Beautiful rhododendrons, grand views
1.5 miles: Moderate
For those who've rented Asheville, NC, cabins with hopes to vacation among rhododendrons, Craggy Gardens may be one of the best bets for a day trip. The pinkish-purple blossoms complement the grand views quite nicely. The beech forests, laden with ferns, mosses and wildflowers, create an enchanting setting. The hike from the picnic area may be short, but travels up a moderate incline. You should plan on spending some time poking around the woods, taking pictures of the old barn, and soaking in the views from the stone overlook.
From the picnic area, follow the Bear Pen Gap Trail for 0.2 miles uphill. When the forest opens up to meadows, you'll meet up with the Craggy Gardens Trail. Take a right on the Craggy Gardens Trail and follow it to the overlook. Return the way you came.
From Willow Winds, take a right on Sweeten Creek Road. Drive 0.5 miles and then take a left on Rock Hill Road at the traffic light. Drive one mile down and then take a left on Hendersonville Road. Just 0.2 miles down, take a right onto the entrance ramp for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn left on the parkway. Exit the parkway just past mile 368, taking a left on Stoney Fork Road. Take an immediate right at the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area.