About Second Falls (Lower Falls)
Second Falls (also referred to as Lower Falls according to the signs here as well as Yellowstone Falls according to some maps) was essentially our waterfalling excuse to check out the popular Graveyard Fields stop while driving the gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway.
The falls tumbled over several rounded tiers over a cumulative drop of about 60ft. We saw some people chilling out near the top of the falls though we were content with taking the stairs down to its base for better photos. We were able to check out the falls from stair steps leading to the boulder-fringed creek right at its base as well as from the creek bank itself.
From the busy car park, we followed the trail leaving the northeastern side (facing the overlook to the right) which descended a mix of steps a path through a grove of some bush with twisty branches. Eventually, the stairs terminated near a bridge over the Yellowstone Prong (the water source of this falls and others in the area) where we followed the Lower Falls signs (essentially staying right at the trail junctions) to continue on the trail downstream towards more stairs leading to its base after about 0.3 miles (0.6 miles round trip).
Due to its relative ease of access, much of the activity going on at the Graveyard Fields stop also spills over to this waterfall thereby making this falls very popular.
Apparently after the fact, we learned that there was a third waterfall just 0.2 miles downstream of Second Falls called Yellowstone Falls. However, perhaps it was better that we didn’t know about it because getting a good view of it is said to require a pretty dangerous descent towards its base.
The mini valley that is the Graveyard Fields was named after a bunch of tree stumps (resembling tombstones, I guess) that were left after a severe wind storm several centuries ago. The area was then subject to logging before a fire in 1925 raged through the area. As a result of this turmoil in the landscape, the Graveyard Fields is said to revegetate much more slowly than the rest of the terrain amidst the Blue Ridge Parkway. Thus, the Graveyard Fields tends to be more dominated by open spaces and ghostly brush as opposed to the plethora of hardwood trees that are prevalent in the area.
First, we drove north through town along the Asheville Hwy towards the traffic light junction with the Pisgah Hwy (Hwy 276). Turning left at this light, we took this winding road for about 15 miles where we took a ramp on the right connecting to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Turning left onto the Blue Ridge Parkway (to go west), we then followed it for another 7 miles until we reached the well-signed car park for the Graveyard Fields (near mile post 418.8) on the right.
Alternately, we could have driven straight to the Graveyard Fields along the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville. It would have been about 36 miles to the southwest taking around an hour.
Finally for some geographical context, Brevard, North Carolina was 35 miles (under an hour drive) south of Asheville, North Carolina, 47 miles (90 minutes drive) northwest of Greenville, South Carolina, and 126 miles (2.5 hours drive) west of Charlotte, North Carolina.
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