Rising abruptly more than 2,000 feet, Pilot Mountain has been a navigational landmark for centuries, and is a recreational landmark as well, offering miles of trails, camping, climbing and spectacular scenery. The mountain summit remains the principal park area, connected to the Yadkin River section by a 6.5-mile trail corridor. An extensive trail network is augmented by a bridle trail and a canoe trail section on the river. Family camping in a 49-site campground is augmented by riverside group camps and canoe-in sites. Rock climbing and rappelling are allowed on portions of the park’s steep cliffs, and those cliffs perched around the mountain’s summit offer seemingly endless views of piedmont, Sauratown Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains.
Rising abruptly more than 2,000 feet, Pilot Mountain has been a navigational landmark for centuries, and is a recreational landmark as well, offering miles of trails, camping, climbing and spectacular scenery. The mountain summit remains the principal park area, connected to the Yadkin River section by a 6.5-mile trail corridor. An extensive trail network is augmented by a bridle trail and a canoe trail section on the river. Family camping in a 42-site campground is augmented by canoe-in sites. Rock climbing and rappelling are allowed on portions of the park’s steep cliffs, and those cliffs perched around the mountain’s summit offer seemingly endless views of piedmont, Sauratown Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains.
Tent and trailer camping
The lower slopes of Pilot Mountain house the family camping area where 42 campsites for tents and trailers are scattered among oaks and hickories.
Each site has a tent pad, table and firepit/grill. Drinking water is available throughout the campground, and two washhouses with hot showers are located nearby.
Some campsites can accommodate RVs. Hookups and dump station are not provided.
Firewood may be obtained for sale from the campground host. Gathering wood in the park is not allowed.
The maximum number of people who can occupy a site is six. Sites are open March 15 through November 30.
Two canoe campsites on the south bank of the river are available by reservation. Reservations must be made in advance.
No water or toilet facilities are provided. You must bring your own water and pack out all trash and waste.
Camping is allowed only in designated areas. No camping is allowed on the Yadkin River Islands.
The park is a great place for a hike!
Paddle 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.
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.
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 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.
The main park road is popular for hill climbing by bicycle. This should only be attempted by experienced cyclists wearing proper safety equipment. The road averages a 10% grade for 2.5 miles and has sections of 16% grades. It is recommended that cyclists plan their ride for the early morning hours when there is less vehicle traffic. Use caution on the descent and be advised that bicycles are subject to the same regulations pertaining to motor vehicles including exceeding safe speed and improper passing. There are no mountain bike trails in the park.
Cast your line from the river banks and reel in dinner. Smallmouth bass, spotted bass and catfish are waiting to be caught! Anglers need a state fishing license and must obey the regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
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 kiosk in the far righthand side of the summit parking lot. There is no fee for this permit. Prior to activity, a copy of the permit must be deposited in the 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.
Climbing route closures: "Unnamed/P.Break" climbing route in the amphitheater has been permanently closed due to visitor use conflicts. The "Big Gully" is closed to all use (CLIMBING, HIKING, RAPPELLING, ETC.) for natural resource protection. This closure does not affect adjacent routes.
Climbers and Hikers are reminded that this area can become congested. Do not block the Ledge Springs trail with your gear, rope, dogs, or group. Pets must be attended (not tied off on a tree and left alone) and leashed while in the climbing area.
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.
The picnic ground at the Yadkin River section of the park is approximately a mile from the shore of the river in a meadow along Horne Creek. Tables, grills, and waterless toilets are provided.
A covered picnic shelter is available at the summit. This shelter is not available for reservation due to the wait in line to get a parking space at the summit on weekends. We cannot guarantee the availability of this shelter unless you arrive early. This shelter has grills and drinking water. There are also picnic tables in a shaded area adjacent to the shelter.