Crabtree Falls Trail

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Elevation Gain1,557ft
Trailhead Elevation3,761ft
Elevation Min/Max3243/3761ft
Elevation Start/End3761/3761ft

Crabtree Falls Trail

Crabtree Falls Trail is a hiking trail in Yancey County, North Carolina. It is within Blue Ridge Parkway. It is 2.4 miles long and begins at 3,761 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,557 feet. The Crabtree Falls Trailhead Parking is near the trailhead. The Crabtree Falls Campground camp site can be seen along the trail.

Crabtree Falls Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Hikes Near Asheville, North Carolina (Falcon Guides)
Johnny Molloy
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"This loop hike leads from a popular campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway down to an impressive high cataract—Crabtree Falls—that plunges 70 feet over a rock face, misting visitors when its flow is up. Spring is a good time to visit the falls, for not only bold flows but also to see the forty plus species of wildflowers, from lady slippers to jack-in-the-pulpits to a few relic crabapple trees that gave the area its name."
Waterfalls of the Blue Ridge: A Hiking Guide to the Cascades of the Blue Ridge Mountains (Menasha Ridge Press)
Nicole Blouin, Steve Bordonaro, & Marilou Wier Bordonaro
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"Crabtree Falls is on Crabtree Creek, accessed by Crabtree Falls Trail, in Crabtree Meadows. There’s no mystery behind the origin of its name: Flowering crab trees were once plentiful, growing wild in the fields. Unfortunately, that was in the old days when, like the many apple orchards in the area, they were maintained and cared for. Only a few scattered trees remain, but each May, they announce themselves with attractive pink blooms."
100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina (The Mountaineers Books)
Joe Miller
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"The Crabtree Falls Trail is yet another gem buried along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Even the person who wrote the trailhead sign, perhaps jaded by writing signs for so many stellar Parkway trails, could only come up with this: “45 MINUTE WALK ALONG A WOODLAND TRAIL TO CRABTREE FALLS.”"
Best Hikes with Dogs: North Carolina (The Mountaineers Books)
Karen Chavez
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"The picturesque Crabtree Falls Campground has an honor payment system for tent and RV camping, but there is no parking fee for day hiking. The campground and the Crabtree Falls Loop Trail are part of the popular, 250-acre Crabtree Meadows Recreation Area of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which also includes a picnic area, restaurant, and gift shop. The main attraction here is the waterfall. The best times of year to hike with dogs are late spring, summer, and fall. The parkway at this high elevation is intermittently closed during winter due to snowy or icy road conditions, and the road to the campground is closed from the end of October through May. If the parkway is open you can still access the trail in the off-season by parking at the gate and walking 0.3 mile from the parkway to the trailhead."
Best Dog Hikes North Carolina (Falcon Guides)
Melissa Watson
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"To reach Crabtree Falls is challenging, leading you on a steady descent, but the falls are absolutely gorgeous and well worth the effort. A single tree stands at the base of the falls, while the bold creek swiftly passes it by. A bench built into a footbridge at the base is a perfect place to take in the scenery while the dogs enjoy sniffing and playing around in the creek."
"This is one of western North Carolina’s best waterfall hikes—especially on a sunny spring day after significant rain. Though only 253 acres, Crabtree Meadows Recreation Area, flanking Parkway mile-post 339, is a small but compelling scenic enclave. There’s also a campground and picnic area (a small snack bar/gift shop has been closed in recent years. Some Parkway concessions elsewhere are also struggling, check the website for the latest)."
"Crabtree Falls Loop Trail is one of western North Carolina’s best waterfall hikes-especially on a sunny spring day after significant rain. You’ll also find a campground and picnic area. The area’s snack bar and gift shop have been closed in recent years. The former Crabtree Meadows Recreation Area was recently renamed as the meadows have become less prominent. Though only 253 acres, the spot now known as the Crabtree Falls Recreation Area is a small but compelling scenic enclave on the Parkway. The Crabtree Falls Loop Trail now starts near the closed concession building, so enter the woods and pass the amphitheater at 350 feet. As you near the campground loops, bear right on a wide gravel trail to cross the campground entrance road at the kiosk into the old trailhead (a restroom lies off to the left in the campground loop)."

Crabtree Falls Trail Trip Reports

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Nice trail to hike not to tough nice little trail to view a nice little waterfall. I'm not sure that my date is correct but I'm sure it was sometime in April maybe 1st or 2nd week not sure but it was a little aggravating to have to start hiking up a paved rd because the campground wasn't open yet to reach the trailhead.
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Wonderful hike! This is a leisurely stroll down (if you go right on the loop) to the falls and then an intense, switchback climb back up that turns to a meandering meadow walk for a while. Beautiful views. We were able to get right up to the waterfall...right in front of the water the tempature drops 20 degrees - which was welcome on a hot August hike. We did see a deer of the trail which surprised us! We have seen little wildlife while hiking popular trails. Nice little gift shop has sandwiches you can take with you. We enjoyed a nice fall-side lunch. Best seat in town.Definitely worth the trip -- and easy to get to.

Crabtree Falls Trail Photos

Trail Information

Blue Ridge Parkway
Nearby City
Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway, 199 Hemphill Knob Rd., Asheville, NC 28803-8686, (828) 348-3400,
Local Contacts
National Geographic #779 Linville Gorge, Mount Mitchell Pisgah National Forest; USGS Celo
Local Maps

Trail Log