Blue Ridge Pkwy to Craggy Gardens Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

5.3
FIETS
17.3 mi
DISTANCE
3,748 ft
GAINED
3.9 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

Page Contributor(s): John Summerson, The Ultimate Guide to Climbing (by bike) in the Southeast” p. 92

TOUR DETAILS & STATS
2021 Tour de France

INTRO

This 17.3 mile bike climb is located in Buncombe County, North Carolina, USA. The average gradient is 3.9% and there is a total elevation gain of 3,748 ft, finishing at 7,130 ft.

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See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via our interactive Profile Tool.
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ROUTE MAP
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CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - bike parked next to BRP sign for Craggy Gardens, across two-lane roadway from tall stone wall

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens

Ride 17.3 miles gaining 3,748’ at 3.9% average grade.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - photo collage, long stretches of two-lane roadway in pristine condition, dense and bright fall foliage, bike parked next to road sign for Bell Gap, BRP,  PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

For Blue Ridge Parkway climbs, this is a long one at just over 17 miles.  As with all Blue Ridge Parkway climbs, there are several scenic overlooks along the way.  However, on our ride in October 2020, most of the overlook signs were missing. Share

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - photo collage, signs for Blue Ridge Parkway, sign for Craggy Gardens, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

In his book The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in the Southeast, John Summerson writes of this climb,  “Craggy Gardens is a shallow and beautiful climb along the Blue Ridge Parkway.”  (Quoted with authority from John Summerson, pg. 92).

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - signs for Blue Ridge Parkway on stretch of two-lane pristine roadway surrounded by dense fall foliage and bright blue sky

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - PJAMM Adventure App shows climb grade and profile

PJAMM Adventure App with details at the start of the climb.

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - photo collage, sign for Tanbark Ridge Overlook, bike parked in silhouette against bright blue sky and bright orange fall foliage, panoramic views of Blue Ridge Mountains looking out from overlook, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

One of several overlooks along the climb.

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - bike parked at three different scenic overlooks along the BRP climb, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

At 469 miles, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic and long roadways in the US, and includes over 200 overlooks.

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - stone tunnels along the climb, looking out to panoramic views of brightly colored fall foliage along the BRP

FALL COLORS

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - bright orange leaves on trees surrounded by dense green trees, BRP

The fall colors along this climb and the Blue Ridge Parkway are stunning.

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - bright fall foliage on dense trees, thick forestation, pristine stretches of two-lane roadway surrounded by fall foliage, ground covered with orange leaves, BRP, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

FINISH

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - Craggy Gardens Visitor center, sign for visitor center, bike parked against wooden retaining wall along the BRP

Craggy Gardens Visitor Center is at mile 364.6 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

See, virtualblueridge.com for more information.

From its trailhead just past the Visitor Center, the hike to Craggy Garden Pinnacle Dome is a quick 0.5 miles.  There are 360 degree views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains at the top of the climb (see 360 degree photo here).

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - signs for Craggy Gardens Milepost, information on sights to the north and to the south from this viewpoint on the BRP

Craggy Gardens Visitor Center is one of nine North Carolina BRP VCs.

There are 15 BRP visitor centers total in North Carolina and Virginia.

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - views from inside and outside of the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center on the BRP

Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens - bike parked at the trailhead for Craggy Gardens Trail

At mile 14.3 you can turn left to access the extraordinary Stoney Fork Road climb (dirt and gravel, but manageable on road bike -- preferably with 28mm+ tires).  The turn off to Mt. Mitchell is only 10 miles north on BRP beyond the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center.