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Craggy Gardens, North Carolina in 1 Day

Guest post by dzr1107

Map tips: Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.

Living near Charlotte, this area of the Blue Ridge Parkway is an easy 3 hour drive and makes this a great day trip.  If you are already in the area, it’s a scenic addition to your trip. 

We got to the Craggy Garden Visitor Center (closed currently, but portajohns) around 11am and had ample parking. The center was full as we were leaving around noon.  The trail starts to the left of the parking lot and goes through a tunnel-like path for about a quarter mile.  We visited the third weekend of June, and while there were plenty of blooms I believe we missed the peak. It’s still very pretty.  At a quarter of a mile you reach a shelter. Go upwards (to the left) to reach a grassy knoll with rhododendrons and gorgeous mountain views.  It’s a great spot to picnic and explore.  We continued on the proper trail but turned around before reaching the picnic area. Views were the same alley of rhotos.

We then drove about a mile further on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Trail.  This is a turn off and has a smaller parking lot, but was not as full.  It’s a 0.7 walk, mostly uphill to the pinnacle, but is easy to do (pregnant lady approved).  At the top, you’re rewarded with 360 views of the rolling mountains.

If you are in the area, I recommend both trails since they’re short and provide different views. The Pinnacle Trail has better mountain views and the Gardens/Visitor Center has better flower/vegetation views.  I think that these views are better than the overlooks between Craggy Gardens and Interstate 40.

Traveled in June 2020

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