Second Falls

Height: 55 feet
Trail Type: Asphalt, dirt, and stairs
Hike Distance: 0.7 miles round trip
Difficulty: 7
Beauty: 6

Overview:

Graveyard Fields is another popular stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The land received the name “Graveyard Fields” after it was destroyed by a wildfire in 1925. The heat from the fire was so intense that it temporarily sterilized the soil. Now, the land is dotted with shorter, younger trees that I guess resembled headstones at one point. This is usually one of the first places in the mountains to receive its fall color each year. There will undoubtedly be a horde of people here whenever you visit, though, so be prepared.

Second Falls, as the name suggests, is the second of two (technically three) waterfalls accessible from Graveyard Fields. Yellowstone Falls, which is downstream from Second Falls, is probably going to become more accessible as time goes on, but right now I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re feeling extraordinarily capable. There’s also an Upper Falls, but it’s complicated to get to. Second Falls, however, makes a good leg stretcher if you’re passing through on the parkway. The falls tumbles down a few ledges before sliding over a wide, open rock face. There are several massive boulders at the base you can walk out on and enjoy the falls.

Directions:

From the intersection of US 276 and the Blue Ridge Parkway, drive south for 7 miles and park in the big parking area for Graveyard Fields on the right (i.e, it’s 2 miles from the parking area from Skinny Dip Falls).

Hike Description:

The paved path descends steeply through an enclosed jungle of rhododendron. The path alternates between dirt and boardwalk until you reach the bottom of the valley at the creek. Cross the footbridge and turn right. Follow the dirt path along the creek and down several wooden steps to the base of the falls.