Shop Reservations Newsroom

GO TO PARK

Trails

The pinnacle at Pilot Mountain State Park
** FACILITIES AND PARKING ARE LIMITED. SHUTTLE IN USE WEEKENDS AND HOLIDAYS. **   

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.

WEEKEND/HOLIDAY SHUTTLE IN USE DUE TO LIMITED PARKING AND RECORD VISITATION: 
March-October the shuttle will run10:00am to 6:00pm every Saturday, Sunday, and state holiday.  March-October at 6:00 pm the road to the summit will reopen for uphill traffic (until the parking lot reaches capacity). 
Beginning November 1st the shuttle will run 9:00am to 4:00pm for uphill travel (if seats are available) and downhill runs will continue 4:15 until 5:15 (if seats are available) every Saturday, Sunday and state holiday. For the safety of visitors and staff there will be no uphill visitor traffic on weekends and holidays after 9am in November.

All downhill traffic can leave freely, but no more incoming vehicle traffic will occur past the new visitor center when the road is closed to uphill traffic. Visitors who arrive when the road to the summit is closed will have the option of either riding the shuttle (weekends and holidays) from the new visitor center, parking at the new visitor center and hiking the trails up, or visiting one of the other park accesses.
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 https://promo.parking.com/charlotte-pilot-mountain-shuttle/ or they can order on-site at shuttle in front of visitor center via credit card or the Parking.com app. No cash transactions. Ordering tickets in advance guarantees a ride, not a specific timeThe 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). 

PARKING:
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 if you want to skip the crowds and 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)

RESTROOMS, VISITOR CENTER: Under COVID phase 3.0 the new visitor center gift shop and exhibit hall are open with a max capacity of 25 people. Bathrooms are open and available.

CAMPGROUND: Campground is closed due to lightning damage to the sewer system.

FACE COVERINGS: 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: Tuesday, October 27, 2020


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

 

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.
     

► 

  • Open daily:
    9:00am to 5:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

 

 

 

List of trails

Journey on foot, on horseback or in a canoe. No matter what your mode of travel, Pilot Mountain has miles of trails to explore. Little Pinnacle Overlook offers hikers a close-up view of Big Pinnacle and distant views of the valley below. Equestrians and hikers alike will relish the trails through the six-mile woodland corridor that connects the two sections of the park. Cliffs and crevices, ravens, and rhododendron are only a small part of the scenery to be discovered. For more information about the trails, see the park map. All visitors with horses must be able to provide proof of a negative equine infectious anemia (Coggins) test while visiting North Carolina State Parks. Horse rentals not available.

See the Equestrian Trails Closure Policy.

 


Mountain section: Sassafras Trail (Kids TRACK Trail)
Location: Upper summit parking area

Description:

This trail offers scenic views of Pilot Mountain's Big Pinnacle and vistas of the surrounding mountains, leading hikers through a unique fire-adapted forest ecosystem. The trail is 0.3 miles one way.

The trail has a natural surface with rocks and roots. Trailhead is located to the left of the summit restroom.

Kids in Parks is a nationwide network of family-friendly outdoor adventures called TRACK Trails. Each TRACK Trail features self-guided brochures and signs that turn your visit into a fun and exciting outdoors experience. Learn more about TRACK Trails on the Kids in Parks website »


Surface: natural surface

Length:
0.30 miles
one way
Difficulty:
moderate hike
Blaze:
none

Mountains-to-Sea State Trail
Location: Mountain and river section

Description:

The Mountains-to-Sea State Trail passes through the park on the Corridor, Mountain and Grindstone Trails. The trail enters the park on the southern end of the Corridor Trail from the west and exits the park to the east.

For more information, please visit the NC Trails website.

 


Surface: natural surface

Length:

Difficulty:
Blaze:
white circles



Pilot Creek access: Pilot Creek Trail
Location: Pilot Creek access

Description:

This trail starts at Boyd Nelson Road and ends at the family campground, for a total of 3.3 miles one way. You can connect to the Grindstone Trail then Mountain Trail to make a long loop around the mountain, or take the Grindstone Trail to the summit. The trail crosses tributaries of Pilot Creek and ascends through pine-oak/heath forest to the campground.

This trail was built by the Friends of Sauratown Mountains », at no cost to the park. The trail has a natural surface with rocks and roots, as well as creek crossings.


Surface: natural surface, water crossings

Length:
3.30 miles
one way
Difficulty:
moderate hike
Blaze:
orange circles

Yadkin Islands Trail
Location: River section - Bean Shoals access

Description:

This trail begins at the Hauser Road parking lot and ends at the Yadkin River. You may cross the river at your own risk to explore the islands in the river, which are unmarked/unblazed.

Do not attempt to cross the river if you cannot see the bottom.


Surface: natural surface

Length:
1.50 miles
one way
Difficulty:
moderate hike
Blaze:
white triangles