I love the colors of fall, and this past week the leaves were so bright and beautiful on the trees in our town. And every time I saw them, it reminded me of a place we need to go back to and soon: Craggy Pinnacle in North Carolina. The colors there must be amazing!
We discovered Craggy Pinnacle this past summer. It had been a busy season for the whole family with summer jobs and lots of projects. But we also wanted to make sure we visited at least a few places we had never been before. One of those was Craggy Pinnacle.
On a morning when everyone was off of work, we packed a picnic lunch, loaded up the car, and headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not exactly sure where we were going, we followed the GPS along the parkway to the visitor’s center, which unfortunately was still closed. There was a path near the center for the trek to Craggy Gardens, but we were looking for a shorter trail, as one of my teenagers doesn’t like hiking. A little further and we found the parking lot for Craggy Pinnacle. It was about 9 in the morning, and ours was only the second car in the parking lot.
We found the path and started up. The hike to the top isn’t long – it’s less than a mile. The path is surrounded with rhododendron, which unfortunately weren’t blooming when we went. But there were plenty of butterflies – I’m not sure why – all along the parkway and the path. While the hike wasn’t strenuous, it was uphill and the ground was uneven, which may make it more difficult for some to maneuver.
There are lots of points of interest on the way up. There are some gnarled trees with sprawling roots growing along the side of the path. A couple of them have fallen, but they are still alive. Signs along the way indicate where fragile, rare plants are growing. Blueberry bushes also line part of the path.
We made our way to summit, an area at the top hemmed in by a small rock wall. From there, we had a spectacular 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. With only a few other hikers at the top, we were able to take our time as we sat on the benches, enjoyed the cool wind, and marveled at the scenery.
On the way back down, we passed many more visitors on their way up, and by the time we got to the bottom, the parking lot was nearly full. We were pleased at ourselves for choosing such a good time of day to come, but we thought of all the other times we’d like to go, especially in the fall. Even my non-hiking teen enjoyed it!
Hike: 1.4 mi round-trip
Lowest Elevation: 5660
Highest Elevation: 5892
Starting Point: Craggy Dome Overlook at Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 364
You can find out more about Craggy Pinnacle here!