Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 22

H Craggy Pinnacle Trail
story and photos by leonard adkins

The hike

There’s aT leasT a mild ThreaT To The conTinued exisTence of
This beauTiful Trail wiTh 360-degree views, so geT on up There.
I will always urge you to take a hike
along one of the Blue Ridge
Parkway’s trails, but it is with a certain
sense of urgency that I now encourage you to visit the Craggy Gardens
area north of Asheville, N.C. as soon
as possible.
Several months ago, the National
Park Service released the final draft of
the Blue Ridge Parkway General
Management Plan that has a recommendation to close the Craggy
Pinnacle Trail because of damage to
the fragile environment due to offtrail wanderings of unthinking (or
uncaring) visitors. Although no decision has been reached and it may be
years before any on-ground action is
taken, just the possibility that you
may lose the opportunity to hike
through this southern bald should be
enough to motivate you to go. Early
summer is also the time of year to
walk the trail so that you can appreciate the full splendor of the Craggy
Gardens’ heath blossoms.
Starting from the Craggy Dome
Overlook, the trail gradually ascends
into a true heath bald, with mountain
laurel, rhododendron, blueberry and
mountain cranberry – all members of
the heath family – lining the trail.
High winds and an elevation of more
than a mile above sea level often
combine to make extraordinary conditions here. The valleys and lower
ridgelines may be bathed in warm
temperatures and sunshine at the
same time the rhododendron and
mountain laurel on the pinnacle are
covered in rime ice. The twisted
trunks and gnarled branches of the
sweet birch and mountain ash trees
attest to the harsh environment the
vegetation must withstand. (The fact
that the trees are here is another reason why you should visit sometime
soon. They are encroaching on, and

22 | BlueRidgeCountry.com

This view from Craggy Pinnacle looks down onto the North Fork Reservoir.

displacing, the heaths, and will eventually change the character of the
mountain.)
There’s an intersection just beyond
a view to the west at .3 mile into the
hike that provides a hint of better vistas to come, while the open area at
the end of the side trail overlooks the
Craggy Gardens Visitor Center and
Craggy Flats.
Less than a half-mile later, via the
main trail, is the summit and one of
the best 360-degree views along the
entire parkway. To the south are the
Craggy Gardens Visitor Center,
Craggy Flats (with a trailside shelter
perched, and clearly visible, on the
ridgeline), and the Blue Ridge
Parkway winding below the higher
elevations. If it is a clear day, you
should be able to make out the
expanse of the Asheville Mall and its
surrounding concrete parking lot.
Beyond the city are the Pisgah
Mountains; if you look just a bit to the
west – and if it is an extremely clear
day and you have good eyesight – you
might be able to distinguish the out-

line of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Turning in a counter-clockwise
direction to take in more of the view,
your gaze will fall upon Asheville’s
North Fork Reservoir, Graybeard
Mountain, Craggy Dome, Ogle
Meadow, and the Black Mountains,
with Mount Mitchell (the highest
mountain east of the Mississippi)
being the most prominent of the distant peaks. On a clear day you may
even be able to see the mountains of
Tennessee to the northeast. To the
west is I-26 climbing out of a valley
onto State Line Ridge.
Although they may look inviting,
please do not travel onto any of the
renegade trails that emanate from the
summit. Remember, such unauthorized wanderings are what is doing
damage to the environment and are
what have prompted the possible closure of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail.
Staying on the main trail, take your
time on the way back down to the
parking area and learn a bit more
about the plants you are walking by.
Appearing in June and July, the


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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013
Table of Contents
Digital Help Guide
Letters
From the Editor
From the Farm
Worth a Click
Creature Feature
Great Home Buys
Country Roads
The Hike
Mountain Report
Festivals and Events
The Best of the Mountains 2013
25 Years of Covers: Your Favorites
Ghost Town in the Sky Rises from the Dead to Live Again
Blossoms and Buddies: The Photoessay
25 Gen X and Gen Y-ers Changing Our Mountains for the Better
Beer! A Tasting Tour of Notable Microbrews in the Mountains
Then & Now: A Photo Tour
Chefs of the Mountains, Part III
Cabin in the Woods
Flavors
Mountain Garden
The Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Letters
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Great Home Buys
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Festivals and Events
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Best of the Mountains 2013
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 25 Years of Covers: Your Favorites
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Ghost Town in the Sky Rises from the Dead to Live Again
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Blossoms and Buddies: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 25 Gen X and Gen Y-ers Changing Our Mountains for the Better
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Beer! A Tasting Tour of Notable Microbrews in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Then & Now: A Photo Tour
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 75
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 76
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 77
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 78
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 79
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Chefs of the Mountains, Part III
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 81
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 82
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 83
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 84
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 85
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cabin in the Woods
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 87
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 88
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 89
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Flavors
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 91
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 93
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 94
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 95
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 96
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 97
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE8
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 99
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover4
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