Rising more than 2,000 feet into the air near Pinnacle, North Carolina, the distinctive summit of Pilot Mountain has been used as a navigational landmark for centuries. It's also a hugely popular recreational destination as well and is home to the 3,735-acre Pilot Mountain State Park.
The best way to start any visit to the park is to take a hike. There are miles of trails to explore on foot, horseback, and even canoe, allowing you to get up close and personal with the diverse natural landscape. Little Pinnacle Overlook Trail, with its excellent views of Big Pinnacle, is a particular favorite. The Yadkin River also runs through the park on a segment of the 165-mile Yadkin River Canoe Trail, making Pilot Mountain a popular destination with paddlers as well.
The rocky cliffs at Pilot Mountain present an inviting challenge to rock climbers, but you'll need to register with the park and obtain the proper permit first. Other activities include fishing, picnicking, and sightseeing, so there's no shortage of things to keep you busy for the duration of your stay.
If you're planning on staying a while, the lower slopes of Pilot Mountain are home to the park's family campground. There, you'll find 49 sites for tents and trailers in leafy surrounds, while two paddle-in campsites are also available on the south side of the river.
The campground is open from March 15 through November 30. While North Carolina state parks do not charge entrance fees, you'll need to check the camping fee that applies before reserving a site.
Finally, please be aware that you'll need to keep your pet leashed and under control at all times. Cleaning up after your dog and disposing of their waste properly is also a must, and is a simple way to ensure that state parks like this one continue to remain pet-friendly.