This lookout hike probably ranks as one of my top activities so far in Asheville. Although it takes about 45 minutes to get there from downtown Asheville, majority of the drive takes the Blue Ridge Parkway through the mountains, offering spectacular views for those who aren’t scared of heights.
Perched a little beyond the visitor’s center is the trailhead of the Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Hike. This path is just a short 1.4 mile roundtrip hike up to the top of Craggy Pinnacle, at 5,892 feet. While the second half of the hike is steep with some stairs, the lookout is well worth the climb. I would consider this hike relatively short and easy, and those who aren’t big into hiking can still take their time on the way up to enjoying the view. You will pass through rhododendron, sweet birch, wildflowers, and even pass a small rock shelter. Leading from the parking area, it takes you through what looks like a passageway to a secret garden, with twisted trees and lots of flowers.
View from the trailhead
There is a lower lookout, which is worth checking out, however the top lookout offers the best experience. From the summit, you get a 360 degree look at the Blue Ridge Mountains. Looking straight across from the top lookout, you can see a patch of flowers, which is the actual Craggy Gardens area. There is also a picnic area prior to the visitor’s center that is a great place to stop before the hike.
Craggy Pinnacle lookout
Even though it might be a bit of a drive, this trail is WELL worth it. For the best experience, take a bottle of wine or hot chocolate, and enjoy the incredible sunset Craggy offers.
Sunset at Craggy Pinnacle