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Craggy Pinnacle Hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Also see: Craggy Gardens | Top 50 Hikes | Blue Ridge Parkway Overview | Glassmine Falls | Parkway Visitor Center | Folk Art Center | Mt. Mitchell | Mt. Craig | Mountains to Sea Trail | Roan Mountain | Rattlesnake Lodge Trail | Winter at Craggy | Top 15 Best NC Mountain Views
Craggy Pinnacle Mountain View
View from Craggy Pinnacle (elevation 5,892'), looking south down the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center.

Craggy Pinnacle Hike
Bring your camera!

Craggy Pinnacle Hike
Rhododendron in bloom along the trail in June.

Craggy Pinnacle Hike
Our favorite twisted tree along the hike.

Craggy Pinnacle Trail a short mile-high hike with huge rewards of the best mountain views. It's only a 1.4-mile roundtrip hike to the top of the 5,892-foot summit at Craggy Gardens. The exceptional panoramic 360-degree views are hard to beat in Western North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. The hiking trail goes through tunnels of rhododendron, gnarled sweet birch trees and wildflowers. Near the top, there are side trails to explore.

From the Craggy Gardens visitor's center, drive north through a short tunnel and pull into the next parking area on the left for the trail. The elevation at the parking lot is 5,640 feet, so you only climb 252 feet in elevation on the trail. It's not difficult. Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 364.4, it's free to visit. Plus, it's a great spot to watch the sunrise or sunset. If you watch the sunset, be sure to take a flashlight to help you get back to your car.

During June, enjoy the beautiful purple blooms of the Catawba rhododendron. This heath bald doesn't have any large trees. Instead, you'll find shrubs (like rhododendron and mountain laurel) and even blueberry bushes. Look for the trail sign in the parking area. The trail is easy to follow. As you walk up the hill, stop to admire the twisted birch tree that has created a bonsai-look (great photo spot). This tree tells the story of the harsh weather on this peak, especially in the winter.

Near the top, you'll see a bench where the trail forks for the summit and lower overlook. Since the hike is short, you should see both! The summit overlook has three small areas with rock walls to sit and enjoy. Don't venture past the rock walls since there is fragile, endangered species here in this sensitive habitat. From the summit overlook, you will see our favorite mountain view in North Carolina. To the north, you can see Mount Mitchell. To the west, you can even see I-26 as it crosses Tennessee. To the south, look down at the Blue Ridge Parkway visitor center for Craggy Gardens and look across at the Craggy picnic shelter (another fun hike). To the east, look down at Asheville's water reservoir, North Fork.

While this lofty hike is only 24 miles from downtown Asheville, it can often be 15-20 degrees cooler. The weather can change quickly. If you are greeted by low clouds and fog, wait a bit. The weather can change rapidly. This section of the Parkway is closed much of the winter, so the hike is not accessible then.

Sunrise from Craggy Pinnacle
A fabulous fall mountain sunrise from the Pinnacle at Craggy Gardens.
It's also a great spot for a sunset picnic.

Craggy Pinnacle Fall Color
Fall color arrives early at Craggy Gardens. See our Fall Color Guide.

Fall Color Craggy Pinnacle, Blue Ridge Parkway

Watch a fall sunrise along the Blue Ridge Parkway from atop Craggy Pinnacle.

NC Mountain View
Another view from Craggy Pinnacle. There are many fragile habitats with rare plants. Please stay on the designated trails. See a trail map.

Craggy Pinnacle

Craggy Gardens
A view from the trail, looking north toward Mt. Mitchell.

Hiking Trail Map - Craggy Gardens

Download and print a PDF of the Craggy Trail Map.

Driving Directions: Simply drive north on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 364.4) from Asheville, about 18 miles north of the Folk Art Center on the Parkway (near U.S. 70 exit). This section of the Parkway closes frequently during the winter for snow and ice. Road closures and conditions, along with weather reports, are available by calling the Parkway information line at (828) 298-0398.

 

     
     

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RomanticAsheville.com Travel Guide, an insider's vacation planner for Asheville and North Carolina Mountains.
Writing & Photography By Mark File - ©2003-2014 File Investments, Inc - All Rights Reserved
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