DATE:
Fall 2020
& Winter 2022

Out & Back
~ 1 mile

ELEVATION GAIN:
~ 242 ft

LOCATION:
Barnardsville, NC
Blue Ridge Parkway

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It’s hard to beat the awe-inspiring mountain views of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. Craggy Pinnacle trail is a short/easy trail with a large panoramic viewing platform at the top and another smaller platform just below. Since this is a short hike with a spectacular pay-off, it is CROWDED! If busy hikes are not your thing, I would definitely avoid a weekend day here. It would probably be best to go early in the morning on a weekday. We enjoy trails where we see a few people along the way, but not a constant stream of people. Our boys are full of energy, so when it is crowded I feel like I have to continuously be reminding them to settle down and be mindful of everyone else around. While teaching trail etiquette is very important, I also like to get the boys in the woods so they can run, play, and be kids. So all that being said, crowded trails are not our favorite. The views at Craggy Pinnacle have definitely been worth the two trips we have taken here though!

One important thing to do before going to any trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway is to check for road closures. You can go to www.nps.gov for more info. The other thing to be mindful of with this trail, is that there are a lot of rare plant species growing here. There is signage at the beginning of the trail and in certain areas along the trail to be sure to stay on trail and avoid stomping on plants. Just to be clear, our pictures were all taken from established parts of the trail and we did not climb over any rock walls or barriers for photo ops.

There is a large parking area at the trail head. The trail is very well marked and maintained. There are a few areas with beautiful views along the way, but the breathtaking views are at the top. There is a small climb at the very end, but overall I would definitely rate this trail as easy.

Just before you reach the viewing platforms, there is a large open grassy area. There is a fork to the left. If you take the right part of the fork, it will take you to the lower viewing platform which gives you a 180 degree view. If you take the left part of the fork, it will take you to the upper viewing area which will give you 360 degree views of the mountains.

The first time we went on this trail, the upper viewing platform was so crowded that the views were not 360 degrees simply because of the number of people. The second time, it was a cooler, windy, and cloudy day so we were able to move around the platform and take in the views peaking out from behind the clouds.

The lower viewing platform seemed to stay less crowded both times that we went.

Overall, I think this is a beautiful and easy hike to do on a clear day. If we ever go again, we will definitely try to go on an early weekday morning. This would be a great choice for a beginner hiker as the trail is straight forward and short. The changing leaves in the fall or the rhododendrons blooming in June are both perfect times to visit Craggy and the Blue Ridge Parkway!