Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Elevation Gain274ft
Trailhead Elevation5,656ft
Elevation Min/Max5656/5886ft
Elevation Start/End5656/5656ft

Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Craggy Pinnacle Trail is a hiking trail in Buncombe County, North Carolina. It is within Blue Ridge Parkway. It is 0.5 miles long and begins at 5,656 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 274 feet. The Craggy Dome Overlook and Craggy Dome Overlook parkings are near the trailhead. There is also a viewpoint. The trail ends near Craggy Pinnacle (elevation 5,840 feet) and the Lower Overlook and Summit Overlook viewpoints.

Craggy Pinnacle Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The best time of year to hike in the Craggy Gardens area is mid to late June, simply for the magnificent show of the pinkish-purple Catawba rhododendron blooms. But the scenic views from the summit of Craggy Pinnacle make this a worthy hike any time of year that the Blue Ridge Parkway is accessible to this point.

Due to the high elevation (close to 5900 feet), the winter months can bring hazardous driving conditions with snow, ice, and slick roads, forcing the Park Service to close off access. Always call the parkway’s automated road and weather condition phone number before heading out."

"The Great Craggy Mountains feature the closest balds to Asheville, and those mountain summits reveal some of the best views in Western North Carolina. This combo hike will take you on two short out-and-back trails. On the first segment, you will follow the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) to the rhododendron-dotted summit at Craggy Gardens. Then, after a short car shuttle, the second portion of the hike sends you to the top of Craggy Pinnacle for great views of the North Fork Reservoir and neighboring Craggy Dome."

"The Blue Ridge Parkway is peppered along its 469-mile length with great leg-stretcher trails, paths that don’t go more than a mile in length but vastly exceed that in scope. Craggy Gardens is among the best of this genre."

"Get ready for some fun. You have a solid 10 miles of spectacular downhill into Asheville. You’ll gain it back if you are cycling on to Mount Pisgah, but for now, enjoy. Pisgah National Forest spreads its lush blanket of green as far as the eye can see. The Swannanoa River Valley and the town of Black Mountain are to the east."

"How can names like Craggy Gardens, Craggy Dome, and Craggy Pinnacle not inspire hikers? Visible from all over northwest North Carolina, these barren crests offer awesome views. As the Blue Ridge Parkway climbs from Asheville, the sun often disappears in a Craggies-caused microclimate. Summits and clouds coalesce, lending the area the feel of much higher mountains. Be prepared for a truly peak experience.

This part of the Parkway possesses some of the high road’s most dramatic scenery. You’ll swear the treeless Craggies compare with Scotland. Craggy Gardens is one of the best places to savor the beauty of the seemingly alpine balds and the late-June rhododendron bloom. This guide includes Craggy Pinnacle Trail and Craggy Gardens Trail and Mountains-to-Sea Trail."

"Enjoy one of the Parkway’s most inspiring 360-degree views from atop mysterious mountaintop meadows. Any Parkway motorist will likely agree that the Craggy Mountains' seemingly alpine, treeless environment represents some of the high road's most dramatic scenery. These balds are among the most unique ecosystems in the Southern Appalachians.

The late-bloom of rhododendron across the balds is one of the Southern Appalachians' premier natural events. Theories about the balds speculate that fires claimed the trees and made the soil unsuitable for immediate reforestation."

"Great views from spectacular mountaintop balds recommend two Craggy Gardens hikes of different lengths. The Craggy Gardens Trail rises into the woods and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail goes right at 0.1 mile.

Beyond, the path climbs gradually through a marvelously cylindrical rhododendron tunnel. This first section of the hike is a self-guiding nature trail, with resting benches and signs identifying plants."

"How can names like Craggy Gardens, Craggy Dome, and Craggy Pinnacle not be magnets for hikers? Visible from almost any corner of northwest North Carolina, these barren crests of the Craggy Mountains offer awesome views. The Craggies’ seemingly alpine, treeless environment is a one- of-a-kind ecosystem, and Craggy Gardens is one of the best places to experience the Southern balds.

The balds come in two varieties—grassy and heath. Grassy balds may be best exemplified by the meadow- covered crest of Roan Mountain, on the North Carolina–Tennessee state line west of the Parkway There are grassy balds atop the Craggies, but you’ll also see heath balds—extensive crests covered in rhododendron, mountain laurel, blueberries, and other plants of the heath community. The mountaineers called them “slicks,” and “hells,” which you would readily understand if you ever tried to bushwhack through one."

Craggy Pinnacle Trail Reviews

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The Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina is really a beautiful place. This is a short hike and easy but it's really a wonderful place to see some amazing views. Sometimes it can be crowded though. One of the best times to go if you can make it is during sunrise or sunset which looks unbelievable from the view at the outlook.
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This is a short trail but very beautiful when the flowers are in bloom and the scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains are incredible. It can be very crowded at times though. If you can make it, going at sunrise or sunset would beat the crowds and make the 360 degree views at the top amazing.
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This section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is very scenic and has many good trails and views. Have driven this section many times .
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I'm a local, and frequent these trails. Quick, short, beautiful trails with enough hill to make me feel like I did something!Often get caught in the clouds up there(which is a neat experience itself) and other times have amazing views!
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I've hiked this trail down to Douglass Falls - one of the best spots in WNC - many times and it's well worth the effort. However, one should be aware that during hunting season there are bear hunters with rifles loaded using the trail system at Craggy Gardens and hunting bear near Douglass Falls.

Craggy Pinnacle Trail Photos

Trail Information

Blue Ridge Parkway
Nearby City
Blue Ridge Parkway
Views, Wildflowers
Craggy Gardens
Local Contacts
USGS Craggy Pinnacle; Craggy Gardens map available in season at visitor center and online at
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018