Cycling Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens
Ride 17.3 miles gaining 3,748’ at 3.9% average grade.
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
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).
PJAMM Adventure App with details at the start of the climb.
One of several overlooks along the climb.
At 469 miles, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic and long roadways in the US, and includes over 200 overlooks.
The fall colors along this climb and the Blue Ridge Parkway are stunning.
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).
Craggy Gardens Visitor Center is one of nine North Carolina BRP VCs.
There are 15 BRP visitor centers total in North Carolina and Virginia.
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.