Pilot Mountain State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Pilot Mountain State Park, located in the northern Piedmont area of North Carolina, is recognizable from miles away. The mountain, or Big Pinnacle, rises 1,400 feet above the valley floor. Trees cover the jagged rocks with vegetation that is similar to the plants growing in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. The people of North Carolina are proud of this park and see its growth over the years as a symbol of the preservation of the state's natural beauty.

Park visitors will enjoy the natural beauty of the area as well. The park, open year-round (except for Christmas Day), considers itself in peak season all year. Even though all of the park's activities operate year-round, the campgrounds operate on differing schedules, depending on the location of the campground. The RV campground, located inside the mountain section of the park, is only open during certain months, so it's essential to plan ahead before visiting the park for RV camping.

Outdoor enthusiasts of all types will enjoy their stay in Pilot Mountain State Park. The park is unique, and whether you are planning to stay a week, or you are just passing through the area, Pilot Mountain is sure to be one of your favorite stops in North Carolina!

RV Rentals in Pilot Mountain State Park

Transportation in Pilot Mountain State Park

Driving

The park is 20 miles north of Winston-Salem and 170 miles east of Asheville. From US 52, take the Pilot Mountain State Park exit and head west, following the brown park signs. Please be aware that there are different sections of the park. RVers want to access the mountain section of the park, which is also home to the park office.

Visitors shouldn't rely on GPS systems to access the park, as service is unreliable in the area. The mountain is visible from 20 miles away from the highway and serves as a beacon for travelers. The park is adjacent to US 52 and signs clearly label the exits.

Please stay informed of the posted park hours. For the safety of the people camping, the gates remain locked outside of park hours. Even with reservations, visitors are not allowed to enter the park after closing, and people who visit park patrons will not be able to leave once the gates close. In the case of emergencies, notify the camp hosts, and they can assist you.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Pilot Mountain State Park

Campsites in Pilot Mountain State Park

Reservations camping

Pilot Mountain Family Campground

The Pilot Mountain Family Campground is a pet-friendly, primitive-style campground open during the warmer months. Campers may choose from fifteen back-in gravel sites ranging from 25—38 feet in length. Although the sites don't have electric or water hookups, campers have access to community drinking-water spigots located throughout the campground and may fill portable water containers as needed.

The campground has two centrally-located bathhouses and a community dumpster. There is no dump station. Each site has a fire pit, grill, and picnic table. Hikers will love the proximity to the Grindstone Hiking Trail which summits just two miles from the campground. Campers who want to have a fire can purchase firewood from campground hosts. Park gates lock at closing, and there is no entry before or after park hours, so campers need to arrive within the park's operating times to access the campground. Generators are allowed as long as they are turned off during the park's posted quiet hours.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Pilot Mountain State Park

In-Season

Canoeing

Visitors who love the water can paddle a portion of the Yadkin River Canoe Trail. Two miles of the Yadkin River runs through Pilot Mountain State Park, and these two miles are some of the most scenic stretches along the river. Sycamore trees line the river and low-hanging river birch trees shade the shallow waters located within the park. The section of the river accessible inside the park has two small islands that can be reached by canoe, horseback, and wading by foot. The park does not have canoe rentals on site.

Climbing

Experienced climbers and rappellers come to Pilot Mountain State Park because of its challenging, rocky terrain. All climbers must obtain an activity permit before climbing. These free permits must be deposited in the registration box or given to a park ranger before activities begin. Climbers will find the registration box in the Summit parking lot.

Climbers must bring their own safety equipment and climb only in designated areas. The park publishes a free, downloadable guidebook that outlines climbing specifics within the park, and climbers should review the book before visiting the park.

Picnicking

Visitors of all ages come to the park to enjoy the outdoors. Picnicking is a favorite activity in the park because it is not age and skill dependent. Visitors who wish to secure a sheltered table should arrive early on the weekends because the parking spots fill quickly at the summit. The picnic tables located near the summit parking lot are shaded from the pine trees and have restrooms and drinking water nearby. The summit picnic area has shelter, tables, grills, and waterless toilets. People who wish to picnic closer to the river can find a picnic area in a meadow near the Yadkin River section of the park. This picnic area offers tables, grills, and a waterless toilet.

Off-Season

Cycling

There are no mountain bike trails inside of Pilot Mountain State Park, but the main road leading into the park is a popular destination for road cyclists. This ride is challenging, and only experienced riders should attempt the steeply graded road. Average grades range between 10% and 16%. Cyclists should wear proper safety gear and must share the road with vehicles. People on bikes must observe the same traffic rules as the cars. Because this road is a high-traffic area, the best time to cycle is during the early morning hours.

Education

North Carolina is proud of its state parks. Pilot Mountain State Park wants to share what makes the state park system so great, so it has teamed up with park rangers to offer educational programs to visitors of all ages. If you are planning to visit the park, contact the park office to find out if there is a class happening that might interest you or your family. If an organized class isn't your thing, pick up a plant and animal checklist at the park office. Take the family on a self-led scavenger hunt to look for different types of flowers and trees, or see if you can spot a songbird or a white-tailed deer!

Trails

People who visit the park can spend hours wandering outside just enjoying nature. The trail system in Pilot Mountain State Park offers hiking for people of varying abilities. Take a long and strenuous hike along cliffs and ledges on the Ledge Springs Trail, or opt for a short and easy walk on the Little Pinnacle Overlook Trail. Don't forget your camera, because the Little Pinnacle Overlook Trail has stunning views of the Big Pinnacle!

The trail systems in this park aren't just for hiking. If you have a horse and want to enjoy the park on an equestrian trail, then the Corridor / Bridle Trail offers you and your horse a different viewpoint of the park. Horse rentals are not available.

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