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Pilot Mountain Holiday Hike

posted Dec 12, 2016, 8:13 AM by Justin P   [ updated Dec 15, 2016, 6:27 AM ]

Last Sunday, we headed out for our annual holiday hike at Pilot Mountain.  Sandy and I left a little early and to get a waterfall on the way.  Near Yadkinville, we got off US-421 and drove just a short ways to the pull-off for Shore-Styers Mill Park.  It was quite cold this morning, but just a short walk to the waterfall.

Right past the gate, a short path led down to the base of the waterfall.  Although only about 10 feet high, it was quite scenic and rather impressive to be so far east of the mountains.

After a couple pictures, we headed back to the car and drove the rest of the way to the main entrance of Pilot Mountain State Park.  We met up with our friends at the visitor center and began our hike up to the top of the mountain.  Starting off on Grindstone Trail, there was some up and down as the trail follows the main park road and then soon began ascending in earnest.  When we got to the second split, we went right to get on Ledge Springs Trail.  Leading past the cliffs on Little Pinnacle, this is my favorite trail in the park.  With lots of big rock steps, it’s fairly strenuous, but I love the massive stone cliffs and outcrops.

Even in the cold weather, we saw a couple groups of people rock climbing.  At the end of the trail, we turned right on Jomeokee Trail to head out to the Big Pinnacle.  It was cold and windy here, so we found a nice sheltered area to stop and eat lunch.  Even sheltered, it was pretty cold here, so after lunch, we continued on around the pinnacle.  I stopped for a picture of the “bonsai” tree growing out of the face of the pinnacle.

We finished up the loop and then made a stop at the Little Pinnacle Overlook with the best views of Pilot Mountain and the Sauratown Mountains in the background.

I also made a quick stop at the other overlook at the end of the Sassafras Trail.  It was further down the mountain so the views aren’t as good here.

After some pictures and a stop in the heated bathrooms, we started hiking down the mountain on Grindstone Trail.  At the second split, we turned left on Mountain Trail to hike around the flank of the mountain and back to the visitor center.  Back at the cars, we headed into Pilot Mountain for dinner at Tlaquepaque.  After dinner and drinks, we drove a short ways up the road to the Pilot Mountain Christmas lights.

We came on a Sunday as it would be a little less crowded than Friday or Saturday, but there were still a lot of people here.  After parking, we walked around for about 30 minutes enjoying the amazing Christmas light display.

Unlike some displays that are set up by an entire town, this was just a family decorating their property.  They had been doing it for 50 years, with most of that in Florida, but this would be their last.

With over 750,000 lights, it was an impressive display and I’m glad we got to see it in the final year.