Hiking to Crabtree Falls
If you are exploring along the Blue Ridge Parkway one of our favorite stops that we have made in the North Carolina portion is to see Crabtree Falls. It is a relatively short loop hike right outside of Little Switzerland that has a beautiful waterfall. We were able to go during peak season and all the fall foliage showed out! I love being in the mountains during peak season and getting to see a waterfall surrounded by all the reds, yellows, and oranges of fall is a magnificent sight to see!
The Hike to the Falls:
You can reach Crabtree Falls via two routes. They are rated as moderate to strenuous. The first is 1.8 miles out and back and the second is 2.7 miles to complete the loop. You’ll begin the hike from the Crabtree Falls Campground Visitors Center. From there you will pass an old amphitheater, cross a paved road, and go through the campgrounds. The campgrounds look like a beautiful place to camp. It’s like a nice open grassy field with a few trees. Once you have passed through the campgrounds you’ll reach the original trailhead. The trail is a nice peaceful walk through the forest, surrounded by hardwoods, mountain laurel and rhododendron. Like I mentioned we were able to go during peak season so all the colorful leaves were falling around us and it just made for a really delightful hike. It is mostly a downhill descent and there are some stone steps along the way. At almost a mile you will reach the base of the falls. At the base of the trail is the spectacular Crabtree Falls. The water cascades over a 60-foot rock cliff. You can view the falls from a wooden bridge that spans the base of the falls, offering a perfect place to get a few photos and take in the waterfall’s beauty. And oh man is it beautiful!
From this point you can do one of two things: you can turn around and come back the way you came or you can continue forward and complete the loop. Either way you go you will have a bit of a climb. We decided to complete the loop. It was uphill for a good portion of the trail and there were a few spots with stone steps. Although it was more strenuous we recommend completing the loop because you get some more really pretty views along the trail. You get another great view of the waterfall and at a little over 1.5 miles the trail crosses a wood bridge over a peaceful creek. The stream is gentle and surrounded by all the mountain laurel. We had a soft breeze and the fall leaves were floating down into the water. It was very tranquil. It’s amazing to think this gentle flowing, peaceful stream creates such a stunning rushing waterfall shortly down the trail. The trail comes out back at the campground where you can cut across back past the amphitheater and to the parking lot where you started.
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