The trail goes straight up the mountain. It takes about 60 to 90 minutes to make the climb depending on your fitness level. Toward the top, a spur trail leading to the Pinnacle takes off to the left. Keep going straight and you will get to another overlook and clearing. A trail to the right follows the ridge line of the Plott Balsams to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Those who don’t want to make the full hike can go however far they want, enjoying a picnic or respite by the creek, before turning around.
Option two: This route follows the ridgeline of the Plott Balsams from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Pinnacle. Get on the Blue Ridge Parkway heading south. Go several miles to the entrance of the Waterrock Knob visitor center. Directly across from the entrance drive to the visitor center, a trail takes off. There is no sign. The trail follows the ridge line, crossing a tract protected by the Nature Conservancy before entering the town watershed property. The trail can be grown up and rough going. You will eventually hang a left to get onto the main Pinnacle Peak trail, go a short distance and then make a right on a spur trail leading out to the Pinnacle.