Craggy Pinnacle Hike on Blue Ridge Parkway

Craggy Pinnacle Hike, Blue Ridge Parkway

This short mile-high hike offers huge rewards. It's only a 1.4-mile round-trip hike to the top of the 5,892-ft. summit, Craggy Pinnacle. 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.

To get to the trailhead 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 ft., so you only climb 252 ft. in elevation on the trail. It's not difficult. Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 364.1, 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.

Craggy Pinnacle

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, the trail forks for the summit and lower overlooks. Since the hike is short, you should see both! The summit overlook has three small areas with rock walls to sit and enjoy our favorite mountain view in North Carolina. Don't venture past the rock walls since there are fragile, endangered species here in this sensitive habitat. To the north, you can see Mount Mitchell. To the west, you 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.

Craggy Pinnacle

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

Double your fun by hiking across the bald visible from the Pinnacle on the Craggy Gardens Trail that starts at the Visitor Center. Read more.

Craggy Pinnacle

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. Read more about current Parkway closures.

I Love Craggy FundraiserThank you for helping us raise funds for much needed repairs at Craggy. Read more!

Watch our video of the sunrise from atop Craggy Pinnacle:

Mount Mitchell (elevation 6,684 ft.) is the highest point east of the Mississippi River, and it's easy and free for all to enjoy. Located 35 miles northeast of downtown Asheville, reach Mount... read more
The fall foliage show in the mountains and foothills surrounding Asheville in western North Carolina brings a kaleidoscope of leaf colors for many weeks. Our Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains have... read more
Where to picnic in our Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains near Asheville? While possibilities in our many national and state parks and forests are endless, here are some of our favorite places and... read more
Looking for a great winter hike? Bundle up and head to the Appalachian Trail at Roan Mountain, located near Bakersville... read more
Graveyard Fields is a very popular hiking trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 418.8) south of Asheville. The Yellowstone Prong is the water source for two... read more