Blue Ridge Parkway | CRAGGY PINNACLE TRAIL (MP 364.2)

Overlook at summit of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Overlook at summit of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Length: 1 mile, round trip, including stops to both the Summit and Lower Overlooks
Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: easy to moderate

The Craggy Pinnacle Trail offers some of the best views on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but as you may have guessed, you must hike to these views. The trail starts near the upper level of the Craggy Dome View parking lot at Mile Post 364. The summit is reached via a long, gradual incline and is really not that difficult. There are some stretches of rocky terrain, but other than watching your step there is nothing to be concerned about. I saw all types of people hiking to the top—old, young, thin, and fat—and nobody seemed to have any problems.

Typical terrain for first .4 mile of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Typical terrain for first .4 mile of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

About .4 mile into the hike the trail splits towards the two different overlooks: the Summit Overlook and the Lower Overlook. If you are short on time or energy, just hike to the summit. The Lower Overlook is situated on the side of the mountain and does not have a 360° view, and what view it does have can be seen from the summit. It’s sort of like taking an elevator to a middle floor of a skyscraper versus going all the way to the roof where you can walk around the entire perimeter of the building. Other than being less crowded, and thus maybe being a better place to have a picnic, the Lower Overlook offers no advantages.

Fork to Summit and Lower Overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway's Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Fork to Summit and Lower Overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Hike to the Lower Overlook

Lower Overlook of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Lower Overlook of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

If you decide to hike to the Lower Overlook, you will start to get views of the surrounding mountains just a few minutes past the fork, though brush and small trees tend to get in the way. There is an actual overlook platform that gives you a non-obstructed view, and this is where you ultimately want to take your photos. From the fork it is only about .1 mile to the overlook. The trail is fairly flat until just before the overlook, at which point there is a couple sets of stone stairs that lead down to the viewing area. This is an out-and-back hike, so return the same way you came to get back to the fork and continue on to the summit.

Panoramic view from Lower Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway's Craggy Pinnacle Trail (click to enlarge)

Panoramic view from Lower Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Craggy Pinnacle Trail (click to enlarge)

Hike to the Summit Overlook

Panoramic view from the summit of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway (click to enlarge)

Panoramic view from the summit of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway (click to enlarge)

As mentioned, unless you have extra time and extra energy, just hike to the summit for the best overall views. Here you can see the entire area, including a lake (Asheville Reservoir) that you cannot see from the Lower Overlook. The hike to the summit is much steeper and also utilizes stairs, but it takes less than a minute to get there. You can see everything you could see from the Lower Overlook plus much, much more.

Same view from the Craggy Pinnacle summit as seen in the photo taken at the Lower Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway's Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Same view from the Craggy Pinnacle summit as seen in the photo taken at the Lower Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Asheville Reservoir as seen from the Craggy Pinnacle summit on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Asheville Reservoir as seen from the Craggy Pinnacle summit on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Craggy Dome as seen from the Craggy Pinnacle summit on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Craggy Dome as seen from the Craggy Pinnacle summit on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The hike to both overlooks, with time to see the vistas, take photos, and even talk with some of the many people who you will encounter along the way, shouldn’t take more than an hour. I only spent 45 minutes, and I spend more time on these jaunts than the average tourist.

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Last updated on November 11, 2023
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