State Park. Having this piece of land become a part of the park will mean that we can better protect the watershed of Pilot Creek, establish a new park trailhead access for the public, and hopefully link up with a planned greenway in the Town of Pilot Mountain in the not too distant future. Hikers on the Mountains-To-Sea Trail would then be able to travel all the way from the Yadkin River to downtown Pilot Mountain without ever leaving the trail. ”

In addition, Windsor says the park has received a commitment from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for milkweed plants, allowing the creation of a Monarch Butterfly waystation in the expanded area.

Piedmont Land Conservancy received a grant from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund to assist with the purchase.  The remaining funds were provided by the State Parks via the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a program that applies revenue from off-shore oil drilling leases and assists with conservation of our nation’s most special places.  LWCF had previously expired in September after a 50 year history.  The federal spending package recently passed included reauthorization of LWCF for three years and an increase in funding for the first year.  Senator Richard Burr sponsored legislation calling for the reauthorization of LWCF.

Kevin Redding, executive director of Piedmont Land Conservancy, adds, “A project like this is a perfect, local example of why the LWCF and the Clean Water Management Trust Fund are so important to our region’s quality of life”.

Piedmont Land Conservancy has previously completed land protection projects with Hanging Rock State Park, Haw River State Park, and Mayo River State Park. Over its 25 year history Piedmont Land Conservancy has protected over 200 special places, totaling over 22,000 acres.

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