Saturday, March 19, 2016

Pilot Mountain State Park - Pinnacle, NC

1792 Pilot Knob Park Road
Pinnacle, NC  27043
(336) 325-2355

Viewing Area with Parking - Route 52 Heading North

View from the Top Facing South - Early Spring (March)

View from the Top Facing South - Summer (August)

View from the Top Facing South - Fall (October)

Seating Area Next to Parking Lot - No Hiking Required & Dogs Welcome (March)

Notice Downtown Winston Salem in the Distance (click on photos to enlarge)

View from the Top Facing North (March)

Northeast View - Small Hike to This Point (March)

View of Pilot Mountain from Route 52 Driving North - Winter (February)

Pilot Mountain is a North Carolina State Park located approximately twenty-four minutes north of Winston Salem and seventeen minutes south of Mt. Airy. If you are ever in the area or driving through on Route 52, please take a moment to enjoy the beauty of Pilot Mountain. There is nothing more peaceful, calming and soothing as nature! Just one look at the breathtaking view and you will be able to put your troubles to rest for a moment. It's so easy to get to, since it's entrance is located only half a mile from the highway! There is no entrance fee, so visit for ten minutes or for hours. The drive up the mountain takes about six to seven minutes. The upper parking lot is located right next to the southern viewing area (see photos above), so no hiking is required! A short walk stepping up some rocks will take you to the east, north and northeast viewing areas as shown above. The park is open year round from 8 am to sunset, the only day it's closed is Christmas Day. There is also a parking area at the bottom of the mountain and a campground. There are many hiking trails from easy to strenuous and they range from .3 of a mile to 8 miles. Paddling, picnicking, rock climbing and horseback riding are also allowed. It's highest elevation is 2,421 feet and the southern view parking lot at the top is just a little over 2,000 ft.

The southern view on a fairly clear day provides a view of downtown Winston Salem and if it's a really clear day you can even see Greensboro a little east of Winston way off in the distance, look to the left of Winston. The northern view provides a view of North Carolina and Virginia mountains. Since the temperatures in this area are usually only chilly in the months of January and February, you have ten other months to visit if you don't like cold weather. The hot months are from June to mid September, so avoid those months if you can't stand the heat. Note that it is a bit cooler up there and there's a breeze. There is a restroom and water fountains next to the parking lot. Also, there are doggie bags over there if needed. Dogs must be on a leash at all times. At the entrance there is a park office on the right that provides park information. Right after that is the campground, also on the right. If you have passed the campground and the pedestrian warning sign, you are on your way to the top and there is no turnaround, so prepare yourself for the six minute drive up. There is one pull over area on the way down, if you are being tailgated which can happen during busy hours. If you come across some locals you may find them chatting you up, since North Carolinians tend to be very friendly. Hey, you may even meet me since I live nearby and I'm a frequent visitor. You'll see a lot of Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia tags since they are the ones that tend to use route 52 the most.

The first photo above shows the viewing area of Pilot Mountain which is on the side of Route 52. It's four miles south of the mountain and access is only available when heading north on Route 52. It has a sign with information about the mountain and parking so that you can take photos and enjoy the view. The second, third and forth photos are taken from the same spot during different seasons. Note the cute little Charlie Brown looking pine tree in each photo to give you perspective and notice how the colors change with each season. This is the view only a few steps from your car, so there is no hiking required to see this view! There is a little seating area there also. You can see that seating area in the fifth photo featuring my little Maltese dog, Leo. This park is dog friendly and my little Leo loves his adventures to Pilot Mountain! In the sixth photo you can see the Winston Salem skyline off in the distance. Note that it's even better in person. Be sure to click on the photos so that they enlarge and you can get a better view. The seventh photo features the northern view which does require a short hike. It's mostly stepping up rocks, but I highly recommend proper shoes and perhaps a hiking pole for those who need a bit of assistance. Short Leo managed just fine, so the steps aren't that high. I wouldn't recommend this hike for small children or dogs who aren't obedient. You're basically standing on a narrow rock with only a three rail fence, shown in the eighth photo. The seating area shown in the fifth photo shows the safer fence for small children and dogs. The ninth photo was taken in the car traveling north and it gives you an idea of how large the mountain is in relation to the road.

I also recommend visiting Hanging Rock State Park which is twenty-two miles east of Pilot Mountain. They have several waterfalls that are lovely and the drive there is so beautiful. Stay tuned for my blog post on that soon. In addition, don't forget to visit historic Old Salem which is a twenty-five minute drive south and you must eat at The Tavern for a visit back in time. King features several restaurants about nine minutes south. I recommend Thai Cafe, Little Italy and Dairi-O. All of which offer carry out and dining in. Dairi-O has a drive thru, but it's a little further away from the highway. It's worth the trip because it's the highest quality fast food you will find in the area. You could also take your meal to Pilot Mountain for a picnic! If you are an Andy Griffith fan, be sure to visit Mt. Airy which is eighteen minutes north. If you are a wine connoisseur, you must visit the many wineries in the area that use to be tobacco farms. The closest being Jolo, which I have reviewed on this blog and it has a view of the mountain. It's only an eight minute drive west. Hotels can be found in Mt. Airy and Winston Salem. If you have any questions, feel free to ask below. I'm a new resident, but I'm quickly learning about the Piedmont. What's your favorite place to visit in North Carolina, any recommendations?

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Have a PEACEful Day!

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