The park is a great place for a hike! See the Trails page for more information.
Paddle the Yadkin River through the park on a segment of the Yadkin River Canoe Trail. The 165-mile trail follows the course of the river, passing through five reservoirs to the confluence of the Yadkin and Uwharrie rivers.
There are 38 canoe access sites along the trail. Shoals Access Site is a half mile upstream from the Yadkin Islands. Parts of the river are also suitable for rafting at times. Contact the park office for more information. Canoe rentals not available.
The two-mile portion of the Yadkin River that flows through the park is one of the most scenic stretches along the river's course. Enormous river birches overhang the water and sycamores dot the river banks. Here, the river is broad and shallow with many ripples. Two small islands, 45 and 15 acres in size, lie in the river. The islands may be reached by wading on foot, by horseback or by canoe.
The river flows past Bean Shoals Canal Wall, part of an ambitious project undertaken between 1820 and 1825 to build a three-mile canal around Bean Shoals. The project was abandoned before completion. View these historic walls along Canal Trail.
Get river flow information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website.
The main park road is popular for hill climbing by bicycle. This should only be attempted by experienced cyclists wearing proper safety equipment. The road averages a 10% grade for 2.5 miles and has sections of 16% grades. It is recommended that cyclists plan their ride for the early morning hours when there is less vehicle traffic. Use caution on the descent and be advised that bicycles are subject to the same regulations pertaining to motor vehicles including exceeding safe speed and improper passing. There are no mountain bike trails in the park.
Cast your line from the river banks and reel in dinner. Sunfish, crappie and catfish are waiting to be caught! Anglers need a state fishing license and must obey the regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
IMPORTANT: read the FAQS and Rules about climbing in the park.
Rock climbing and rappelling are favorite activities at Pilot Mountain where rocky cliffs offer a challenge to experienced climbers. Climbing is permitted only in designated areas; climbing and rappelling are not permitted on the Big Pinnacle. Contact the park office for further information.
All climbers must register with the park by completing a climbing and rappelling registration and activity permit which is available at the kiosk in the far righthand side of the Summit parking lot. There is no fee for this permit. Prior to activity, a copy of the permit must be deposited in the registration box or given to a park ranger. An additional copy is provided for participants and must be held in their possession which engaged in climbing or rappelling.
Organized and commercial climbing groups are required to apply for a Special Activity Permit ($35.00) per date, prior to the day of the climb. You can download a Special Activity permit application or obtain one from the park office. The $35.00 permit fee must be paid prior to approval.
Participants are responsible for their own personal safety, including securing proper training and equipment, and adhering to safe practices. Basic rock climbing safety equipment and techniques must be used at all time.
Climbing route closures: "Unnamed/P.Break" climbing route in the amphitheater has been permanently closed due to visitor use conflicts. The "Big Gully" is closed to all use (CLIMBING, HIKING, RAPPELLING, ETC.) for natural resource protection. This closure does not affect adjacent routes.
Climbers and Hikers are reminded that this area can become congested. Do not block the Ledge Springs trail with your gear, rope, dogs, or group. Pets must be attended (not tied off on a tree and left alone) and leashed while in the climbing area.
Two picnic areas at Pilot Mountain offer a choice of shady dining spots. The picnic area in the Pilot Mountain section is located near the summit parking lot. Picnic tables and grills are surrounded by a pine and hardwood forest. Drinking water and restrooms are located nearby.
The picnic ground at the Yadkin River section of the park is approximately a mile from the shore of the river in a meadow along Horne Creek. Tables, grills, and waterless toilets are provided.
A covered picnic shelter is available at the summit. This shelter is not available for reservation due to the wait in line to get a parking space at the summit on weekends. We cannot guarantee the availability of this shelter unless you arrive early. This shelter has grills and drinking water. There are also picnic tables in a shaded area adjacent to the shelter.
Check weather conditions before you visit the park:
Pilot Mountain State Park
The Mountain Section:
March 15 to November 30 : Opens at 7am. Closes at Sunset.
December to February : Opens at 8am. Closes at 6pm.
Campers only may enter the mountain section until the following times:
March,April, October- 9pm
Yadkin River Section:
November to February: 8:30am - 5pm
March, April: 8:30am - 7pm
May, June, July, August, September: 8:30am - 8pm
October: 8:30am - 7pm
Please note the North and South River Sections are 10 and 20 miles from the mountain section of the park and have different operating hours. Gates are locked promptly at closing. There is no gate entry before or after hours, including campgrounds, except in case of medical or law enforcement emergency. No vehicles other than those registered to campers may be left in the park overnight.
8am - 4:30pm 7 days a week
The park is closed Christmas Day