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The Pilot Knob at Pilot Mountain State Park. Photo by R. Hill.
Parking Lot Closure (Pilot Creek)   

The Bean Shoals and Ivy Bluff parking lots are now open following the maintenance closure; the Pilot Creek will open the morning of Saturday, October 23rd. Please do not park in front of gates.

 Last updated on: Friday, October 22, 2021

Parking Areas Have Limited Capacity   

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 »

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. 

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. Given the continued threat of COVID-19 and variants of the virus, face masks are required for indoor areas of Pilot Mountain State Park.

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 8 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, October 15, 2021

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
*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



  • 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




History highlights

Geological history

Like the rocky escarpment in nearby Hanging Rock State Park, Pilot Mountain is a remnant of the ancient Sauratown Mountains. A quartzite monadnock, this rugged mountain rock has survived for millions of years, while the elements have eroded surrounding peaks to a rolling plain.

Pilot Mountain is capped by two prominent pinnacles. Big Pinnacle, with walls of bare rock and a rounded top covered by vegetation, rises 1,400 feet above the valley floor, the knob jutting skyward more than 200 feet from its base. Big Pinnacle is connected to Little Pinnacle by a narrow saddle. Visitors have easy access to the top of Little Pinnacle, where the view encompasses hundreds of square miles of the Piedmont and the nearby mountains of North Carolina and Virginia.


Prehistoric life in the Yadkin River Valley

The rich natural resources of the Yadkin River Valley have drawn people to the region around Pilot Mountain for at least 12,000 years. The first people to arrive in the Yadkin Valley, the Paleoindians, were nomadic people who left no trace of campsites or villages, but their stone spear points and tools have been found throughout the Yadkin Valley. Starting around 3,000 years ago, small villages developed in the Yadkin Valley as Native Americans began to raise crops to supplement their food supplies.


The Saura

About 400 years ago, members of the Saura tribe moved to the area from western North Carolina and established two villages known as Upper and Lower Sauratown, east of Pilot Mountain. In 1669, German physician and explorer John Lederer visited and documented the Saura settlements, and European traders soon followed. The traders spread diseases that caused devastating epidemics among the indigenous population across the state. By 1710, the surviving Saura abandoned their villages and moved south. They settled on the Pee Dee River in South Carolina, and eventually merged with the Keyauwee and other Siouan-speaking people of the Catawba Nation.


The Moravians

In 1753, members of the Moravian Church began settling in the Yadkin Valley on a large parcel of land called the Wachovia Tract. They traveled here on the Great Wagon Road — a major trading route that ran from Pennsylvania to South Carolina. The diaries of the Moravians noted seeing Pilot Mountain as they crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains into the Yadkin Valley.

The first Moravian settlement, named Bethabara, was founded in 1753. It was followed by Bethania in 1759 and Salem in 1766. In 1849, they sold land from the Wachovia Tract for a new county seat, and a small town named Winston was founded there in 1851. The towns of Salem and Winston were incorporated together and officially named Winston-Salem in 1913.


Early 1900s

Learn about rural life in the past by visiting Horne Creek Living Historical Farm ». This state historic site is adjacent to the Yadkin River section of the park. Restored to appear as it did in 1900, the farm is an educational center dedicated to preserving North Carolina's rural heritage. Special tours and educational programs may be arranged throughout the year by calling 336-325-2298.


Birth of a park

Pilot Mountain became North Carolina's 14th state park in 1968, due in large part to the efforts of a group of local citizens. Prior to that time, the mountain was a commercial tourist attraction. The Pilot Mountain Preservation and Park Committee proposed the establishment of Pilot Mountain as a state park in order to protect it and the surrounding area from further commercial development. Working with the conservation-minded owner of the property, Mrs. J.W. Beasley, the group secured options on the land and raised matching funds that made it possible to purchase the land with federal grants. In further support of the park, the committee acquired more than 1,000 acres of land along the Yadkin River that was added to the park in 1970. Additional acreage was later acquired, bringing the park to its present size of 3,703 acres. Today, Pilot Mountain stands as a monument to the desire and concern of a citizenry dedicated the preserving the natural resources of North Carolina.