dogs on leash
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 in this park 25 miles northwest of Winston-Salem. Treat yourself to a horseback ride through the woods or challenge the river from raft or canoe. A seven-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.
Hiked at the Bean Shoals Access. This trail was interesting. In the hike, you come across the canal ruins wall built around 1818. Trail can be very slippery at certain points and becomes narrow at points as well. There are markets to keep you on track. You walk along the river and can even ford across the river to the islands.
I thought this trail was very The views were great once you were up on pilot mountain. I didn't think it was a hard trail at all. Only con would be that too many people are trekking on this trail as well. Constantly had to stop and wait for people to go by or wait to pass people.
Took the Jomeokee trail first, and picked up the Ledge Springs Trail. I would call this a challenging trail with large number of stone steps descending for about a mile. During the descent, you will see the cliffs and probably a good number of rock climbers during warm weather. Expect to traverse the trail through groups of climbers on the weekends. The spring is small (almost small enough to miss as it runs across the trail under a large rock as more of a trickle), but the water is incredibly clear and cold. The ascent starts at about the 1 mile mark. It is significant (748') mile long ascent on sandy soil with wooden steps. There are several good places to stop and take a break if needed. Take some snacks and plenty of water. The end of the trail will put you back out at the parking lot.
Pilot Mountain Bean Shoals trail is an easy trek along the Yadkin River with beautiful views of the river and other sights that are sure to keep you interested. Be careful of copperheads while hiking this trail, we actually saw one less than one foot off of the trail. On one side of the trail is the river and on the other side of the trail is an active train track and part of a water dam project made of rocks that was supposed to divert the water but the project was never finished. If you are hiking Horne Creek Trail and Yadkin Islands trail to make a loop don’t miss this short in and out trail as in my opinion it was the best of the three trails. Happy Hiking! :)
Pilot Mountain Horne Creek Trail is a horse trail that is a pleasant hike through the forest back to the Yadkin River. We hiked Horne Creek Trail then Bean Shoals Trail and then took this trail to form a loop, however it can be difficult to locate the trailhead if you are entering after hiking Bean Shoals or Horne Creek so be careful that you are coming over the railroad tracks to begin your trek back to the car. Both times we took this trail we didn’t see anybody on the trail.
Pilot Mountain Horne Creek Trail starts out in a dense part of the forest and then begins to follow the Yadkin River during the second half of the trail. This is a pleasant and easy stroll, however be careful of the Poison Ivy along the edges of the trail and in a few spots you will need to move the weeds out of the way. Look out for the sign talking about Bald Eagles and if you look real close across the river from the bald eagle sign you can see a Bald Eagles nest and just maybe if you go the right time of the year you will get to see an eagle on it. Take the Yadkin Islands trail back to form a loop.
Pilot Mountain State Park, Mountain Trail is a well maintained trail that in my opinion should be rated as moderate and not strenuous because even though you are climbing in elevation, the incline trek up the mountain seems easier than expected because of the consistent climb. However, maybe they deemed this trail strenuous because you need to watch your steps around and over the rocks. I was hoping to be able to view the top of Pilot Mountain and at times I thought I might be able to but I was disappointed to find out that tree limbs were always in the way, maybe they will cut some limbs in spots so hikers will have better views up and down the mountain. I loved the large rock formations throughout this trail, some of these rock formations were really cool and one of them my wife and I were actually able to joke that we saw an upstairs, downstairs, deck, kitchen etc. (lol)… Any way this is a very rocky trail that allows distant views into the forest viewing rocks of all sizes. Happy hiking!!!
Pilot Mountain Grindstone trail is wide, well maintained and begins in a semi dense forest that provides a visibility of a couple hundred feet in all directions and as you rise in elevation there are several resting points along the way overlooking beautiful vistas of farmland and fields. Both times my wife and I hiked this trail we came across less than a dozen hikers but the summit was packed with people, however most all of them drove to the top of the mountain by car rather than hiking up the mountain and both times the parking lots at the summit were full and had waiting times in excess of 1 hour to park. I suggest to enjoy the hike rather than driving, stop at the rocky resting points near the top to enjoy the view and then proceed to the summit to see the complete panoramic vista views. On your way down considering taking a longer route to form a loop and take the Mountain Trail. I would also do this trail on a semi clear day so you can fully enjoy the views near and at the top of the summit. Happy Hiking!