Charlotte, NC: Pilot Mountain Grindstone Trail

When you're in need of some amazing views, and willing to drive for them, hit the Grindstone Trail on Pilot Mountain outside Charlotte.
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When you're in need of some amazing views—and willing to drive for them—hit the Grindstone Trail on Pilot Mountain. BY MATT CLAPP

Trip Stats
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 2.5-3 hours
Distance from Uptown Charlotte: 1:45 hours
More Info: State Park Website

1. Drive to 1792 Pilot Knob Park Rd., Pinnacle, NC. Park at the Visitor Center and pick up a free map inside. Ask about the trail conditions.

Mile 0.0: Cross road from visitor center. At trailhead, go right, up the Grindstone Trail. Follow the trail, with blue blaze plastic dots.
0.3: At road go left up road. Just after the small stone lodge, veer right, to cross the road and continue on the trail following the blue dots.
0.9: Turn left and continue to follow the Grindstone Trail along the blue dots uphill.
1.4: The trail splits. Go right, following the blue dots.
2.0: At the fork, continue left uphill, following the blue dots.
2.4: Pass a great rock for bouldering. Keep an eye out for great outlooks on the right.
2.9: Parking lot
3.1: Reach outlook to see Pilot Mountain
3.7: After crossing the parking lot, turn left at the sign for Ledge Springs Loop Trail and follow the blue dot. This is the trail you came up.
4.4: Trail merges. Continue straight following blue dots.
5.0: Reach the gray jeep trail. Go left downhill. A few hundred feet later continue right, following the blue dots.
6.0: Arrive back at Visitor Center parking lot.

My Day
Weather: 35
Drink: Cosmic Cranberry Kombucha
Song: On Top of the World by Greek Fire—"I hear the crowds beneath me, I'm wishing they could reach me..."
Water: 20 oz.

Trail Facts

  • State: NC
  • City: Winston-Salem
  • Distance: 6.0
  • Contact: (336) 325-2355
  • Land Type: State Park