With an elevation of 2,421 feet above sea level, Pilot Mountain is a quartzite monadnock. A monadnock is an isolated rock hill, small mountain, ridge, or knob that rises up from a basically level plain or gentle slope. In 1976, Pilot Mountain became a National Natural Landmark. US Route 52 passes by the mountain and offers a view of it.
Pilot Mountain is the centerpiece of Pilot Mountain State Park, and the mountain features scenic views of other parts of the park. Pilot Mountain State Park offers visitors the opportunity to ride horses through the woods, canoe in the Yadkin River, or go rafting. Pilot Mountain State Park consists of approximately 3,703 acres of land. After being purchased from J.W. Beasley, the park became the 14th state park in 1968. There is no charge for admission to the park. The park has two segments, which are the mountain segment and the river segment. Most of the visitor facilities are in the mountain segment.
Pilot Mountain is part of the Sauratown Mountains, which is a chain of mountains that was named after the Native American tribe known as the Saura. As the earliest known inhabitants in the region, the Saura called Pilot Mountain "Jomeokee,'' which means "pilot'' or "great guide.'' The Saura, who were eventually driven out of the area by the Cherokee, used the distinctive formation of the mountain as a landmark to guide them through the region. The mountain's present-day name comes from the Saura name.
Pilot Mountain has two different pinnacles with very common names - Big Pinnacle and Little Pinnacle. Also known as "The Knob,'' Big Pinnacle has bare walls of rock that are 200 feet high. The top of Big Pinnacle is rounded and covered with vegetation. Big Pinnacle reaches a height that is roughly 1,400 feet above its surrounding terrain.
While Big Pinnacle is closed to climbing, walking the Jomeokee Trail would lead a person around the base of Big Pinnacle. Other trails in the area include the Sassafras Trail and the Ledge Spring Trail. The Ledge Spring Trail is one of the locations that is popular with visitors that want to do some rock climbing.
A paved road enables visitors to access Little Pinnacle. In addition, there are trails on the mountain that lead to Little Pinnacle. Viewed from a particular vantage point in the distance, the entire mountain may look like a saddle because of the rise of Little Pinnacle, followed by Big Pinnacle's down-and-up slope.
The city of Mount Airy is located just north of Pilot Mountain. Home to rock quarries and known as the birthplace of the actor Andy Griffith, Mount Airy was the basis for Mayberry, the fictional town featured on The Andy Griffith Show. In addition, the fictional city of Mount Pilot was frequently mentioned on The Andy Griffith Show. This fictional city was named in honor of Pilot Mountain.
Additional information about Pilot Mountain can be obtained from the office of Pilot Mountain State Park at 1792 Pilot Knob Park Road in Pinnacle, North Carolina. Anyone seeking information by phone can call the park's office at 336-325-2355.
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