Two Child-Friendly Hikes near Asheville, NC

The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina are truly a sight to behold. The wildflowers of spring, swimming holes of summer, and vibrant colors of fall attract visitors from all over the world. While it may be difficult to decide which trails to explore, there are two child-friendly hikes within a 45 minute drive from Asheville that are sure to leave you and your loved ones in awe of the natural beauty around you.

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Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Craggy Pinnacle Trail is one of those timeless hikes that you’ll find yourself returning to time and again. There are a few reasons why this hike will forever remain timeless.

 

First, it’s one of the most convenient trails to get to from Asheville, NC. Located in the Craggy Gardens section of The Blue Ridge Mountains, a quick hop onto the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway will have you at the trailhead (milepost 364.2) in about 40 minutes. Head to the upper Craggy Dome Parking Overlook to locate the start of the hike. 

 

Second, you’ll see that this hike gives you exceptional views with minimal effort: a win-win if you are traveling with young children! After a short 0.5 mile hike, you’ll find yourself at the summit, where you are treated to 360 degree, unobstructed, long range mountain views. On average, the trek up to the summit takes about 20 minutes, but many parents enjoy watching their children play amongst the trees and rocks along the path.

 

What makes Craggy Pinnacle one of the best hiking trails for children are the twisting, gnarled shapes of the trees. Due to the harsh growing conditions, trees struggle to grow here, but when they do, they materialize into fun, maze-like structures that delight and entertain locals and tourists alike! 

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Craggy Gardens Trail

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Watch the Craggy Gardens Trail Hike!

For older children, or for those with enough energy to fuel a rocket ship, head to this 2nd child-friendly trail near Asheville. Craggy Gardens Trail is just up the street from Craggy Pinnacle Trail, but it delivers a slightly different experience. 

 

There are actually two trailheads for this hike: Craggy Gardens Picnic Area (milepost 367.6) or Craggy Gardens Visitor Center (milepost 364.4). Both starting points are off the Blue Ridge Parkway, and will lead you on the same 2.2 mile path. You’ll find this moderate hike to be slightly more heart-pumping, but benches line the trail for necessary rest breaks. 

 

When traveling through the natural, tree-made tunnels, be sure to explore the two paths branching off the main trail. One leads you to a wood-built gazebo where you can relax in the shade while admiring the view. The second branch spits you out on top of the mountain bald. Here, you’ll have the ideal mountain meadow where wild flowers abound (seasonally) and unobstructed views surround you. If hiking with children, this is the perfect place to break for lunch while the kids go tree climbing.

Final Thoughts

Either trail you choose, both of these child-friendly hikes off The Blue Ridge Parkway will give you a great taste of what hiking near Asheville, NC is all about. Be sure to visit the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center before or after your hikes to stock up on local trail information, small snacks, and gifts for adults and children.

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