Crabtree Falls (NC)

Height: 70 feet
Trail Type: Gravel, dirt, and rock
Hike Distance: 2.2 miles round trip
Difficulty: 9
Beauty: 10

Overview:

Crabtree Falls is one of the most photographed falls in the state and one of the more popular spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The water from Crabtree Creek flows down a jagged rock face in the form of a teepee – starting out narrow at the top and spreading out toward the bottom. What’s even nicer is that the canopy provided by the trees blocks out enough of the sun, which makes photographing the falls a fun time.

Directions:

The falls are located at the Crabtree Meadows Campground near Milepost 339 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is between the intersection with NC highway 80 and Little Switzerland.

Hike Description:

For whatever reason, parkway or campground officials moved the start of the trailhead to the upper parking area just off the parkway when it used to be a little farther down. The extra 0.3 miles or so added to the hike leads you through an open meadow and through the paid campsite areas. The whole trail is a loop, but going out-and-back on one part of the trail is a shorter trip.

Once you leave the campground, you’ll go downhill for a few hundred feet and come to a T-Junction for the loop. Going right is the shortest route to the falls. You’ll continue to descend down the mountain. Several parts of the trail are covered in huge rocks that aren’t married to the ground, so if you have mobility issues, this may not be the trail for you. The trail ends at a boardwalk across the creek giving you a good view directly in front of the falls. However, you can keep going and hop some rocks and logs to get closer.