Ascent of Craggy Pinnacle on 2019-04-27

Climber: Zachary Robbins

Date:Saturday, April 27, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Craggy Pinnacle
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5892 ft / 1795 m

Ascent Trip Report

After 3 solid months of working on my dissertation I finally got back outside to do hike #2 for the Black Mountains Hiking Challenge. Because I got off to an early start, I decided to do a warmup hike nearby at Craggy Pinnacle. Although Craggy Gardens attracts more hikers, Craggy Pinnacle is the most scenic viewpoint in the Great Craggy Mountains and one of the best viewpoints on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The parking lot sits at a high saddle between Craggy Pinnacle and Craggy Dome, the highest peak in the range. Even though I was tackling this on a weekend, I only encountered a few cars in the parking lot because I got there around 9:30 AM. On summer weekends expect this lot to be full.

The trail winds its way through stunted rhododendron and high elevation deciduous forest from the parking lot. This is a beautiful stretch of trail and is supposed to be magnificent in bloom. Near the top is a three-way junction with the summit trail and two side overlooks. I first went to the south overlook, which looms over the parkway and the visitors center. You can skip this if you want, you get the same view from the summit. At 5,892 feet, Craggy Pinnacle is the 3rd highest point in the Great Craggy Mountains and its windswept bare summit is covered in gorgeous old stone affording 360-degree views. To the southwest are the Great Balsam, Plott Balsam, and Great Smoky Mountain ranges beyond Asheville. The prominent but shorter peaks of the Great Craggy Mountains, i.e., Snowball Mountain and Lane Pinnacle, are to the right of Craggy Gardens. Due west are the Newfound and Bald Mountain ranges beyond the French Broad River valley. In the distant north are the Unaka Mountains across the North Toe River valley.

By far the coolest view is of Craggy Dome towering above the northern side of the parkway, framed by Bullhead Mountain, Blackstock Knob, Big Butt, and Pinnacle. I could've looked at that view for 30 minutes if I didn't have another hike planned. The peaks of the Black Mountains pop up to the left of Craggy Dome, with Blackstock Knob obscuring most of the highest peaks in the range. To the right of Craggy Dome are Pinnacle, Rocky Knob, and Graybeard Mountain rising above the Burnett Reservoir. South across the Swannanoa Valley are the Swannanoa and Hickory Nut Mountain ranges. Craggy Pinnacle is honestly one of the finest open summits in the state but unfortunately it is so accessible that it is typically packed. Try to visit this early in the morning or during the week, you'll be glad you did.

Distance - 1.1 miles
Elevation gain - 375 feet
Time - 35 minutes
Summary Total Data
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Zachary Robbins
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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