2. Craggy Gardens Trail

Drive from Asheville: 19.6 miles / 39 minutes away
Distance: 1.6 miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead Address: 364 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Black Mountain, NC 28711

The trail, which is a Natural Heritage Area, starts at the Visitor Center. About a quarter mile into the hike, you’ll pass under a trail shelter that offers shade from the sun during warmer months. If you keep hiking for another half mile or so you will come to a bald that in mid-June is pink and purple with the flowers of the Catawba rhododendron. This trail is worth visiting year round. In the fall, the mountain ash produces a red berry that is a photographer’s delight. In the winter, many of the trees are covered in ice, which gives the mountain a shimmering, frosted look. No matter the season, please stay on the trail as this is a fragile eco-system and one that is damaged by human footsteps.

3. Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Drive from Asheville: 19.6 miles / 39 minutes away
Distance: 1.5 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead Address: 3641 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Barnardsville, NC 28709

Want an awesome view but don’t want to be in the woods for half a day? No worries, this trail is short (3/4 of a mile to the top) and sweet. There are a few trees at the summit so you can bring along a hammock for the best rest of your life. Full disclosure: it climbs 252 feet in elevation and is not flat, but you get a head start on the elevation because the parking lot sits at 5,640 feet.

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