For generations, visitors have traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Great Craggy Mountains, an area of grassy balds and high peaks that provides breathtaking vistas of distant Appalachian ridges. In mid-June, pink and purple blooms of Catawba rhododendron blanket the Craggies. Throughout most of the summer, small native wildflowers splash the region with vibrant color. The 5,500-foot elevation, strong winds, and a short growing season stunt the trees. In fall, the Craggies turn red with a spectacular show of mountain ash berries.