The Blue Ridge Mountains

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 Craggy Pinnacle Trail, Linville Falls-Erwins View, Mount Mitchell State Park

The Craggy Mountains are a sub-range of the Blue Ride Mountains located in asheville, North Carolina  along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Although the term “Blue Ridge” is sometimes applied exclusively to the eastern edge or front range of the Appalachian Mountains, the geological definition of the Blue Ridge province extends westward to the Ridge and Valley area, encompassing the Great SmokyMountains, The Great Balsams, the Roans, the Brushy Mountains (a “spur” of the Blue Ridge) and other mountain ranges.The Black Mountains lie to the northeast, across the upper Cane River valley. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs along its crest.The Blue Ridge Mountains are noted for their bluish color when seen from a distance. Trees put the “blue” in Blue Ridge, from the isoprene released into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the characteristic haze on the mountains and their distinctive color.

The Pinnacle Trail

Traveling through a stunted high-elevation forest of mostly birch trees, you can explore the second-highest Southern Appalachian forest community and another unique environment as well: a high-elevation heath bald.The trail is well-worn and easy to follow, but a few sections are rocky and have log water turnouts. The trees are extremely stunted, attesting to the high winds and violent weather that occurs at this high elevation.This popular trail climbs a short distance from a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook to a high, rocky peak overlooking the Craggy Gardens area. Blooming rhododendrons put on a fantastic display along this trail in late June. Twisted trees grow in the high-elevation Birch forest. Spectacular 360 degree views of the Visitor Center, the North Fork Reservoir, and the sourrounding mountains and valleys reward your climb.

The Linville Falls-Erwins View Trail

This wide, moderate trail takes you to three spectacular views of Linville Falls on the west side of the gorge – Upper Falls (.5mi), Chimney View (.7mi), and Erwin’s View (.8mi), passing through a majestic evergreen forest along the way. Although the park literature calls this a “strenuous” climb, it is only so by a casual Parkway visitor’s standard. As trails go, this one is moderate. Although there is one good workout to be had near the middle of the hike, you can take it slow – and it’s worth doing so to enjoy the spectacular forest you’re walking through anyway. Side trails to the first two overlooks are a bit rougher, with some rock steps, but well worth the effort.

From Chimney View, there is an excellent view of the falls just up the river from where you’re at.You can see the cliffs surrounding the falls, and you get a view directly down to the river itself. Below you, between the overlook where you’re standing and the river’s edge is a huge cliff.To continue to Erwin’s View, hike back up the steps to the main trail and turn left. Back on the main trail, it’s just a short distance to Erwin’s View. The trail does climb some more, and it’s a tad rougher than the rest up to this point – but still quite moderate overall.There are actually two overlooks at Erwin’s View. The first one you come to is down on the right and has a great view of the gorge down stream. Check it out, then climb up to your left just a few feet to the main overlook. It’s on top of a large, flat boulder which you’ll reach by climbing up a set of wooden steps. You’re a bit farther from the falls here and you not only get a spectacular view of those, but also of the surrounding mountains and ridges.