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The pinnacle at Pilot Mountain State Park
Home >> Pilot Mountain State Park >> Fees/Permits/Rules

1792 Pilot Knob Park Road
Pinnacle, NC 27043



Map of North Carolina

GPS: 36.341276, -80.462930


  • December to February:
    8:00am to 6:00pm
  • March 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

*PLEASE NOTE: Gates are locked promptly at closing. There is no gate entry before or after hours, including campgrounds, 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.

  • 8:00am to 4:30pm – daily
  • Closed Christmas Day



As part of a erosion control effort and to reduce visitor use conflicts, the upper part of the Grindstone Trail below the summit parking lot has been rerouted, effective immediately. 

Hikers- The new Grindstone trail starts next to the picnic area, then leads downhill 1 mile to the Ledge Springs Trail.  The blazes remain blue and the total trail distance is still 3 miles one way ending at the park office.  It remains a better hike to start the Grindstone Trail from the park office.  The Ledge Springs trail is now only the lower trail below the cliff line, it does not parallel the Grindstone at any point.

Climbers- The approach to the routes has changed. Temporary signage is in place while permanent signage has been ordered.

For top rope access to Chickenbone/Parking lot area: The access remains the same (the climber gate just below the registration kiosk). To access the bottom of the cliff, follow the Jomeokee trail (behind bathroom) to its first right hand turn to walk to the bottom of Chickenbone.

For all other routes and areas: Use the new grindstone trail adjacent to the new picnic area. Follow the blue blazed Grindstone Trail downhill to the new shortcut trail to 3 Bears Gully.  Access all routes uphill of 3 Bears - such as the Big Arete, Amphitheatre, Black Rain etc. by walking uphill from the midway point of 3 Bears Gully. 

A map of the new trail route is linked here:

Also  linked from the front page of our website as the climbing map

 Last updated on: Sunday, January 12, 2020


Due to disturbance caused by foot traffic from photography, photo shoots, and their clients; the grassy fields at the Summit Parking Area and around the Summit Area will be CLOSED to allow the area to regrow to prevent future erosion and protect rare, uncommon plant species. Please stay on marked paths and trails at the summit.

 Last updated on: Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Additional information

There are no entrance fees to enjoy the park. In addition to park-specific rules, please read the systemwide Park Rules for all North Carolina State Parks.


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


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 $35 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" 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, grassy ridge 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 336-325-2355.
  • Riding on wet trails creates low spots which 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. A 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 or call 336-325-2355.


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


Special Activity Permit type

Permit fee

Special use


Non-corporate event
attendance of 60 or less


Non-corporate event
attendance of more than 60


Corporate event
attendance of 100 or less


Corporate event
attendance of more than 100


Commercial event (nonprofit)


Commercial event (for-profit)


Commercial, organized or affiliated
climbing group permit