"I love Craggy Gardens!" We have said that for many years, and we hear many of our readers say it too. While it's just 20 miles from downtown Asheville, you feel far away as you climb 3,000+ feet in elevation on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Often, you walk on the clouds. On clear days, the panoramic views are unmatched in the North Carolina mountains. Trails take you across balds that are home to the famous purple-blooming rhododendron and many rare plants. Winter brings some of the harshest conditions on the east coast. Read more about Craggy Gardens.
Please help! We are partnering with the outstanding Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation to raise funds for some much needed repairs to be completed in August through October. Since this is just one of many projects that the Foundation is trying to support along the Parkway, we at RomanticAsheville.com have "adopted" Craggy. We will match all donations received on August 8-31, 2017 - up to $5,497 (the elevation of the Visitor Center). Please join this crowdfunding effort!
The Foundation is raising a total of $30,595 to rebuild the trail and create new exhibits for the Craggy Visitor Center (read details below). Our goal is to raise a third of this in just three weeks. Please help us out. Donate now to "I Love Craggy".
Please help us ensure that many future generations are able to explore these unique, magical bald summits that are home to many rare plants. All levels of donations are appreciated! You can also give in honor or memory of someone.
- If you donate $100 or more, your name will be included on the project sign that will be on display at Craggy Gardens for many years.
- In addition, the first 50 $100 donors will receive our 2018 RomanticAsheville.com wall calendar, Beautiful Blue Ridge.
ACE volunteer students building stairs on August 7th
The Craggy Gardens Trail takes you across the Craggy Flats Bald through the massive rhododendron gardens. It connects the picnic grounds to the Visitor Center. Read more. Built in the 1970s, the trail has become very rutted with multiple tracks. During the frequent rains, these ruts become eroding streams causing more damage.
A volunteer crew of 10 from the American Conservation Experience will rebuild the trail in a sustainable way. What a valuable learning experience for these young adults (ages 18-25) who are exploring outdoor careers! They learn from mentors and NPS staff as emerging leaders in conservation. So it's a win-win! Trail work will be completed by mid September.
The crumbling stone overlook atop Craggy Knob will be re-purposed by the work crew.
The 65-year-old Visitor Center needs sprucing up. The existing faded exhibits inside will be replaced by professionally designed educational displays to tell the story of air quality, weather, climate and vegetation in this rare environment.
Unfortunately, the Blue Ridge Parkway (a unit of the National Park Service) has $517 million in deferred maintenance due to budget cuts. Meanwhile, the Parkway is the second most visited NPS site with 15.2 million visitors a year. It's free to visit 365 days a year. Many other national parks charge admission.
The view from atop Craggy Pinnacle is one of our favorite vistas in the North Carolina mountains.
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is the primary nonprofit fundraising partner, 501c3, of the Blue Ridge Parkway, helping ensure cultural and historical preservation, natural resource protection, educational outreach, and visitor enjoyment now and for future generations. The Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. They have worked with donors to invest more than $12 million in critical projects along the scenic road. Read more about them.
Other Community Partners
See other hard-working non-profits we support. They are making Western North Carolina a better place to visit and live. Coming soon: Our 2018 Calendar Fundraiser for Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.
This 1946 postcard shows visitors admiring the rhododendron blooms at the parking area for Craggy Pinnacle (from the UNC Library / NPS).