If you’re looking for the ultimate recreational challenge, look no further than Hanging Rock State Park and the 4th annual “Reach the Peaks” hiking/trail running challenge scheduled for Saturday, September 24.
Reach the Peaks, offering a strenuous 10+ mile route, will challenge participants to summit the five major peaks of Hanging Rock State Park, including Moore’s Knob, House Rock, Cook’s Wall, Wolf Rock, and Hanging Rock, all in one day. Organized by the Stokes County Arts Council and Friends of the Sauratown Mountains, for the second year this event will offer two participant options, trail running and hiking. The event will begin at the Visitor’s Center Parking lot with day of check in/registration taking place for trail runners beginning at 7:30am and for hikers from 8:30am to 10:00am. The trail run will begin promptly at 8:30am, with the hiking portion beginning with a staggered start from 9am to 10:00am.
“This trail challenge is as unique as the Sauratown Mountain range. There is just something special about it,” stated park superintendent Robin Riddlebarger. “The greatest thing about this hike is the positive spirit on the trail. It is not easy for anyone to hike ten miles up five mountain peaks. But the camaraderie and attitude of everyone encouraging each other is awesome and contagious. Hikers will want to keep going, to conquer the next ascent, find inspiration in the scenery, and to challenge themselves” said Riddlebarger.
During the 2015 challenge, almost 400 people completed the challenge in some of the wettest, foggiest, coldest, most miserable conditions, but still waltzed through to the finish line smiling. This year the committee has decided to plan big and prepare for up to 750 participants, limiting the challenge to the first 600 hikers and 150 trail runners.
Those in attendance will receive an event t-shirt, bandana, post-hike meal, and trail comfort/hospitality. Reach the Peaks is not a race, but a timer will be displayed for participants interested in recording their time. All participants will be provided an event card to be checked after reaching the summit of each of the peaks. Those who summit all five peaks and complete the hike will receive a specially created “I Conquered Reach the Peaks” embroidered patch.
Triad Outdoor Painters Association will also be present during the event, capturing the parks landmarks and vistas on canvas, which will be displayed and on sale at the Reach the Peaks Gallery reception in the Visitors Center on Sunday, October 9 from 2pm to 4pm.
Peak Sponsors for the 2016 Reach the Peaks include Flow Subaru, VF Corporation, Employee Benefit Advisors, Dan River Company, Farm to Feet, and Great Outdoor Provision Company. Trail sponsors include Singletree Gun & Plough, George Farmhouse, Danbury General Store, Luna’s Trail & Farm, Froggy Waters Outdoors, Newberry Manor, Beautiful Earth, Moore’s Springs Manor, Carolina Ziplines, Carroll Signs, Village Outdoors, Green Heron Ale House and Leonard Turf & Landscape.
Hanging Rock State Park is the 2012 North Carolina State Park of the Year with over 8,000 acres of hiking trails, waterfalls, lake/beach/bathhouse, campground/cabins, visitor’s center, and Dan River access.
For more information call 336 593-8159.
Eddy McGee, Executive Director
Stokes County Arts Council