Craggy Gardens Pisgah National Forest, NC
miles
LENGTH 1.9 MILES
DIFFICULTY 3.7 Easy
DURATION 1 hour
ELEVATION GAIN
580
feet
TRAIL TYPE
Trail
System
Craggy Gardens

One of the more popular destinations along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Craggy Gardens Trail takes you to the open grassy bald of Craggy Flats along the Blue Ridge Parkway just north of Asheville, NC. If possible, go in June for the peak bloom of the Catawba rhododendrons. I hiked too early in mid-May. Even if you miss the bloom, this hike has several great views to enjoy in any season.

You can start this hike from either the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center or the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area 2.9 miles south of the Visitor Center along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Picnic Area has over twice the parking so this may be your only option on high traffic days.

Between the two trailheads, the trail is shared with the Mountains-to-Sea trail marked with white circle blazes. On the way up from either trailhead there are several side trails. Most are obvious and easy to ignore. The major intersections have signs pointing the way. The only exception you want to watch for is halfway down to the Picnic Area, three side trails on the right (if heading down) lead to the Gazebo Overlook with an excellent view that many people miss.

Once you reach the CCC Pavilion, a trail on either side lead to a small network of trails that explore around the grassy bald of Craggy Flats. Follow either trail, they reconnect and head to a limited overlook to the east past the Blue Ridge Parkway. Look out for wedding parties.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Slope Breakdown
Elevation Gain
Elevation Range
Grade Range
Length
Elevation Gain
0 - 250 ft/mi
~ 0 - 5 %
435 ft
6 ft
250 - 500 ft/mi
~ 5 - 10 %
0.2 mi
83 ft
500 - 750 ft/mi
~ 10 - 15 %
0.2 mi
155 ft
750 - 1000 ft/mi
~ 15 - 20 %
0.3 mi
286 ft
1000+ ft/mi
~ 20+ %
349 ft
74 ft
Elevation Loss
Elevation Range
Grade Range
Length
Elevation Loss
0 - 250 ft/mi
~ 0 - 5 %
426 ft
14 ft
250 - 500 ft/mi
~ 5 - 10 %
0.3 mi
109 ft
500 - 750 ft/mi
~ 10 - 15 %
0.3 mi
168 ft
750 - 1000 ft/mi
~ 15 - 20 %
0.3 mi
231 ft
1000+ ft/mi
~ 20+ %
385 ft
85 ft
Terrain Map Click to control map
Details
length1.9 miles
difficulty3.7 Easy
duration1 hour
trail typeTrail System
blazeWhite Circle (Mountains-to-Sea), None along Craggy Flats
elevation gain580 ft.
park/forestPisgah National Forest
ranger districtAppalachian Ranger District
632 Manor Road
Mars Hill, NC 28754
828-689-9694
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 35.699421, -82.38009 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°41.97, W 82°22.81 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 35°41'58'', N 35°41'58'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
35.699421, -82.38009 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°41.97, W 82°22.81 most GPS units use this one
N 35°41'58'', N 35°41'58'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
The coordinates are for the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center trailhead. The trailhead is on the south side of the parking lot. For the larger Picnic Area trailhead, travel south on the Blue Ridge Parkway for 2.9 miles and follow the sign for the road leading to the Picnic Area. Coordinates: 35.699652, -82.391741. The trailhead is at the far end of the lot at the sign.
Parking Capacity
40 parking spaces + 3 handicap spaces at the Visitor Center. ~100 parking spaces at the Picnic Area.
Notes
Restrooms are available at both trailheads.
The Craggy Gardens Visitor Center is open from mid-April to mid-November 10am - 5pm daily.
The trail up from the Visitor Center is quite rocky. Be careful if wet.
Nearby Hikes
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
5 (1)
hikethesouth-3 weeks ago
Excellent Short Family Hike
This is a perfect hike for families not trying to take on too much. If you're looking for something longer and more difficult this isn't for you. Try to get there in June for the bloom but otherwise still several amazing views from the Visitor Center, Craggy Flats and the Gazebo Overlook. Perfect to pair with Craggy Pinnacle.
Easy | Hiked Spring 2019
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