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The Pilot Knob at Pilot Mountain State Park. Photo by R. Hill.
Parking Areas Have Limited Capacity   

PARKING
If you arrive and a parking lot is full, that area is closed to further traffic. Waiting in line is not permitted.  Parking on road shoulders is prohibited.  To avoid crowds, please plan your visit on a weekday.
If the road to the summit is closed to uphill traffic, you may park at the new visitor center or visit another park access area.  Learn more information about parking areas and alternate locations nearby that you can visit when the park is full »

SHUTTLE 
March-November on weekends and holidays you may only drive the road to the summit until the upper lot is full.  Once the lot has filled the road is closed to uphill visitor traffic. A shuttle service will be on-site to transport visitors to the summit lot and back. Shuttle tickets are sold in front of the visitor center at the shuttle stop. Limited tickets are available. Masks are required to ride the shuttle.  https://ncparks.gov/pilot-mountain-state-park/home#notices 

VISITOR CENTER
The visitor center gift shop and exhibit hall are open. Restrooms are open at the new visitor center in the breezeway and at the summit parking lot.

CAMPGROUND
Family Campground season is March 15th-November 30th. Reservations may be made by calling Reserve America at 1-877-722-6762 during call center hours or online through Reserve America until 9 pm on the day of arrival.  There are no walk-up sales. Please visit the Camping page to learn about the check-in procedures »

 

 Last updated on: Friday, June 4, 2021


Map of North Carolina – Pilot Mountain State Park


Contact the park
 

336-444-5100

pilot.mountain@ncparks.gov
 

Addresses
 

Mountain section
and visitor center

1792 Pilot Knob Park Road
Pinnacle, NC 27043

GPS: 36.3412, -80.4629

 

Pinnacle Hotel Road/
Culler Road parking

134 Culler Road
Pinnacle, NC 27043

GPS: 36.3280, -80.4631

 

Hauser Road parking

622 Hauser Road
Pinnacle, NC 27043

GPS: 36.2675, -80.4958

 

Pilot Creek access

382 Boyd Nelson Road
Pinnacle, NC 27043

GPS: 36.3587, -80.4933

 

Bean Shoals access*

103 Yadkin River Park Trail
Pinnacle, NC 27043

GPS: 36.2647, -80.4878
*Entering this access requires crossing three shallow streams. Visitors may become stranded after rain.

 

Ivy Bluff access

4240 Shoals Road
East Bend, NC 27018

GPS: 36.2537, -80.5087

 

Shoals fishing area
and paddle access

4454 Shoals Road
East Bend, NC 27018

GPS: 36.2574, -80.5171
 

Hours
 

► 

  • December to February:
    8:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • March 1 to March 14:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • March 15 to April:
    7:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • May to September:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • October:
    7:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • November:
    7:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

► 

  • November to February:
    8:30am to 5:00pm
     
  • March to April:
    8:30am to 7:00pm
     
  • May to September:
    8:30am to 8:00pm
     
  • October:
    8:30am to 7:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

► 

  • March to April:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • May to September:
    7:00am to 10:00pm
     
  • October:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • November:
    7:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     
  • Gates are locked promptly at closing. There is no gate entry before or after hours, except in the case of a medical or law enforcement emergency. No vehicles other than those registered to campers may be left in the park overnight.
     

► 

  • October to February:

​Open daily:
8:00am to 4:00pm
 

  • March to September:

Open daily:
9:00am to 5:00pm
 

  • Closed Christmas Day
     

 

 

 

Things to do


Hiking
 

The park is a great place for a hike! Cliffs and crevices and ravens and rhododendron are only a small part of the scenery to be discovered. See the Trails page for more information.

Little Pinnacle Overlook offers hikers a close-up view of Big Pinnacle and distant views of the valley below. The river section allows hikers to enjoy the Yadkin River area on foot. A six-mile woodland corridor connects the two sections of the park.

Pilot Mountain State Park does not have any wheelchair-accessible trails. Visitors with strollers, wheelchairs, or limited mobility can utilize the wheelchair-accessible overlook at the summit parking area. The park's picnic area has an accessible path, and accessible parking is provided at the summit and at the visitor center.
 


Bicycling
 

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 percent grade for 2.5 miles and has sections of 16 percent grade. 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.
 


Horseback riding
 

The Corridor Trail, Yadkin Islands Trail, and Yadkin River Park Trail are all open to horseback riding. Horse trailers are permitted at the Hauser Road parking area and at the Pinnacle Hotel Road/Culler Road parking area.

All visitors with horses must be able to provide proof of a negative equine infectious anemia (Coggins) test.

There are no horse rentals at the park.

Please do not use the bridle trails when they are closed. When bridle trails are closed for construction, poor trail conditions due to weather or any other reason, they are closed both for visitor safety AND for the protection of the trail and natural resources. Disregarding trail closures results in delaying or prolonging construction or repair; damaging the trails, resulting in significant costs and further closure time for additional repair; and endangering yourself, in addition to both state park and EMS staff who would work to get you out of harm's way if you are lost or hurt.

Our Rules page has more information on our bridle trail closure policy.
 


Paddling
 

Paddle the Yadkin River through the park on a segment of the Yadkin River State Trail ». The 165-mile paddling trail follows the course of the river, passing through five reservoirs to the confluence of the Yadkin and Uwharrie rivers.

There are 38 paddle access sites along the trail. Shoals access is half a mile upstream from the Yadkin Islands. Parts of the river are also suitable for rafting at times. Contact the visitor center for more information.

There are no canoe or kayak rentals at the park.

The 2-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 hang over the water and sycamores dot the riverbanks. 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 or by canoe.

The river flows past Bean Shoals Canal Wall, part of an ambitious project undertaken between 1820 and 1825 to build a 3-mile canal around Bean Shoals. The project was abandoned before completion. View these historic walls along the Bean Shoals Canal Trail.

Get river flow information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ».
 


Fishing
 

Cast your line from the river banks and reel in dinner. Smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and catfish are waiting to be caught! Anglers need a state fishing license and must obey the regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

NCWRC links:  Fishing licenses »  |  Regulations »  |  Access map »
 


Picnicking
 

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 path to the picnic area is wheelchair accessible.

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, and we cannot guarantee the availability of this shelter. This shelter has grills and drinking water. There are also picnic tables in a shaded area adjacent to the shelter.
 


Rock climbing
 

 Important information 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 visitor center 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 while engaged in climbing or rappelling.

Organized and commercial climbing groups are required to apply for a Special Activity Permit prior to the day of the climb. You can download a Special Activity permit application or obtain one from the park office. Permit fee must be paid prior to approval. Climbing groups are limited to 14 people per permit.

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 times.

Climbing route closures: "Unnamed/P.Break" climbing route in the amphitheater is 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 Spring 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.

For more information about routes, please visit the Mountain Project guide »
 


Weather and other visitor information
 

Visit the park home page for a weather widget showing current conditions at the park.

Pilot Mountain State Park is at capacity most weekends. Read our Weekends at Pilot Mountain State Park information sheet to learn about parking procedures and shuttle operations on weekends and holidays.

For visitors whose primary goal is a scenic drive, we recommend utilizing the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, managed by the National Park Service, especially during the fall leaf season, to avoid crowded overlooks and waiting for parking and for the shuttle. 

Our Area Information page has information about park accesses, as well as nearby attractions, to assist in planning your visit.