The year 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the North Carolina State Park System and NC State Parks are celebrating in a big way with events throughout the year. There are nine state parks in the mountains of western North Carolina, and we’re fortunate to have four nearby, which we’ll profile for the next four months. This month, we take a look at Mount Mitchell State Park.
If you’re looking for a super-scenic day trip hike while staying with us here at Inn on Mill Creek near Asheville, NC, consider a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Graveyard Fields. Is it a graveyard? Nope. Is it a field? You could say that… but it’s so much more. Let’s explore.
Craggy Gardens is a section of the North Carolina mountains accessible via the Blue Ridge Parkway, north of Asheville. It has excellent hiking trails, a picnic area, cool mountaintop balds with wild blueberry bushes and dramatic mountain vistas. Read on to see what we saw on our hike of the Craggy Gardens Trail in early May! Hint: Wildflowers galore and other cool stuff that makes us love love love nature.
UPDATE – APRIL 16: The Craggy Gardens area is now open!
We aren’t the only ones who have a project list that we tackle in the wintertime: the National Park Service has been working on projects relating to improving the tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway around Asheville, including Tanbark Tunnel at Milepost 374.4 near Craggy Gardens.
Don’t let the name scare you: Rattlesnake Lodge is a neat destination hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway just six miles north of Asheville, North Carolina. The hike has many points of interest and takes you through a pretty area of the mountains.
If you have a visit to Mt. Mitchell State Park on your “getaway to the North Carolina mountains” to-do list, there’s much more than just driving up, parking, and checking out the observation deck on the tallest peak in the eastern United States — there are some great hiking trails there as well.
A pleasant day-trip for hikers staying at the Inn on Mill Creek B&B is a drive and hike to Mount Pisgah, off of the Blue Ridge Parkway southwest of Asheville.
Combine a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway — complete with beautiful blooming rhododendron and photogenic verdant ridges — with a picnic lunch and short hike, and you have what we consider the perfect June afternoon in western North Carolina. One option to make this day trip happen is to head north of Asheville to Craggy Gardens, specifically, the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area.
If you’re looking for a springtime day trip while you’re staying in the North Carolina mountains, and want to see some of the area’s truly photogenic scenery, check out Crabtree Falls. This wildflower and waterfall hike is north of Asheville, off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Milepost 339, between Mt. Mitchell State Park and Little Switzerland.