The Lion & the Rose Bed and Breakfast is in a perfect location: a short walk from downtown Asheville, North Carolina - "the Paris of the South", and three miles from the entrance to the Biltmore Estate. But it is the unmatched natural beauty of the mountains that has lured visitors here since the first railroad lines allowed access.
Known by many names - Appalachian, Smoky, Blue Ridge - this mountain range is the oldest in the world. Age has covered the mountain rock with rich earth and lush vegetation.
There are hundreds of scenic view points in Asheville and in Western North Carolina, but one of the most dramatic is at Craggy Gardens. The Craggy Gardens Visitor Center is just 24 miles from Downtown Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Views can be enjoyed from parking areas and overlooks, but we prefer to take the short and easy hike to Craggy Pinnacle. This trail head is a little North of the Visitor Center at milepost 364.1. The hike takes you through a tunnel of rhododendron thickets to the summit for unobstructed views in every direction.
Craggy Gardens is 3,500 feet higher than Asheville and can be 10-20 degrees cooler. We took these photos in the middle of June on a day of record heat (90 degrees in town). At Craggy it was 70 degrees and very windy.
You can see the effects of the wind in some of the photos - but hearing it has to be experienced. The sound of the wind in the tall grass and thickets is just like the sound of ocean waves.