Outdoor activities in North Carolina

Pilot Mt. State Park is one of the nicest places to spend a day, or a weekend in North Carolina.  Whether camping is your thing, or just hiking a mountain trail, this beautiful State Park has 

Pilot Mountain State Park NCCredit: M. Windsor

something for nature lovers of all ages!


For the Camper


There are many opportunities for camping in the park.  Some of the opportunities include family camp sites as well as primitive camping opportunities.  I like to use the family camp sites because of where their placement and the amenities offered, but if solitude is your thing, the you are going to love the primitive sites.


Family Sites


There are forty-nine drive-to family camp sites.  Each site includes a tent pad (usually of leveled gravel), a fire pit, and a picnic table.  At various times throughout the season, there will be free firewood available, but be sure to call ahead because harvesting wood is forbidden, and you may need to bring your own firewood or charcoal with you.  Also be sure to call and check on whether there is a fire ban on during your stay.  Charcoal can still be used in the fire pits during a fire ban, but no wood burning is allowed by the park during a fire ban.


Another benefit of the family campsites is the strategic location of water faucets around the family campsite area.  There will be one within a short distance of any site.  Here you can get clean drinking water as well as water for washing out cooking utensils and such. 


There are two bath houses in the family campsite area where bathroom facilities, as well as hot showers are available.  This is especially nice on those chilly mornings or if you don’t care to go more than a day without a regular shower.  Be sure to bring your own towels, soap and other hygiene items.  The staff endeavors to keep toilet paper in the bathroom, but bringing a roll of your own would not be a bad idea.


Many of the family sites offer space for Campers and RVs and some sites are doubles.  Be sure to check the park map available online to choose the best place for you.  The family campsites are at the base of Pilot Mountain. A trail up the mountain begins right from this area.  You may also drive to the top of the mountain if hiking is not your style. 


Primitive sites


Pilot Mountain State Park offers two primitive group campsites.  These sites include a table, fire circle and vault toilets.  There are no shower facilities.  Sites can accommodate up to 25 people per site, and are available year round. You will need reservations before arriving, so be sure to contact the park office.

For the Hiker


Pilot Mountain State Park offers miles of hiking opportunities, from easy to strenuous.  There is even the opportunity for rappelling and rock climbing at various stations throughout the park.  Climbers need permits and safety equipment.  Permits are available at the Park Office.  Whether you start from the bottom of the mountain, or drive to the top, there is a hiking trail for everyone.  There are some amazing scenic views along the trail, so be sure to bring your camera if photography is your thing. 





Many of the activities in the Park are free of charge.  There is not admission fee, and the trails and picnic area at the top of the mountain are open to public use on a first come first serve basis. The campsites are available for a small fee:

  • Family campsites are $20/day.  The senior rate is $15/day.
  • Primitive campsites are $13/day with a $2/day extra charge for every person over the limit.

Be sure to check with the park office for current prices.

Various other info

There are restrooms at various locations throughout the Park as well as at the summit.  There is not food vending available in the park but there are some drink vending machines by the parking lot at the summit.  There are some trash cans but it is strongly encouraged that you take your trash with you when exiting the park. If you would like to find out more about the rules, requirements and opportunities at Pilot Mt. State Park, be sure to check out North Carolina's State Park Website .