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Fees/FAQs/Permits

The Pilot Knob at Pilot Mountain State Park. Photo by R. Hill.
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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
     

 

 

 

Additional information


Fees
 

There are no entrance fees to enjoy the park.
 


FAQs: Park shuttle
 

► Why do we run a shuttle?

The visitation at Pilot Mountain State Park has surged from 400,000 visitors a year to over 1 million visitors a year in the last 10 years.

 

► Will the shuttle program continue forever?

This is a three-year pilot program that started in August 2020. The program will be reviewed regularly to determine its long-term feasibility. The shuttle program was developed using similar programs at other crowded mountain parks with one-way roads, such as Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (managed by the National Park Service), the Brasstown Bald Recreation Area in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests (managed by the U.S. Forest Service), and Hungry Mother State Park in Virginia. 

 

► Why can't you let cars up if the lot has some spaces?

The fairest and safest way to operate the roadway is to manage access by all visitors with the same process.

During peak times of day, more than 300 cars enter the park every hour. There are 90 spaces at the summit. The average visitor stay is 1.5 hours, and this rate fills the summit lot in around 30 minutes. This amount of vehicle traffic can make it unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists who also use the roadways. With the addition of a visitor center and increased traffic with Interstate 74, we expect visitation to increase.

We realize many visitors only want a quick scenic drive. If this is your plan, you can visit outside the shuttle times or visit during the week, when there are no vehicle restrictions. There are many low-traffic roads around the mountain with scenic views and photo opportunities. You can also visit the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway (managed by the National Park Service), a scenic 400+ mile motor road and national park. It is best accessed by taking U.S. 52 north 25 miles to Fancy Gap, Va.

 

► What does crowding at the top have to do with protecting the natural resources?

The summit area of Pilot Mountain was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in the early 1970s. Since then, visitation has steadily increased. The steady foot traffic in the park takes a toll on the plants and wildlife that live atop of the mountain on thin, acidic soil that is slow to recover from trampling. This is why we ask visitors to stay on the trails at the summit, besides the obvious hazards of wandering near cliffs. This also limits what visitor facilities can be built at the top of the mountain, including septic systems to support public restrooms.

 

► Why do I have to pay?

The shuttle is run by a private contractor (SP+ of Winston-Salem/Charlotte) and is priced at the lowest possible market rate. After bids were solicited, the state parks team picked the contractor with the most reasonable rate for the public. The shuttle service does return 10 percent of its profits to the state parks system. These funds do not go specifically to Pilot Mountain State Park but benefit the state parks system's overall needs and pays for temporary employees' salaries. While Pilot Mountain's operating budget has not grown since before the 2008 recession, facilities and visitation have grown leaps and bounds.

 


Rules and facilities information
 

In addition to park-specific rules, please read the systemwide Park Rules for all North Carolina State Parks.

 

► Fishing

Anglers need a state fishing license and must obey the regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

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

 

► Climbing

The following state park climbing regulations apply at all times:

  • All climbers must register with the park staff and must keep in their possession a valid rock climbing and rappelling permit.
  • NC state parks do not install or maintain any climbing route or fixed anchors. New routes are not permitted.
  • Climbers climb at their own risk and are responsible for obtaining proper equipment and training. Unroped climbing is discouraged.
  • Route selection and the decision to rely on any fixed anchors are the climber's responsibility.
  • Climbing activities are permitted in designated areas only and must coincide with the park's posted hours of operation.
  • All accidents and injuries must be reported to park staff.

Note: All climbers and rappellers must schedule their activity in order to leave the park by the posted closing hour.

All commercial or organized/affiliated climbing groups must register with the park in advance via the Special Activity Permit. Commercial and climbing groups must pay a $45 fee for the permit.

 

► Equestrian Trail Closure Policy

  • Closing of Pilot Mountain State Park bridle trails will be considered when it rains a minimum of 0.5 inch in 24 hours.
  • Trail conditions will be inspected by park staff on the day of the closure.
  • Once the trail conditions have been confirmed to not be suitable for riding, all horse trails, including the Corridor Trail and river section bridle trails will be closed to bridle use for a minimum of 3 days.
  • After 3 days with no significant additional rain or precipitation, park staff will verify trail conditions for potential opening or continued closing.
  • Trail closure status will be posted under "alerts" on the state park website and updated only when the status has changed. The phone number to call for trail closure information is 336-444-5100.
  • Riding on wet trails creates low spots that hold water and widens the trail resulting in extensive damage. Keeping the trails closed when wet will allow the trails to recover and prevent further damage. Significant investment has been made in maintaining park bridle trails and these closures are made to preserve this resource for your continued enjoyment.
  • Partnering with community support through trail reconstruction projects and ongoing trail maintenance, Pilot Mountain State Park's long term goal is to create sustainable, all-weather trails that are open year-round. If you are interested in volunteering to maintain the recreational resource you enjoy, email pilot.mountain@ncparks.gov or call 336-444-5100.

 


Permits
 

► Research and collection permits

A permit is required for any project involving the collection, removal or disturbance of any natural or cultural resource of any state park unit and for projects that require placing monitoring equipment in any state park unit. Learn more about research and collection permits or fill out a permit application online.

 

► Events and special activities

Hosting some events — such as weddings, athletic contests, company parties, etc. — may require a Special Activity Permit. If you are unsure whether such a permit is necessary for your event, please contact the park office beforehand.

Permit fees are listed in the table below. Please note that additional expenses incurred by the park may be charged in addition to the permit fee. A $25 fee will be charged for all returned checks.

 

 Download a Special Activity Permit application »

 

Special Activity Permit type

Permit fee

Special use

$45

Non-corporate event
attendance of 60 or less

$70

Non-corporate event
attendance of more than 60

$130

Corporate event
attendance of 100 or less

$115

Corporate event
attendance of more than 100

$225

Commercial event (nonprofit)

$115

Commercial event (for-profit)

$225

Commercial, organized or affiliated
climbing group permit

$45