We made it to the top! We hiked 6 miles to the top of Pilot Mountain! Boy, I wish I could say those words in anything but a sarcastic tone. Truth be told we did not hike to the top of Pilot Mountain, but we did make it to the top!
It started out like the rest of our road trips had this summer. Drew and I and our three dogs crammed into our little Ford Focus heading out for a weekend of fun. We knew we where hiking so we packed water for us and the dogs along with dog and people food. We drove a few hours to get to Pilot Mountain State Park and all of us were very excited to start hiking. When we pulled in there was a parking lot and visitor station right off the road. With us being “experts” we didn’t think about asking information about the trail we just grabbed our backpacks, and the dogs and headed onto the trail. The trail that said it was a 6 mile roundtrip hike from where we were starting out.
The dogs in their excitement pulled us along as we walked the stunning trail. Quick tip if it has rained recently there are plenty of streams for your dogs to drink from so no need to bring water, unless you have a dog that is scared of streams, lakes and rivers like we do. We walked for a goo 20 minutes before we spotted another parking lot. Curiously enough the trail also crossed the road a few times. When we passed yet another parking lot Drew commented that perhaps we should have driven a little further before beginning our hike as our dogs were starting to loose their pep.
Finally after 2 miles into the mostly uphill hike we threw in the towel. The dogs were trailing behind us and didn’t want to keep walking and honestly we were done too. We decided we would come back in the fall after we have had some time to build up everyone’s stamina. After gracefully (or not so gracefully) admitting defeat Drew mentioned that the path crossed the road numerous times and we should be able to follow the road and get back to the car quicker. So we followed the road, that took us through a beautiful campground (highly recommend tent camping here!) and back down to our car.
To say we were more than a little disappointed about not making it to the top was an understatement but we decided to drive along the road up the mountain to see if we could find any good view points. The road took us straight to the top. No seriously we made it to the top and it was gorgeous. Lesson learned. Definitely ask for information when you visit a new state or national park. We could have learned there was more parking lots further up the hill to lessen the hike, or that we could just drive to the top then relax and hike at our leisure.
All this to say if you are in the area Pilot Mountain State Park is a beautiful place to hike and camp. Remember to stop at the visitor center for information and also that the trail can honestly be as long or short as you want it to be.