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Craggy Gardens Engagement Photos : A +C

Updated: Feb 21

A couple kissing cliffside during a sunrise at Craggy Gardens

When it comes to taking engagement photos in Asheville, you are hard pressed to find a more popular location than Craggy Gardens! With it’s breathtaking mountain views, lush vegetation, and cliffs, it’s easy to see why this Blue Ridge Parkway favorite is one of the most popular for couples who are recently engaged! It’s one of those locations where you are presented with a multitude of amazing options as a photographer. The hike up (or down for that matter) provides so many little opportunities for great compositions, as well as environmental portraits incorporating the surroundings. The short hike also makes it an attractive option for those who want a mountain engagement but don’t necessarily want to take on the trek that’s sometimes necessary for a true adventure session! For all of these reasons and more, it has become one of our favorite engagement locations as well! We’ve spent personal and professional time here, hiking and hanging with friends as well as shooting, and while it’s beautiful any time of day, our absolute favorite is sunrise! We seem to always catch the most vibrant skies during our early visits. On this special occasion, we ventured up Craggy with Allison and Chris! Neither of them had ever visited Craggy Gardens before but from what they had seen online, they fell in love with the idea of having their engagement photos done here. After connecting and hearing all about it, they were sold on the idea of going at sunrise!

Now before we jump into this one and enjoy, we always love to give couples and other photographers tips before shooting at Craggy.

1. Make sure to have a plan B - The weather at Craggy can be unpredictable. We’ve seen it be sunny and 75 in Asheville only to get up to Craggy and it be grey, windy, cold, and wet. We’ve seen clear sky days where when you get to Craggy it is engulfed in clouds leaving absolutely NO view. And we’ve also seen the temperature drop from warm to freezing in the short drive.

2. Be prepared - As we alluded to in the last tip, the weather can be 50/50 at best when shooting at Craggy so always bring appropriate shoes for the hike, and maybe even a light jacket during warmer months because the elevation at 6,000ft plus will usually be accompanied by a drastic temperature drop, especially if it’s windy.

3. Avoid shooting there on the weekend, and if you must, go at sunrise, it tends to be less crowded. Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Trail is easily one of the most popular spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you go at peak times during peak season, you’ll be wasting your time, and your client’s time as it’s super crowded.

4. Resist the urge to hop the wall at the upper overlook. There have been threats to close this amazing section of the Parkway down over the years if people continue to hop it. We’ve all been guilty of it in the past, but with fresh new signs up prohibiting it’s almost inexcusable.

5. Be careful. Even if you don’t hop the wall at the upper overlook, there are a few sections of Craggy that are dangerous. One wrong step, a slip, or being careless would almost certainly be fatal. Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with.

6. There is fragile vegetation in the area so do your best to stay on the obvious trail.

7. Share the space. In our experience of shooting in this area the last 5 years, most people are pretty chill and most photographers are totally willing to share space, but do be mindful that some people come up there to get away and relax.

8. Leave no trace. Other than that, enjoy the scenery and rock it!

dramatic lighting portrait of a couple standing side by side at craggy gardens
engaged couple holding hands and walking through the woods
traditional portrait of a couple smiling
a man helping his fiance walking on a ledge
a woman smiling softly as her fiance hugs her from behind
a man hugging his fiance from behind while they sit
a couple kissing on the edge of a cliff in the mountains
engaged couple smiling at each other as they sit next to each other
a man kissing his fiance on the shoulder
a man kissing his fiance on the cheek in front of the mountains
a man and woman kissing on the edge of a cliff in the mountains
a man nestling up on his fiance's cheek as they sit together
dramatic sunrise portrait of a couple holding hands on a rock
engaged couple holding hands and walking down a trail
traditional portrait of a couple sitting together
a man leading his fiance down a path as they hold hands
a couple laughing as they sit together
couple holding hands and walking through the grass
backlit image of a man kissing his fiance on the temple
traditional portrait of a couple smiling in the mountains
a couple hiking along a mountainside together

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