Pilot Mountain, NC

Pilot Mountain State Park is an excellent climbing site with accessible top rope belay anchors. The site has a wide range of routes, with 5.5 routes for beginners, working on up to 5.10 and 5.11 for the experienced climber. Climbers will thrill to the great views and enjoy being eye to eye with soaring hawks and vultures. The parking lot at the top of the mountain provides easy access to the climbing sites, picnic areas, and restrooms. The access trail for the climbing area passes by the top of the routes, making it easier to set up routes. Primary access to bottom of the climbing area is by the Three Bears Gulley and a large sign marks this trail. It is a steep Class 3 trail and may need ropes to assist descent for some participants.

The climbing area faces south and provides excellent climbing in fall, winter and spring. In summer, high temperatures and sun exposure must be managed carefully.   

Activities and Anchors
Register at the kiosk by the parking lot and follow the Ledge Springs trail down into the woods. The most common access trail is at the Three Bears Gully (there is a sign that marks this descent), use caution on the descent, it can be slippery at the top. The gully puts you at the Three Bears / Any Major Dude area, the Amphitheater is to climber's right (facing the crag) from here and Eight Ball is to climber's left.

The Carolina Climbers Coalition ( provides an excellent guide for this site: (version 2, 9/17/2010)

Please read and follow the Park Superintendent’s guidance on page 4, for how to enjoy the Park as a good climbing citizen!

Many routes at Pilot have bolted anchors, and all routes have a good selection of solid natural anchors like large trees, boulders and slabs. You will need long lengths of webbing for these anchors, 40-50 feet.  Static rope is also very useful for building anchors at Pilot. Protect all trees with canvas or other padding. 

Facing the Three Bears Gulley, the right, popular routes in the Little Amphitheater include:

  • Pee Break 5.6 (left route only, right is close and bolts removed)
  • Buzzards Breath 5.7
  • Grandpa’s Belay 5.7
  • Kiss My Arse (KMA) 5.8-5.10
  • Place Your Bet 5.6

To the left of the Three Bears Gulley, popular routes in the Thee Bears area include:

  • Honey Pot 5.5
  • Every Major Dudette 5.5
  • Howdy Dude 5.6

There are many popular rappelling sites at Pilot.  The easiest to setup include the large pine tree at the top of Kiss My Arse, and the large boulder at the top of Buzzard’s Breath.

Pilot Mountain Area Map


The Park has family camping on the mountain and a group site located along the Yadkin River about 30 minutes away. Contact the park office for information and reservations: 336-325-2355

Emergency Planning

  • Cell phone service is available at the parking lot but is limited at the bottom of the climbing routes.  EMS 911 service is available and you can call Surry County EMS direct (336-783-9000) or call the Park Office at 336-325-2355 for support.
  • The nearest hospital is Northern Hospital in Surry County, 12 miles north on Highway 52 in Mount Airy, NC and follow 601 North (336-719-7000). The nearest trauma hospital is Wake Forest University Baptist in Winston Salem, NC (336-716-2255.)

Getting There

From Winston Salem, follow Highway 52 North. Look for signs for Pilot Mountain State park. Take that exit, turn left and follow the signs to the park entrance just down the road on the left. Follow the park road all the way to the top and park in the back of the parking area near the overlook to be closest to the trail.