Updated 09.21.2019: If you’re looking for a fun day hike in a North Carolina State Park, I recommend hiking Pilot Mountain State Park. The easy trails lead to pretty overlooks on a beautiful short hike in the woods.
Driving north on Highway 52, Pilot Mountain is the stony punctuation in the rolling hills of the North Carolina countryside. You can’t miss it. The quartzite mountain rises to 2421 feet and is a remnant of the ancient Sauratown Mountain Range in the Yadkin Valley. Native Americans, wildlife and explorers have used Pilot Mountain as a landmark for centuries.
I visited Pilot Mountain State Park while on a trip to explore Winston-Salem, about 24 miles to the south. Leaves were still clinging to the hickory and oak trees, making a colorful backdrop to the paved drive up to the summit parking lot.
Joining a few weekday visitors, I walked the trail to the Big Pinnacle Overlook, stopping at scenic spots to take photos. The relatively easy trail includes walking up and over deep stones. Dried autumn leaves covered some of the trail and would have been slippery after a rain. But on this sunny, November day, the trail was a great way to walk off the calories from the fine Southern food that I’d been sampling in Winston-Salem.
Pilot Mountain State Park also includes a section on the Yadkin River as well as access to Horne Creek Farm, an educational center focused on preserving North Carolina’s rural heritage. Active boomers will find hiking, canoeing, cycling, fishing and even rock climbing opportunities at Pilot Mountain State Park.
Will you be visiting Winston-Salem, North Carolina? Here’s an outdoor itinerary for you:
After breakfast at Mary’s Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, drive out to Pilot Mountain for a hike on the summit. Then complete your day with a wine tasting and late lunch at Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery in the Yadkin Valley. After returning to Winston-Salem, you’ll be ready for a gourmet dinner of fried chicken with peach chutney at Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro.
More things to do on a trip to Winston-Salem, North Carolina:
- Visit Old Salem
- Learn how to bake Moravian cookies with Mrs. Haines
- Discover how to blend wine at Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery
- Spend a day with art and history on Reynolda Road
- Enjoy a stay at Graylyn Estate
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Disclosure: Visit Winston-Salem provided this travel opportunity. But, as always, the opinions are my own.