A Festival of Colors
When you happen to cruise along this stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway in early June, a stop to visit Craggy Gardens should definitely be on your list. A festival of colors from the blooming Catawba Rhododendron is waiting for you.
Named for the Catawba Indians, who lived east of the Catawba River, the Catawba Rhododendron is also called “nature’s thermometer.” When the temperature drops, its leaves curl inward. It is said, at below 20°F (-7°C), the leaves are curled “as tight as a cigar.”
Craggy Pinnacle at Milepost 364.1
The moderate 0.7-mile Craggy Pinnacle Trail rewards you with exceptional long-range views for the least amount of hiking. From the parking lot at milepost 364.1, you walk through tunnels of rhododendron beautifully blooming in pink, white and red. After a 20-minute hike, you reach an observation platform at 5,892 feet (1,796 meters) offering 360-degree views of the Great Craggy Mountains.
Visitor Center at Milepost 364.5
From the visitor center, you can take the 0.8-mile Craggy Gardens Trail, which leads to the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area. Enjoy stunning views along the way.
Craggy Gardens Picnic Area at Milepost 367.6
If all this walking and exploring made you hungry and you want to enjoy a nice picnic in a picturesque setting, Craggy Gardens Picnic Area at milepost 367.6 is worth a stop. Just steps away from the large parking lot, you can find plenty of well spaced-out picnic tables, some of which also feature a grilling station.
May to October:
Mon. to Sun.: 10am to 5pm.
Spring to Fall.
This section of the Parkway is closed in the winter months.
The 0.7-mile Craggy Pinnacle Trail starts at the parking lot located at milepost 364.1 and leads to an observation platform at 5,892 feet.
From the visitor center at milepost 364.5 you can take the 0.8-mile Craggy Gardens Trail to the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area.
The trails are not accessible by wheelchair.
Restrooms are located in the visitor center.