Craggy Gardens Hike with Rhododendrons

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Craggy Gardens Hike with Rhododendrons

Craggy Pinnacle and Craggy Gardens are the perfect stop to hike along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Come in June to see the rhododendrons in bloom. 

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Happy Wednesday friends!

This week is flying by for  me.  Winter seems to drag, but time in summer seems to go by at warp speed.  I want to enjoy as many “summer” activities as possible like hiking in these gorgeous mountains I call home.  Yet, there never seems to be enough time!

Today I’m revisiting the Craggy Gardens hike I went on the other week.  I mentioned it briefly in my Hiking Shoe Giveaway post, but promised more detail today!  Btw, the hiking shoe giveaway is open until June 24th, so don’t forget to enter!

The Craggy Gardens hike and Craggy Pinnacle Trail is one of my favorite easy hikes near Asheville.  The hubs and I always have a great time going.  This time around we started our adventure at Craggy Pinnacle.

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I have been a few times now, but never caught the famed rhododendrons in bloom.

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They were just starting to bud when we were there, but now (early to mid June) is the peak time to see them.

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They were so beautiful and totally lived up to expectations!

The trail for the Craggy Pinnacle Hike is rocky and uneven at points and does gain 252 feet elevation.  It’s not for everyone, but it is a pretty easy hike for the area.

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My favorite part is the tunnel of old twisty trees covering the path.

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The weather is tricky and unpredictable at this elevation and it is hard to find a perfectly clear day to see down to the valleys!  It seems like every time we go we dodge clouds, but it is still worth it.  If you go, take a sweater because the weather can be 15-20 degrees cooler than Asheville.

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It’s about a 1.5 mile round trip hike that goes from 5,640 feet to 5,892 feet.

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I just can’t get enough of the flowers.  The rhododendrons are spectacular and make the views and pictures even more beautiful.

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Near the top, there is a fork in the trail.

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Take the upper trail to get to the pinnacle.

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If you can catch a moment between the clouds, the views are so pretty!  I especially love this time of year because of the contrast of the spring green foliage next to the Carolina blue skies.

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Do be on the lookout for pesky clouds and storms though!  They can move in quickly.  Look at those clouds!

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I always find the hike back down more tricky, but take your time and you will be fine!

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After enjoying the Pinnacle hike, the hubs and I went back to the Craggy Gardens hike area.  The rhododendrons were a little more in bloom there (slightly lower elevation) and made for some gorgeous pictures.craggy gardens hike-196-16


This alone made the trip worth it!

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If you have any free time this time I year and you are in the area, I highly recommend the trip!

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Travel tip:  Driving North from Asheville the trip is only 24 miles, but takes closer to 45 minutes due to the slower speed limits on the parkway.  Craggy Gardens is located at Milepost 364 and the Craggy Pinnacle Trail is just a short drive up at  Milepost 364.4.  Take a lunch and eat at the Craggy Gardens picnic area to make a day out of it!

Thanks for stopping by today!  Come back tomorrow for a tasty and seasonal salad featuring strawberries.  The homemade dressing is so easy and is made with ingredients you probably already have in the pantry.

I’m linking this post with Wild Workout Wednesday and Jill Conyers for Fitness Friday. Thank you so much ladies for the link up party!

Your turn!

Favorite hike? GO!

By | 2017-08-15T14:04:12-04:00 June 10th, 2015|Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes, Hikes with Views, Hiking|47 Comments


  1. […] go shopping or hiking in the morning.  My suggestion for a close to town hike with epic views is Craggy Pinnacle.  You don’t have a lot of time to hike with only 48 hours in Asheville, but this is your best […]

  2. jill conyers June 13, 2015 at 7:29 am - Reply

    What a beautiful place to hike. Hiking is a family favorite!

  3. Pragati // Simple Medicine June 12, 2015 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    That stone path is so beautiful! Lovely pictures 🙂

  4. Jess @hellotofit June 10, 2015 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Look at that view! Gorgeous flowers, too. Hiking this time of year is nice – so much green and color!

  5. Dan June 10, 2015 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    beautiful blooms and views , a great way to spend the weekend , slippery when wet though. yep , ordered my ‘spiralizer’ today , looking forward to using it to make some pasta recipes . . thanks for the links , enjoyed wild Wednesday workout 🙂

    • JulieWunder June 11, 2015 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks Dan!!! Yes– very slippery when wet. I try to NOT hike after a really rainy day 🙂 I’ve already spiralize several more times. It’s awesome. Thanks for stopping by today!

  6. Sam @ PancakeWarriors June 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    I was just here in the fall – I would love to go back soon.

    • JulieWunder June 11, 2015 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      So cool!!!! Glad you got to see it! Thanks for stopping by today!

  7. Annette @ Sweating Through Life June 10, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Those pictures are amazing! I’m always on the lookout around my area for amazing hikes, but unfortunately, we don’t have a lot out here that is easily accessible. So, I’ll just continue to enjoy other’s views for now!!

    • JulieWunder June 11, 2015 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Bummer! I know I’m really lucky to have access to all of this, so I try to take advantage of it! Thanks for stopping by today!

  8. Robin @ Simply Southern Baking June 10, 2015 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    What a great hike with beautiful views. 🙂

    • JulieWunder June 11, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks Robin! You should go this summer! It’s pretty easy!

  9. Nicole @ Fitful Focus June 10, 2015 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Wow! that looks so beautiful! I’d love to hike there.

  10. Susie @ SuzLyfe June 10, 2015 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Stunning! I love how much you all get out and explore!

    • JulieWunder June 11, 2015 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      I try!!! One of my goals when I left the TV station was to find time to do more stuff like this!

  11. Danyelle Musselman June 10, 2015 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Those views are breathtaking!

  12. Norma Clayton June 10, 2015 at 9:52 am - Reply

    Awesome pictures! My husband and I were there on Sunday afternoon. We hiked the .7 of a mile trail to the top, and even though it was overcast, the views were still spectacular. We saw the cutest little garter snake on one of the outcroppings about half way up the trail. We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world!

    • JulieWunder June 11, 2015 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      Oh my!!!!! A snake? Haha! I am terrified of snakes. I do my best not to look tooooo closely!
      So glad you guys had a great time as well. Such a cool place and such gorgeous mountains!

  13. Lori @ June 10, 2015 at 9:10 am - Reply

    The vivid colors of those rhododendrons! I love that area off the parkway – pure heaven! Hiking is one of my favorite forms of exercise!

    • JulieWunder June 10, 2015 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Me too! It just feels so great to get out in the fresh air and move. It’s one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday. Thanks for stopping by today 🙂

  14. Jamie June 10, 2015 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Love that hike! So many gorgeous views. I honestly don’t have many places to hike near me, but am hoping to go to NY in the Hudson Valley area this summer to explore some trails there. The other hike I’ve been on which I loved was along the Potomac in DC.

  15. Lauren June 10, 2015 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Oh my gosh! I just started following your site. This is where my husband and I got engaged. Right up there on that wall that you’re sitting on. I loved looking at your pictures, we haven’t been back since we got engaged there 7 years ago! I think we need to go back.

    • JulieWunder June 10, 2015 at 9:26 am - Reply

      No way!!!! How cool is that? Yes, you should come back!
      Thanks for finding my site and I hope to see you again.

  16. Looks like a beautiful hike! I wish we had some good hiking close by that I could take the boys on!

    • JulieWunder June 10, 2015 at 9:26 am - Reply

      This is a great one for kids your age! I feel very blessed to have this!

  17. [email protected] June 10, 2015 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Oh my…breathtaking! I think I could hike forever on those beautiful trails…makes IN look sooo flat and boring!

    • JulieWunder June 10, 2015 at 9:26 am - Reply

      It is a really cool place to live!! I feel very blessed.

  18. Joanna @Makingmine June 10, 2015 at 8:03 am - Reply

    Wow, what a beautiful hike! The view, the flowers – amazing!

  19. looks like a beautiful place to hike. My hydrangeas are just starting to bloom and those are my fave.

    • JulieWunder June 10, 2015 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Mine are too! I love them as well. I’m just a flower child really. haha!

  20. Annette June 10, 2015 at 7:15 am - Reply

    These remind me of the rhododendrons of my home in Pittsburgh, we don’t have them here in Florida. In the yard of my childhood home we had beautiful deep red rhododendrons. Thank you for sharing and reminding me of this beautiful flowering shrub.

    • JulieWunder June 10, 2015 at 9:24 am - Reply

      They are so pretty in Pitt too. The vegetation is so different here. I hope you have a great day.

  21. Libby Haire June 10, 2015 at 6:53 am - Reply

    You are right, Julie, gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your good ideas and especially including directions to get there.
    Have you ever taken the Parkway it’s full length?

    • JulieWunder June 10, 2015 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Thank you Libby! I have never taken the parkway full length. Maybe one day!

  22. Annmarie June 10, 2015 at 6:47 am - Reply

    Wow, SO pretty and your photography is STUNNING! Thanks so much for linking up <3

    • JulieWunder June 10, 2015 at 9:23 am - Reply

      Thank you!!!!! I’ve been working hard on my pics.

  23. Kathleen June 10, 2015 at 6:38 am - Reply

    Looks nice. Yep summer goes fast.
    Julie I have a question about ticksand hiking with my dog. He is furry fluff ball. I give him flea and tick med. How does that work if a tick were to get on him.

    • JulieWunder June 10, 2015 at 9:23 am - Reply

      Oh wow! To be honest with you, I’m not sure. But if you use the one your vet recommends and apply it when you are supposed to, It should work. There are sooooo many ticks out there right now so it is so important. I don’t take Rhett with me (his legs are too tiny to handle this & he is nearly 14) and when we had Reina we always looked her over really well before we brought her back in the house.
      I wish I had an answer, but I will have to refer to your vet 🙂

  24. Blane Sherer June 10, 2015 at 6:08 am - Reply

    Awesome shots ( especially of the rhododendrons ).
    Nice outfit too.

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