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.

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