Crabtree Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway

Crabtree Falls is located in the Crabtree Falls Recreation Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 339.5. This 70 foot waterfall is accessed by a very nice hiking trail that offers an out and back option or a slightly longer loop hike.   Crabtree Falls is a gorgeous waterfall, that is well worth the hike.

What you need to know

Location: MP339.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Handicap Accessible: No

Dog Friendly: Yes

Difficulty: Moderate

Features: Beautiful dense hardwood forest, bridges, natural stairs, wildflowers, and waterfall

Directions: From Asheville NC, take the Parkway North to Milepost 339.5. Parking will be on your left, and the trailhead is just across from the store.

Recommended Gear: Camera, water, comfortable shoes or hiking boots, and sunscreen.

Crabtree Falls and Crabtree Falls Trail

Crabtree Falls Blue Ridge Parkway

Crabtree Falls is accessed from the extension trailhead located next to the parking area on the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP339.5.  The trailhead will be across from the old store.  The old parking area is in the campground itself, and the actual real trailhead is located .5 miles from this parking lot, at the old parking area.

There will be signs pointing you to the extension trailhead just after you enter the Crabtree Falls Recreation area, and pass the picnic area (which has bathrooms) at Milepost 339.5.

The extension trail is flat and easy.  You'll pass through some woods, and then pass the old Amphitheater for the Crabtree Falls campground.  Just after passing the Amphitheater, you'll see the sign to the right, just go left towards Loop - A, where you will continue into the campground on the trail.

The trail will take you to the Loop A road in the campground.   Almost directly across from you as you reach the loop road will be the actual real trailhead for the trail itself.  The old parking lot will be to your right - It is no longer used due to being too small to handle the volume of visitors.

Crabtree Falls Video

Check out our video on the hike to Crabtree Falls during the summer!

Crabtree Falls Trailhead

At the trailhead by the old parking lot is a large sign and trail map.   We took a picture not only to share with you, but to have for reference as we hiked.

From the trailhead, the trail for the most part descends towards the falls at a slow incline.  During the first part of the trail, it's wide and easy to walk on.  You'll be surrounded by Rosebay Rhododendron, that are beautiful in July.

Shortly after, you'll reach the intersection of the loop trail where it returns from the falls.  Just go right and down to reach the falls.  The trail begins wide and easy, but gets progressively steeper, more narrower and rougher.  

The walk down is fairly easy, and the more steep parts of the trail have natural stairs, that the National Park Service has done an excellent job with.  The trail will switchback a few times.  

Once the trail narrows and begins to become rougher, you'll hear the falls in the distance, and during the winter and spring, you'll see the Crabtree Falls shortly after in the distance to your left a little.  Before reaching the falls, the trail will flatten out, and become very easy again.

The trail emerges at the falls, below it, with a very nice wooden bridge spanning the creek below the falls.  Here is the view you'll see as you reach the waterfall.   

As you can see, this is a gorgeous waterfall.  We've visited a few times in both the Spring and Summer.  The best view of Crabtree Falls is from the the other side of the bridge.   This is a very photogenic falls though, and good photo locations are located on both sides, and from the bridge.

At the base of the falls is a shallow wading pool, that seems to be perfect to cool off in during the summer. 

We elected to head back on the loop trail which is up the stone steps on the far side of the bridge, and take the loop trail home.   This is a strenuous trail for the first .5 mile or so.  Very steep, and short sections of the trail have some very serious drops.  Once you reach the top of the ridge, the trail is easy to moderate, but that first .5 mile was tough, and we took lots of breaks on the way up.  They aren't kidding about this part being "strenuous".

The loop trail takes you alongside the creek above the Falls, and is really gorgeous.   Follow the signs back to the Amphitheater to return to the short trail back to the parking lot.    Towards the end of the trail, it will go left or straight.  Going left will take you back to the original trail you started on, going straight will take you out into the campground and you can find the extension trail to the left.   This is the route we decided to take as it seemed more direct.

Crabtree Falls is an absolutely gorgeous waterfall, with a tall and wide cascade.   The area around the falls is dense wood, with lots to see, including creeks, wildflowers, and numerous types of trees.    Not only are the falls beautiful, but the trail itself makes for a great hike, that isn't too terribly difficult, but challenging enough to be fun, and provide some good exercise.

>> Find and see more waterfalls using our Waterfalls Guide and Map!

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.


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