Engagement Photos: Craggy Gardens!
For this blog, Jenny and I wanted to highlight not only one of our favorite places to shoot but also one of our favorite places to go by ourselves and when we get some downtime with friends (it’s a rarity these days lol). For those of you have been following along on our photography adventures for a while and for those who are local to Asheville, this will undoubtedly look like a familiar place. That place is the Craggy Gardens! Craggy Gardens is a short 35-minute drive just outside of Asheville, right off of the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway! For locals to Asheville, it is definitely one of the favorite destinations around to catch a sunset, and for photographers in the area it is one of the spectacular places we are blessed to be able to shoot at regularly! It is a super popular spot for small elopements and one of our most requested locations for engagement photography! We’ll take a look at some of our favorite spots and some of the recent couples we’ve had the pleasure of working with for their engagement photos!!!
First, you may be thinking about where you want to do your engagement photos, so let’s talk about ‘who’ Craggy is for. Craggy Gardens is a good idea if you don’t mind a little adventure, possibly walking on the edge (literally) of a mountain, hanging your feet off the jagged rock cliffs hundreds of feet above the valley below, an uphill trek to get to the top, the occasional dog, and last but definitely not least, epic views!
One of the most convenient aspects of ascending The Craggy Pinnacle trail is the fact that it’s right off the parkway. Though at it’s highest point it sets at just above 6,000ft above sea level, it only ends up being around a half-mile hike to the top! Along that beautiful hike, you come across an array of cool and scenic spots that just beg for you to cuddle close and take it all in!
Below is one of our favorite spots! Right when you approach the Craggy Pinnacle trail, you are greeted by an intriguing tunnel of trees that always seems to have just the right amount of lighting to help create some fun sun kissed moments!
As mentioned earlier, there's a little bit of a hike so it's always a good idea to bring a furry friend to lead the way :)
One of our favorite spots a few hundred yards into your hike up the Craggy Pinnacle trail is this perfectly placed old tree that lays to the side as if mother nature carved it out to give your legs a little break on the way up, or in this case, a convenient spot to get close and cuddle up or laugh it out!
A little further up you come to the first opening that really gives you some perspective on how high you are into the mountains! We call this spot little rock, because....well, do we really have to explain? (lol). Just hop up, hold each other close, and enjoy the view!
Then very close to little rock is the rock we are standing on for these photos, literally right behind it! As you can see, the view only gets better!
Of course as you continue to ascend you start to reach the slightly more treacherous spots at Craggy Gardens but oh man are they so worth it! Personally the lower overlook which you are about to see is our favorite!
And as if this amazing view wasn't epic enough, you can go higher still to the upper overlook where the views rival that of the lower overlook, but definitely in a good way!
In my best info-mercial voice, but wait there's more! To be honest, most people who get the idea to go to Craggy Gardens, whether for engagement photos or simply to catch a beautiful sunset, go for the the pinnacle trail overlook! Having been there countless times now, it's hard to argue that it's not the main attraction, but one of the cool things that a lot of people wouldn't know if they never ventured around is that there is a whole other side to Craggy!
Venture to the other side of craggy for open fields & golden sun! And at the end of the day, don't forget, you're right off the parkway, so if the weather goes awry, remember there are plenty of beautiful spots all around!
We hope you've enjoyed following along with us at one of our favorite spots and remember these helpful tips when planning your engagement photos at Craggy Gardens:
-Sunrise and sunset are always the best times to shoot, but plan enough time to hike
-Bring a pair of tennis shoes or hiking shoes for moving around if you're wearing heels and a dress (you'll thank us later ;) )
-Bring a light jacket (possibly heavy certain times of the year), Asheville is at around 2000ft above sea level, Craggy is around 6000ft, it gets cold!
-Lastly, always check the weather before you go and have a back up plan! There have been times it was sunny and 75 in Asheville and when we got to Craggy it was 40 and windy! You simply never know!
Now get out there and enjoy one of the most beautiful views in WNC!
-Joe & Jenny