Pilot Cove-Slate Rock Trail #320

4.31 mi - Moderate - This trail begins by following Slate Rock Creek. This is an easy to moderate grade with several stream crossings. Slate Rock Creek is typical of mountain streams, with small cascades and an abundance of mosses and ferns. In the summer, wildflowers are prolific. The trail leaves Slate Rock Creek after almost 3 miles and climbs up Slate Rock Ridge. Here, at the gap, the Pilot Cove Loop (#320A) intersects to the left. Continue straight ahead and your trail will descend to Pilot Cove. You will pass through some open grassy fields before crossing the creek. The trail loops away from the stream for approximately ¼ mile (in deference to a former beaver pond, now only a boggy area), before crossing and paralleling it again. Shortly thereafter you will pass the other end of Pilot Cove Loop, and then return to FS 1206. A left turn onto the road will take you back to the eastern trailhead. *Since it is a 1½-mile walk back to the start point, many hikers opt for a car shuttle.

At a Glance

Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Mountain Biking Trail: Mountain biking and hiking trail. Bikers please yield to hikers. Mountain biking prohibited in wilderness areas.
Water: yes
Restroom: none
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information

Directions: From the Pisgah District Ranger Station/Visitor Center parking lot, turn right (north) onto US 276, proceed 10 miles, then turn right onto FS 1206 (Yellow Gap Road). After approximately 5¼ miles, you will pass the western trailhead and parking area, at Pilot Cove Creek. (If you plan to do a car shuttle,* leave one of your vehicles here. There is room for two vehicles at the trailhead, and a spot for two more nearby.) Proceed another 1½ miles to the concrete bridge that crosses Slate Rock Creek. The eastern end of the trail begins on the left, next to the creek.


Mountain Biking

Day Hiking