With its twisted birch trees and gnarly rocks, the Craggy Pinnacle hiking trail felt like a walk through a Harry Potter set. Especially in the narrow areas of the trail, where the trees grew out of the rocks and the crooked branches hung overhead.
Anytime we are near Asheville we head for the Blue Ridge Parkway. As one of our favorite National Parks, it never disappoints and neither did Craggy Pinnacle. The trail not only lived up to its awesome name, but its three epic lookout points provided us stunning autumn views across the Blue Ridge.
Though the Blue Ridge Parkway is gorgeous any time of year, we particularly love to visit in fall for the changing of the leaves. The downside, it’s also one of the busiest times in the park, and who doesn’t hate crowded hiking?
With its proximity to Asheville, the hike to Craggy Pinnacle was super busy on our visit. However, not everyone realized there were three lookout points, so we still managed to have the best vista to ourselves.
Craggy Pinnacle Hiking Trail
Starting off at the Craggy Dome parking lot on the Blue Ridge Parkway (mile marker 364), we already had great views just getting out of the car.
The trail itself was short, just 1.4 miles round trip. Stones and tree roots formed part of the moderate ranked hiking trail. As it ascended 252 feet, we found parts of it a little steep, but manageable.
As we neared the top, we had three choices. As we already knew from our trusty Blue Ridge hiking guide, all three paths led to lookouts. It didn’t really matter which one we chose.
Craggy Pinnacle 360-Degree Lookout Point
We decided to start at the top and work our way down. Following the path to our left, we made our way to the very top viewpoint.
With stunning 360-degree views, the lookout was very poplar. Despite the wind, a lot of folks took pause as they sat to enjoy the spectacular view from Craggy Pinnacle. However, the viewing area was large enough for us to easily find space to set up a tripod for some photos.
The Secret Viewpoint
As we headed down from the top lookout platform, we took the left to reach the second lookout. This trail was much narrower. It almost felt overgrown, though easy enough to get through.
It wound downward, then opened to a stunning view of the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center down below. To the right, a perfectly aligned shot of the valley. As it was lower than the top lookout, I felt it gave a nicer angle with some better placed foreground.
Sheltered from the wind, we perched ourselves on the rocks to take in the view. We were there probably about 15-20 minutes and not one person joined us. It was as if we were there all alone, and we couldn’t have been happier.
The Third Lookout
Our final lookout was the one on our right as we ascended the hiking trail. The path was short and wide. Though it doesn’t have the view of the other two, it does get you a closer look at the valley below. Plus, the trails to all three lookouts are really short, so worth the extra few feet to check out.
Where To Stay Near Asheville, NC
Asheville makes a great base for the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a big enough city with lots of things to do, but with that small town vibe. Stay in the center of town or on the outskirts, you can’t go wrong.
- For some Victorian era charm try The 1899 Wright Inn & Carriage House bed and breakfast. A little outside of town, but that makes it quiet with free parking.
- To stay closer to the attractions and the breweries, the Kimpton Hotel offers stunning accommodation with a prime location.
- Another popular option are holiday homes and cabins. Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds is in an amazingly convenient location, close to the city and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Plus, they offer various size houses in a serene location.
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