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The pinnacle at Pilot Mountain State Park

WEEKEND/HOLIDAY SHUTTLE IN USE THRU END OF NOVEMBER DUE TO LIMITED PARKING AND RECORD VISITATION                                                                                                               
Saturday 11/21 - Sunday 11/22
SP+ Shuttle will begin at 9:00 am with uphill runs ending at 4:00 pm and downhill runs ending at 5:30 pm.   
Thursday 11/26 SP+ shuttle is scheduled to begin at 9:00 am and end at 4:00 pm.
Friday 11/27-Sunday 11/29 SP+ Shuttle is scheduled to begin at 9:00 am with uphill runs ending at 4:00 pm and downhill runs ending at 5:30 pm.                                                                   
The shuttle has a capacity of 22 people with one wheelchair lift. Passengers will be asked to wear masks and the vehicle will be disinfected after each trip. If visitors want to order tickets in advance, they may do so at or they can order on-site at shuttle in front of visitor center via credit card or the app. No cash transactions. Ordering tickets in advance guarantees a ride, not a specific time. The fare is $5.00 for adults, kids 13 and under ride free. The fare for a one-way trip down is $2.50 (if seats are available). 

THE ROAD TO THE SUMMIT (UPPER) PARKING LOT IS OPEN TO VISITOR TRAFFIC EVERY WEEKDAY DURING POSTED PARK HOURS (UNLESS THE PARKING LOT REACHES CAPACITY). OPEN PARKING AREAS HAVE LIMITED CAPACITY.  PARKING ON ROAD SHOULDERS IS PROHIBITED. IF YOU ARRIVE AND A PARKING LOT IS FULL, CONSIDER THAT AREA CLOSED.  WHEN PARKING LOTS FILL THERE WILL BE NO WAITING IN LINE TO GET IN.  When the road is closed all downhill traffic can leave freely, but no more uphill visitor traffic will occur past the new visitor center.  Visitors who arrive when the road to the summit is closed will have the option of either purchasing a shuttle ticket if seats are available and riding from the new visitor center (on weekends and holidays March-November), parking at the new visitor center to hike or visiting one of the other park accesses.

Mountain Section

Visitor Center parking – 200 cars – (Grindstone Trail, Grassy Ridge Trail, Mountain Trail)
Old Park Office parking  – 30 cars – (Grindstone Trail, Mountain Trail)
Summit (upper) parking  –  90 cars – (Jomeokee Trail, overlooks, Ledge Springs Trail)
Use the following lots to skip the crowds, take a longer hike, or visit the Yadkin River
Pinnacle Hotel Road – 50 cars  134 Culler Road, Pinnacle NC – (Access to the Mountain Trail and Corridor Trail, and Grassy Ridge Trail)
Pilot Creek Trailhead – 15 cars  382 Boyd Nelson Road, Pinnacle NC – (Access to the Pilot Creek Trail)
Bean Shoals/Hauser Road – 40 cars  622 Hauser Road, Pinnacle NC – (Access to the southern Corridor Trail, Horne Creek Trail, Canal Trail)
Ivy Bluffs Trailhead – 20 cars  4240 Shoals Road, East Bend, NC – (Access to the Ivy Bluffs Trail)
Ivy Bluffs canoe launch – 10 cars  4454 Shoals Road, East Bend NC – (Access to the Yadkin River paddle trail)

Under COVID phase 3.0 the new visitor center gift shop and exhibit hall are open 8am-4pm  with a max capacity of 25 people. Bathrooms are open and available at the new visitor center in the breezeway and at the summit parking lot.

Campground is currenlty closed due to lightning damage to the sewer system. Campground season is March 15th-November 30th. 

Face coverings are required to be worn when in public places, indoors or outdoors, where physical distancing of 6 feet from other people who aren’t in the same household or residence isn’t possible, unless an exception applies. Face coverings are required to utilize the shuttle, visit the gift shop or visitor center exhibit hall.
Please note that this alert is updated only when something changes. Generally, state parks are following the phased reopening statewide.

 Last updated on: Saturday, November 21, 2020

Map of North Carolina – Pilot Mountain State Park

Contact the park



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


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



  • 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


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.


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.


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 ».


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 »


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 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.

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.