Pilot Mountain State Park

Pinnacle, North Carolina 27043

Pilot Mountain State Park

Pilot Mountain State Park Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock may have the gall to claim the name, but Pilot Mountain is the definitive monadnock in this state or any other. Pilot is an outlier of the Sauratown Mountains that includes Hanging Rock State Park. Hikers can’t
actually reach the Big Pinnacle summit of Pilot Mountain (2,420 feet). This quartzite plug has been so resistant to erosion that it is surrounded by an uninterrupted rampart of cliffs.

At one time, prior to its 1968 establishment as North Carolina’s fourteenth state park, the peak was a commercial tourist attraction and hikers could climb to the top. That activity was ended to preserve the many raven- and raptor-nesting sites. Nevertheless, there are excellent viewpoints on Little Pinnacle (a perfect perch from which to watch the September and October hawk migration), and a trail encircles the base of the Big Pinnacle cliffs."

Pilot Mountain State Park Trip Reports

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon3 Total
3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
There are many different trails to choose from for all different skill levels. The shorter trails are usually crowded on weekends, but they do offer some nice views. Jomeokee Trail is probably the most popular and is a nice trail that circles the pinnacle and the views are excellent. There are three longer and more challenging trails, the Grindstone, Ledge Spring and Mountain Trail. The Grindstone Trail travels between the campground and the summit and is a fairly steep climb up. Ledge Spring trail has some sections that are mildly strenuous, but overall not too bad and there are some great views. The Mountain Trail can be accessed from the Ledge Spring Trail or from Surry Line Road in Pinnacle. It is almost all up hill from Surry Line Road to the summit parking area and can be very strenuous in areas, but you can also find a lot of solitude as there are very few hikers on this trail. Keep in mind that the maps show it as 2.5 miles (one way), but that does not include the portion of the Ledge Spring Trail that connects it to the summit parking area. Even though it can be strenuous in some area, anyone in good shape should have few problems with the Mountain Trail. There is also the Grassy Ridge Trail that can also be accessed from Surry Line Road the place where you can access the Mountain Trail, but it is only 1.5 miles and much easier. It ends at the visitor center near the park entrance.
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
Great spot for groups with mixed skills and motivations. We visited the park over thanksgiving weekend so the shorter loop trails around the pinnacle were a bit crowded. However, once we got on the longer and more challenging Ledge Spring trail we had the expansive views and fresh fall colors mostly to ourselves. This is also a great place to go climbing. You can set fixed ropes just off the parking lot (at the top) and then hike around and below to some really nice faces.

Pilot Mountain State Park Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
0.3-6.6 miles
Several options
Trail Type
Easy to Difficult
Skill Level
Pilot Mountain State Park, 1792 Pilot Knob Park Rd., Pinnacle 27043; (336) 325-2355. Horne Creek Farm Visitor Center; (336) 325-2298. For more on the Sauratown Trail, go to sauratowntrails.org.ncmst.org
Local Contacts
USGS Pinnacle and Siloam. Download the state park trail map at ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/pimo/main.php
Local Maps

Trail Log