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North Carolina

North Carolina State Parks

USA Parks
North Carolina
Heartland - Central Region
Pilot Mountain State Park
Pilot Mountain State Park © David Parker
Early morning at the top
Pilot Mountain State Park © Lisa W Hedgecock
1792 Pilot Knob Park Road
Pinnacle, North Carolina   27043

Phone: 336-325-2355
Reservations: 877-722-6762
Approach from any direction and see Pilot Mountain rising more than 1,400 feet above the rolling countryside of the upper Piedmont plateau. Dedicated as a National Natural Landmark in 1976, this solitary peak is the centerpiece of Pilot Mountain State Park.

Fun, from relaxation to exhilaration, is easy to find here. Treat yourself to a horseback ride through the woods or challenge the river from raft or canoe. A five-mile woodland corridor joins two sections of the park, each section offering a wealth of opportunities for outdoor fun. The mountain segment, which includes the two pinnacles, contains most of the visitor facilities. The more primitive river section centers around the lazy, meandering Yadkin River.

Park Hours:

November-February, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

March and October, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

April, May, September, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

June-August, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

Closed Christmas Day

Park Office Hours:

8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays

Closed state holidays
Nature of the Area
Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about Pilot Mountain State Park.

To arrange a special exploration of Pilot Mountain State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.

Educational materials about Pilot Mountain State Park have been developed for grades 9-12 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Pilot Mountain program introduces students to the "mountains away from the mountains" and the geologic processes that formed them. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators.
History of the Area
Like the rocky escarpments 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.

To the native Saura Indians, the earliest known inhabitants of the region, Pilot Mountain was known as Jomeokee, the "Great Guide" or "Pilot." It guided both Native Americans and early European hunters along a north-south path through the area. The Sauras were driven southward by the Cherokees, who subsequently occupied the area. Further settlement in the area was led by Moravians, but the population remained sparse during colonial times due to frontier turbulence created by an alliance between the Cherokees and the British.

The mountain was mapped in 1751 by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson, father of President Thomas Jefferson. 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 to preserving the natural resources of North Carolina.

Learn about rural life in the past by visiting Horne Creek Farm. This state historic site is adjacent to the Yadkin River section of the park. Currently being restored to appear as it did in 1900, the farm is an educational center dedicated to preserving North Carolina's rural heritage. Visitors may experience North Carolina's agricultural past by participating in hands-on programs held on Saturdays and Sundays, April through October. Special tours and educational programs may be arranged throughout the year by calling (336) 325-2298.
Family camping: The lower slopes of Pilot Mountain house the family camping area where 49 campsites for tents and trailers are scattered among oaks and hickories. Each site has a tent pad, table and grill. Drinking water is available throughout the campground, and two modern washhouses with hot showers are located nearby. Hookups are not provided. Firewood may be obtained from park staff; gathering wood in the park is not allowed. Campsites are available on a first-come basis for a modest fee. The maximum number of people who can occupy a site is six.Sites are open March 15 through November 30.

Youth tent camping: On the north side of the Yadkin River, a camping area for youth groups includes tables, a fire circle, drinking water and pit toilets. Here, organized youth groups can enjoy fellowship in a wilderness setting. Reservations are required. Campers should be alert to high water conditions that may cause flooding in the area.

Canoe camping: Hop out of your canoe and onto the Yadkin Islands to spend the night surrounded by water. Two wilderness campsites for canoeists are located on the larger of the two islands. Water and toilets are not provided. Sites are open throughout the year.
Nearby Accommodations
Pilot Knob Inn - PINNACLE, NC
BBs / Inns
Designed with Romance In Mind for your Perfect Romantic Getaway for you your Sweetheart. We are nestled in a wooded landscape, our individual log cabins are designed to provide you with the rustic charm of yesteryear along with the comforts we enjoy today.Honeymoon Suites available as well A six acre lake in walking distance from all cabins suites.
1.2 miles from park*
Canoe the Yadkin River through the park on a segment of the Yadkin River Canoe Trail. The 165-mile trail follows the course of the river, passing through five reservoirs to the confluence of the Yadkin and Uwharrie rivers.

The two-mile portion of the Yadkin River that flows through the park is one of the most scenic stretches along the river's course. Enormous river birches overhang the water and sycamores dot the river banks. Here, the river is broad and shallow with many ripples. Two small islands, 45 and 15 acres in size, lie in the river. The islands may be reached by wading on foot, by horseback or by canoe.

The river flows past Bean Shoals Canal Wall, part of an ambitious project undertaken between 1820 and 1825 to build a three-mile canal around Bean Shoals. The project was abandoned before completion. View these historic walls along Canal Trail.

There are 38 canoe access sites along the trail. Shoals Access Site is a half mile upstream from the Yadkin Islands. Parts of the river are also suitable for rafting at times. Contact the park office for more information. Canoe rentals not available.
Cast your line from the river banks and reel in dinner. Sunfish, crappie and catfish are waiting to be caught! Anglers need a state fishing license and must obey the regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Three picnic areas at Pilot Mountain offer a choice of shady dining spots. The picnic area in the Pilot Mountain section is located near the summit parking lot. Picnic tables and grills are surrounded by a pine and hardwood forest. Drinking water and restrooms are located nearby.

Two picnic grounds in the Yadkin River section of the park are approximately a half mile from the shore of the river. Picnic sites on the north shore of the river are located in an open grassy area along Horne Creek. Tables, grills, drinking water and pit toilets are provided. A similar facility is located on the south shore of the river.

The covered picnic shelter in the Pilot Mountain section is perfect for group outings. The shelter will accommodate up to 35 people. A nearby grill makes cooking simple. To be sure that the shelter is available, reservations are suggested. Use of the picnic shelter is free of charge unless reservations are requested.

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 five-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.
Nature Programs
Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about Pilot Mountain State Park.

To arrange a special exploration of Pilot Mountain State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.

Educational materials about Pilot Mountain State Park have been developed for grades 9-12 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Pilot Mountain program introduces students to the "mountains away from the mountains" and the geologic processes that formed them. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators.
Area Attractions
Rock climbing:

Rock climbing and rappelling are favorite activities at Pilot Mountain where rocky cliffs offer a challenge to experienced climbers. Climbing is permitted only in designated areas; climbing and rappelling are not permitted on the Big Pinnacle. Contact the park office for further information.

All climbers must register with the park by completing a climbing and rappelling registration and activity permit which is available at the park office. There is no fee for this permit. Prior to activity, a copy of the permit must be deposited in a registration box or given to a park ranger. An additional copy is provided for participants and must be held in their possession while engaged in climbing or rappelling.

Participants are responsible for their own personal safety, including securing proper training and equipment, and adhering to safe practices. Basic rock climbing safety equipment and techniques must be used at all time.

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.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
October 9 a beautiful place by david
a very nice place went there on a geology field trip and learned a lot!
December 24 Horse trails are excellent by Odie & Karen Perkins
My wife and ride the Pilot Mtn. Horse Trails they are the best in the state of North Carolina. Thanks for all the hard work that is put into these horse and hiking trails, Odie & Karen Perkins
September 7 Outstanding Visit by Archie and Chris Bennett - Tn
Have visited many state parks throughout this great land and this has to be one of the best as far as accessability, cleanliness and beauty. The views from the summit parking lot and overlooks were spectacular. The park hosts were nice. Please continue to do the things you do to make this a wonderful place to visit.

Area Campgrounds
Holly Ridge Family Campground
5140 River Road
Boonville, NC
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
Oakley Ridge Farm - North Wilkesboro, NC
Cottages and Cabins
Perfectly situated atop of the Little Brushy Mountains sorrounded by vistas of lovely green pastures, the Great Escape is a retreat unlike many others. The peae and serenity is unlike no other and it gives you that chance to unwind and relax.
35.6 miles from park*

Pilot Mountain State Park is located in Surry and Yadkin counties, 24 miles north of Winston-Salem and 14 miles south of Mount Airy. From US 52, take the Pilot Mountain State Park exit and travel west into the mountain section of the park, where the park office is located.

The north River Section (Surry County) is 10 miles from the mountain section of the park. From US 52, take the Pinnacle exit and follow the signs to Horne Creek Farm. The park entrance is approximately .4 miles past the farm.

The south River Section (Yadkin County) is 20 miles from the mountain section of the park. Take NC 67 to the town of East Bend. From Main Street, turn rignt on Fairground Road. Turn right on Shady Grove Church Road, turn right on Shoals Road, and follow it to the park.

North Carolina

North Carolina State Parks