Craggy Pinnacle is a commanding peak along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Accessed by a relatively easy 1.4-mile (round trip) trail that gains less than 300 feet in elevation, it’s nevertheless an enjoyable and scenic hike and well worth the slight effort to gain the summit.
At 5,892 feet, it’s a typical high summit in the Great Craggy/Black Mountain range. One of its nearest neighbors is Craggy Dome, a southern sixer that lies just north along the Parkway. Parts of Craggy Pinnacle are currently off limits for reasons of rare habitat restoration, and so one may not use the manways that formerly led out to rocky outcrops affording unique views of the local high country.
The peak is striking, showing a fair amount of exposed rock, and is home to a vast “garden” of Catawba rhododendron. In peak times of flower, generally late May and early June, the mountain is a true showplace rivaled by few other such areas, and exceeded perhaps only by Roan Mountain. There are two overlooks on the peak. One is located directly on the summit, allowing for almost 360 degree views, and there is another built just below the upper one with 180 degree vistas toward Asheville and points south.
In the brief loop, the trail manages to offer quite a lot in the way of local flora. One is able to witness the results of the harsh winters on the stunted trees, walk through a real rhododendron tunnel, and sample the views of the Great Craggy/ Black Mountains, the highest range in the eastern USA.
Access to Craggy Pinnacle is sometimes limited to foot travel and cross-country ski during intervals of extreme winter weather. At such times, the Parkway is closed to vehicular traffic.
From Asheville, take the Blue Ridge Parkway north to milepost 364.
The gnarly birch.
None. Some parts of the mountain are off limits for the preservation of rare plants and very sensitive habitats.
Black Mountain Campground.
Camping is available in a number of Pisgah National Forest campgrounds, off-trail campsites in the Forest, and in developed and semi-developed campgrounds in the National Forest and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The nearest Parkway camgground is at Crabtree Meadows. Mount Mitchell State Park, which is also nearby, has tent camping. Both the Black Mountain Campground and Carolina Hemlock are excellent campgrounds along 80S toward Burnsville.