In the last two posts, we discussed the Craggy Gardens picnic area and the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center. In this post, we’ll be discussing the final stop in our Craggy tour…the Craggy Pinnacle. The Craggy Pinnacle is the highest point in the Craggy Gardens area, and really packs a punch, as far as views go. So, let’s find out what we can expect as we ascend to the pinnacle (and the end) of our tour of Craggy Gardens!
The Craggy Pinnacle trail begins at the Craggy Dome Overlook, just a short drive north from the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center. This easy .7 mile hike is probably the shortest trail with the biggest payoff the Blue Ridge Parkway has to offer. It’s uphill the entire way to the top, but there are some places to stop along the way to take in some views and to catch your breath. Be sure to check out views of Craggy Dome from the parking lot, as well as panoramic views west into Tennessee before you begin to venture up.
The trail begins at the upper parking level of the Craggy Dome Overlook. You’ll climb some stairs and the trail will then begin to your right. You’re immediately greeted with a welcoming rhododendron tunnel, and it’s like that the majority of the trip up.
About halfway up, the trail begins to clear a bit, and you’ll be greeted with some decent long range views.
Once near the top, you’ll be provided with the option to head to the upper overlook, or to the lower overlook. Most people stay left and head straight for the upper overlook, and I feel that’s really the best plan. Though, if you have time to kill, explore both areas. The upper overlook provides 360º views…and probably some of the best views on the Parkway. It does get a bit crowded during summer months, but it is totally worth the congestion. There really are no bad times to visit…but i would suggest either early mornings for spectacular sunrises, or evenings close to sunset for some really breathtaking views.
Just like the majority of the Craggy Gardens area, be careful not to wonder off of clear paths. Many of the plants you’ll see and encounter are endangered or rare, and it would be a shame to have this delicate environment ruined.
That brings us to the end of our tour around the Craggy Gardens area. Click the links below to read the first two posts.
Leave comments below about your favorite Craggy Garden area or memory. Happy exploring!