An easy and wonderful walk to one of the best views on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, as the Parkway passes through the Craggy Gardens, is the very beautiful and popular Craggy Pinnacle which you can easily reach via a 20 minute hike on a well maintained trail up the side of the peak. The total hike is only 1.4 miles and offers one of the best views along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The overlooks at the summit provide a full 360 degree view of the surrounding hills and mountains and is a wonderful spot to view the sunrise or sunset.
The Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Trail is located at about Milepost 364.4 along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Craggy Dome Overlook. It is just North of the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center after the Craggy Pinnacle Tunnel. There is signage on the Parkway and a large multi-level parking area but this can be a very popular spot which becomes crowded during the late spring and summer months when the rhododendrons are in bloom. There are not any restroom facilities at the trailhead but there are restrooms at the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center which is just 1/10 of a mile South on the Parkway. The facilities are available when the visitor center is open from Memorial Day through October. Craggy Gardens is only about 40 minutes from Asheville North Carolina.
The trailhead starts at the stairs on the uphill side of the upper lot of the parking area. The trailhead is clearly marked at the top of the stairs next to the informative signboard about the Rhododendrons that light up the mountains usually from late-May to mid-June. If you are lucky enough to be visiting during this time, you are in for a real treat!
The trail to the overlooks is going to be all uphill but it is short but not too strenuous . It is very well maintained and it is a wonderful experience to walk through tunnels of rhododendrons and short trees. The area does live up to its name as the trail is a bit craggy but before you know it the trail levels off at the split between the upper and lower overlooks. There is also a bench here if you need to take a rest. Both overlooks offer exceptional views and since the path to each from this point isn’t very far, you really should plan on visiting both the upper and lower overlooks.
We started with the upper overlook which is just a short uphill jaunt from the split. It is a very large area with views in all directions. There are benches, an informative signboard, and plenty of space to enjoy the breathtaking mountain views. This is one of those spots that makes you want to linger and enjoy the moment.
The lower overlook is also a very large area with great views. While you don’t get the full 360 degree views like at the upper overlook, you do get beautiful views of the hills from a slightly lower perspective with the rugged terrain in view. The view is almost endless as the mountains roll off into the horizon.
There are also a few spur trails from the summit region with various other views available. Just make sure to heed the signage present in order to preserve the fragile mountain habitat.
This is an out and back hike so when you’ve finished enjoying the views of Craggy Pinnacle, hike safely back to the parking area.