Pilot Cove-Slate Rock Trail

Pilot Cove Loop

I'll be honest, this one wasn't planned. I was in need of an impromptu hike and I remembered reading about the Pilot Cove Loop in one of my guidebooks. I didn't know why exactly I remembered it but figured if it had caught my attention then it must be a halfway decent place to spend a couple hours.

In fact, I was right. Located in the eastern part of the Pisgah Ranger District between the Pink Beds and the North Mills River Recreation Area, Pilot Cove occupies a relatively quiet corner of the National Forest in the shadow of nearby Mount Pisgah. The loop itself is only moderate in difficulty and is primarily a walk through the woods with the exception of the fine views you get from Slate Rock, a large open ledge with wonderful views over Pilot Cove and beyond. On this particular day rain was in the forecast, indeed thunder was rumbling all around when I set out. Expecting rain I tried to get to the overlook before the inevitable storm broke but arrived just a few minutes too late. After waiting out the rain for a bit I did get some decent post storm views but nothing like I was hoping for. Even so, the loop did a good job of giving me what i was looking for...an enjoyable couple hours of solitude in the woods. I don't doubt I'll be back, hopefully on a bit sunnier day.

Come on along with me and see what I found...

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:  35.383319, -82.714869

Route Type: Loop      Difficulty: CHALLENGING (Petzoldt Rating: 5.30 )      Hike Length: 3.5 miles      Hike Duration: 2:15      Trailhead Temp: 75'F                               Trail Traffic: 1-5 people      Min. Elevation: 3,115'      Max. Elevation: 3,900'      Total Vertical Gain: 900'      Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 257'

Trails Used (Blaze Color): Pilot Cove-Slate Rock (blue), Pilot Cove Loop (yellow)