Crabtree Falls

Blue Ridge Parkway / Yancey County, North Carolina, USA

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 2.5
Crabtree Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Crabtree Falls (not to be confused with the one in Virginia) was probably the prettiest of the waterfalls we saw that were directly accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

What this 70ft waterfall on Big Crabtree Creek had going for it was its rippling texture amidst a plethora of Autumn colors. Indeed, it was another one of those waterfalls that Julie liked because it had "character." And apparently we weren't the only ones partial to this waterfall, because it was certainly popular despite the upside-down 2-mile round trip out-and-back hike (I swear it felt a lot longer) that was all downhill on the way there and all uphill on the way back.

I don't think the two miles included the extra ten minutes of walking from the visitor center car park to the Crabtree Meadows campground (where the actual trailhead began). Most people (like us) didn't know about the closer trailhead parking by the campground, but then again, there wasn't that many parking spaces there anyways. In any case, there's far more parking spaces by the visitor center.

There was also the option to do a longer loop hike (making the round trip distance 2.5 miles instead of 2), but we met some folks who did it and didn't recommend it. I guess given the amount of uphill walking on the way back to the trailhead, I don't blame them for not desiring to prolong the physical challenge without other obvious natural attractions other than meandering in a tranquil forest. The trail got a bit rockier and uneven the further down we went, but for the most part, it was just like most dirt trails.

There was a footbridge in front of the falls offering nice views. If there's not a whole lot of foot traffic on the footbridge and you're not aspiring to be a professional photographer, it's possible to use that bridge as a pseudo tripod (to save you from the trouble of lugging a tripod on this trail).

In addition to the footbridge, we (like several others) scrambled closer to the falls from both sides of the stream to experiment with different compositions of the falls. Given the tranquil, picturesque scenery with the Autumn colors and this pretty cascading waterfall with character while facing a moderate uphill climb back to the trailhead, we definitely weren't in any hurry to leave.

It took us over 90 minutes to do the hiking and photographing starting and ending at the visitor center.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

With Crabtree Falls being on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it's not hard to get gorgeous views like this, especially in the Autumn, which are really what the parkway is famous forWith Crabtree Falls being on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it's not hard to get gorgeous views like this, especially in the Autumn, which are really what the parkway is famous for
Frontal view of Crabtree FallsFrontal view of Crabtree Falls
Another look at Crabtree FallsAnother look at Crabtree Falls
Crabtree Falls was northwest of Asheville, which had its share of sights like the Biltmore Estate, which was kind of a throwback to the fancy estate houses of the wealthy in EnglandCrabtree Falls was northwest of Asheville, which had its share of sights like the Biltmore Estate, which was kind of a throwback to the fancy estate houses of the wealthy in England
The car park at the visitor centerThe car park at the visitor center

Julie on the trail between the visitor center and the campgroundJulie on the trail between the visitor center and the campground

Crabtree Meadows campgroundCrabtree Meadows campground

Now on the official trailNow on the official trail

Julie descending some stepsJulie descending some steps

Finally getting close to Crabtree FallsFinally getting close to Crabtree Falls

First look at the fallsFirst look at the falls

View from the middle of the footbridgeView from the middle of the footbridge

Had to scramble for this direct view of the fallsHad to scramble for this direct view of the falls

Julie hiking back towards the trailhead under trees with gorgeous Autumn colorsJulie hiking back towards the trailhead under trees with gorgeous Autumn colors


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Bottom up sweep starting with a downstream view from the bridge, then crossing the bridge before panning slowly up to the waterfall itself


Fixated on the falls from closer to its base


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

On the Blue Ridge Parkway, look for mile post 339.5 (roughly 42 miles northeast of Asheville) where the well-signed turnoff for both Crabtree Meadows and the Crabtree Falls Visitor Center is on the north side of the road. We noticed that this section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is referred to as Little Switzerland. We weren't sure why this was the case, but we'd imagine it might be because of the numerous tunnels weaving in and out of mountains kind of like how some parts of the real Switzerland are like.

We drove here from Linville Falls, whose access road is 23 miles further east on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Strangely enough, our Mapsource map indicated that we visited "Upper Falls" while Crabtree Falls was much further downstream. I'm not sure if the map is mistaken or if there's another Crabtree Falls in the area. In any case, that kind of threw us off and got us questioning our GPS for a while. Hopefully, this writeup will prevent that type of confusion (assuming you used a GPS/MapSource combo like we did).

As for some geographical context, Asheville was 35 miles (under an hour drive) north of Brevard, 63 miles (about 90 minutes drive) north of Greenville, South Carolina, and 130 miles (over 2 hours drive) west of Charlotte, and 247 miles (4 hours drive) west of Raleigh.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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