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Trails

The Pilot Knob at Pilot Mountain State Park. Photo by R. Hill.
Expect Road Closures & Delays 7/27   

Due to road repairs, the campground road and the road to the summit parking lot may be closed at some points during the day 7/27.

 Last updated on: Tuesday, July 27, 2021

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
     

 

 

 

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: Little Pinnacle Overlook Trail
Location: Upper summit parking area

Description:

This easy and short 0.1-mile trail leads to the Little Pinnacle Overlook, one of the best views in the park. Follow the path located south of the Jomeokee trailhead up a moderate grade to the Little Pinnacle bluff for a beautiful view of the Big Pinnacle, Sauratown Mountains, and Hanging Rock State Park to the east. On a clear day, one can view 3,000 square miles from this point. Located above a stone wall on the upper side of the summit parking area, the overlook is a great place to take pictures.

This trail has a natural surface with rocks and roots. Stone steps lead up to this overlook. There are two other overlooks on opposite sides of the summit parking area that can accommodate visitors with strollers, wheelchairs or limited mobility, one facing south and showing the Piedmont landscape, while the other faces the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Surface: natural surface, boulders, stairs

Length:
0.10 miles
one way
Difficulty:
easy hike
Blaze:
none

Mountain section: Mountain Trail
Location: Visitor center parking area or Pinnacle Hotel Road/Culler Road parking area

Description:

A moderate to strenuous rolling 4.3-mile trail that skirts the bottom of the mountain, the Mountain Trail connects to the Grindstone Trail to complete a 6-mile loop. The Mountain Trail can be accessed from the Pinnacle Hotel Road/Culler Road parking area; 0.25 miles uphill of the visitor center, or above the campground off the Grindstone Trail.

This trail has a natural surface with rocks and roots. It also crosses creeks.


Surface: natural surface, water crossings

Length:
4.30 miles
one way
Difficulty:
strenuous hike
Blaze:
red circles

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 section and Bean Shoals access

Description:

The Mountains-to-Sea State Trail passes through the park following 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.

The trail segment passing through Pilot Mountain State Park totals 12.6 miles of a strenuous hike. This trail segment has a natural surface with rocks and roots. It also crosses creeks and railroads.

For more information on state trails, please visit the NC Trails website ».


Surface: natural surface, water crossings, railroad crossings

Length:
12.60 miles
one way
Difficulty:
strenuous hike
Blaze:
white circles

Pilot Creek access: Pilot Creek Meadow Walk
Location: Pilot Creek access

Description:

Explore and observe birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and more as you walk through the meadows above Pilot Creek. This mown path meanders through restored warm-season grass meadows and leads to a small farm pond where you can try your luck to catch catfish, bass, sunfish, and more (valid North Carolina fishing license required).

This path is a registered part of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail and has been established to benefit native pollinators and grassland birds.


Surface: natural surface

Length:

Difficulty:
easy hike
Blaze:
none