Craggy Pinnacle: Short Hike with SPECTACULAR Views

Short and steep hike to long-range mountain vistas

The Craggy Pinnacle trail is a popular destination because of its proximity to Asheville, the short length and the rewarding views. It’s an excellent one to add to your itinerary if you want to summit a mountain near Asheville but don’t have time for a full-day hike.

This guide to the Craggy Pinnacle trail shares everything to know before your next Blue Ridge Parkway adventure. From how to access it, where to park and what to expect, this guide shares all!

View from Devil's Courthouse trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Craggy Pinnacle Quick Facts

Trailhead location: Blue Ridge Parkway Mile 364

Trail length: 1.4 miles out and back

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation change: 250 feet all uphill from the parking lot to the peak

Distance from downtown Asheville: 20 miles

Drive time from downtown Asheville: 40 minutes

Trail Condition: Rocky dirt path

About Craggy Pinnacle

Craggy Pinnacle is a rocky peak in the Great Craggy Mountains, a subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The trail to the top offers a pretty short hike up to 360 degree mountain views. The peak is a rocky outcropping with views available in every direction.

View of the Craggy Gardens visitor center at the top of the Craggy Pinnacle

It’s a kid-friendly hike, which is noteworthy because not all hikes that are great for kids will end in such magnificent views.

Craggy Pinnacle is a very popular trail and can get quite busy, especially on the weekends. It’s narrow at times so if you go on a busy day you’ll want to use hiker’s etiquette when passing others. If possible, let uphill hikers have the right of way.

Directions to Craggy Pinnacle Trailhead

The Craggy Pinnacle trailhead is located at the Craggy Dome overlook parking area at milepost 364 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

As you’re driving on the parkway from Asheville, you will see an overlook ahead sign for the parking area 3/10 past the Craggy Pinnacle tunnel.

The drive from Asheville takes about 40 minutes with views along the way. You’ll pass the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center and trail just before you get to the parking lot.

Map of Craggy Gardens trails

It’s worth stopping at both Craggy Gardens and the Pinnacle Trail if you have the time. The picnic area has a ton of picnic tables and there are restrooms on-site. Another option is to take the quick and easy hike to the meadow from the Visitor Center and have a picnic there. You’ll want to bring a blanket if you opt for this!

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Craggy Pinnacle Parking

There is a fairly large parking lot at the Craggy Dome Overlook, but it can fill up due to the trail’s popularity. The parking lot area makes a loop, so you can circle around if needed while waiting for a spot.

There are porta-potty restroom facilities located in the parking lot. The trailhead is located on the uphill side of the parking lot and clearly marked.

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Hiking The Craggy Pinnacle Trail

The hike to the peak of Craggy Pinnacle is short, steep and rewarding.

The trail begins at the Craggy Dome overlook parking area. You’ll see the trailhead marker up the hill from the upper tier of the parking lot.

Once you set out on the trail, you will immediately start the uphill climb through the woods to the panoramic vistas at the peak. The trail can be narrow at times, requiring you to maneuver to avoid oncoming hikers.

A Note On Hiking Etiquette

Hikers heading uphill should have the right of way when possible. Those descending the trail should step aside to make space. Also, make sure to stay on the trail! Don’t go off the trail unless you are yielding.

Along the trail, you will see rock faces and interesting trees that are fun photo-ops for kids. As you approach the peak you can follow the trail spurs that take you to lower overlooks, or you can stay left to continue on to the summit of Craggy Pinnacle.

View from the Craggy Pinnacle Summit

From the peak, you will be able to see Craggy Dome to the north and Craggy Gardens to the south. You will also be able to see the Black Mountains, home to Mt. Mitchell State Park to the northeast and Burnett Reservoir to the Southeast.

After enjoying the views you’ll be delighted with your downhill hike back to the trailhead. Take it slow, though!

The Craggy Pinnacle hiking trail can become crowded during popular bloom and leaf seasons, weekends and holidays, so plan to hit the trails early!

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