Graveyard Fields Loop Trail

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina 28729

Elevation Gain451ft
Trailhead Elevation5,135ft
Elevation Min/Max4996/5135ft
Elevation Start/End5135/5135ft

Graveyard Fields Loop Trail

Graveyard Fields Loop Trail is a hiking trail in Haywood County, North Carolina. It is within Blue Ridge Parkway. It is 1.1 miles long and begins at 5,135 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 451 feet. The Graveyard Fields Overlook parking is near the trailhead. There are also restrooms. This trail connects with the following: Graveyard Upper Falls Trail and Lower Falls Trail.

Graveyard Fields Loop Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A loop that reaches two waterfalls and explores a high, alpine-like valley. A second circuit involves a new portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Hikes on the well-maintained but heavily traveled Graveyard Fields Loop can range from a short out-and-back hike to a full-length streamside loop, with or without scenic waterfalls. Though this lofty area—the trailhead is at 5,100 feet and the high point 5,400 feet—never gets very warm, the pool below the lower falls is a great summer spot to cool off."

"A loop hike reaches a spectacular waterfall and explores a high, alpinelike valley, while an out-and-back route bags an awesome bald summit. As you drive south out of Asheville and climb past Mount Pisgah, the Shining Rock Wilderness can’t help but catch your attention. The horizon peels back on an almost Western scale, and meadow-covered mountaintops march off to meet summits cloaked in evergreens and accented by milk-white crags of quartz—the area’s namesake “shining rocks.”

The Graveyard Fields Trail explores a scenic valley just below
these summits. Hikes on the well-maintained but heavily traveled Graveyard Fields Loop can range from a short out-and-back hike to a full-length streamside loop, with or without scenic water-falls. Though this lofty area—the trailhead is at 5,100 feet and the high point 5,400 feet—never gets very warm, the pool below Second Falls is a great summer spot to cool off."

"The big news here is that this very popular trailhead was greatly expanded and facilities significantly improved in 2014 with funding from the Blue Ridge Parkway, the
USDA Forest Service, and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. Solar restrooms were
installed and many trail improvements went in, including sections of boardwalk and
interpretive signing.This two-waterfall loop explores a high, alpine-like valley and can include the Mountains-to-Sea Trail."

"Graveyard Fields is one of the most popular hikes in Western North Carolina. Its expansive views, mild terrain, fall blueberries, and cascading waterfalls make it a favorite destination for hikers of varying ages and interests. Th e hike starts near the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Graveyard Fields Overlook. After crossing the headwaters of the Yellowstone Prong, the path travels fi rst to Upper Falls, then retraces and continues downstream to the scenic Lower Falls (also known as Second Falls)."

"While the water flow isn’t that exceptional, the views of the valley below and the surrounding mountains are outstanding. The trail leads you steeply down a paved path, and then cuts generally west through the heart of the Graveyard Fields. This is a trail for all seasons. In spring and summer there’s an abundance of wildflowers. Autumn brings the colorful changing of the leaves, and in winter snow dusted over the valley glistens in the sun."

"Its gruesome name notwithstanding, Graveyard Fields is an enormously popular and much beloved trail. The area was named for devastating forest fires that swept through in 1925, burning 25,000 acres, and in 1942, burning an equal amount, leaving the high-elevation valley with blackened tree stumps that looked like tombstones.

The popularity both for hikers and their dogs is understandable. Graveyard Fields boasts a well-marked, easy-to-follow trail, two waterfalls, riverside viewing, blueberry picking in late summer, and, at this high elevation, cool temperatures throughout the summer."

"Stand in the parking area above the valley in which Graveyard Fields sits and it won’t take long to realize something’s different about this place. The name itself may tip you off.

A long while back—estimates range from five hundred to one thousand years—a natural disaster described as a “wind blow” knocked over the spruce forest that once dominated this mile-and-a-half-long valley. The resulting uprooted root-balls left a permanent mark, eventually being covered with soil to give the impression of burial mounds."

Graveyard Fields Loop Trail Reviews

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Really enjoyed it. Pretty easy for most of the loop. There’s some strenuous uphill to get to the Upper Falls but not too bad. Trail markings could be better so make sure you have a good map. (Yes you cross the stream while going to Upper Falls). It’s muddy. Flat out muddy. You can walk around some of it but wear old shoes. I started on the left side of the parking lot and the first little bit is like through a fairy tale spooky forest. It was so pretty.
Great scenery and a very enjoyable hike...pretty crowded but manageable.
One of my all time fave destinations in western NC. The large rocks in the river are fun to walk on, nice swimming hole at the bottom of the lower falls. And the BEST wild blueberry picking locale anywhere! Tons of bushes in season! A bit crowded, particularly closer to the parking lot and lower falls, and during the busier seasons. But worth seeing!
This is a classic drive up close to Asheville. You can view the lower falls after a short 10 minute hike or venture further to the upper falls. Fall foliage is superior but catch it early since this high elevation is known for its winds.
Make sure to hit this area either in a cooler season or early in the morning, as there is very little cover. Pretty crowded, but second falls is gorgeous and worth fighting the crowds. There is an excellent group camp site about half a mile from upper falls. This area is a little more secluded from the parking area and a great stop to stop and camp if hiking on the mountain to sea trail. (Small detour) Overall very interesting area, worth checking out.
This is a nice trail with some interesting views, but like others have said, it will be crowded. My favorite time to visit is in the spring, when the weather is cool, but not too cool. Oh, and parts of the trail near the creek are being re-routed because of erosion and heavy use. Boardwalks across the valley are being created and it is a welcome site, if you've seen the poor trail conditions near the creek.
Very cool hike, we arrived at about.. 630, so it was dark. This made it kind of difficult to find a campsite, but there are several so eventually we were able to camp. The next day we hiked up the ridge trail. About halfway up there is a random intersection not on the map that leads to the Mountains to Sea trail which loops around the ridge, an easy hike, great views of Balsam, and no trees blocking the view of Graveyard Fields. A+
We had an exceptionally nice day on this trail. There were three people and two dogs. We ate lunch on some rock right below the upper falls and had a beautiful long range view on the other side. The trail was muddy in places and one side of the loop was closed. It is a fairly busy trail so if you are looking for solitude this is not for you. If you want an easy fairly short hike with nice falls and views this is just fine.
Graveyard fields is a great starting point for some outstanding hiking. This area fills up rather quickly on nice days so think about your timing if you want seclusion. I suggest hiking up to Ivestor gap via the Art Loeb trail which you can access from Graveyard fields. This hike rolls along the ridge tops and crosses Tennant Mountain where there is a plaque marking the history of theis mountain. At the right time with noone around this place is truly inspiring as the views seem to be endless. Although highly traveled (especially during berry season) this is still one of my sentimental favorites. See you on the trail !!!!!
Access from the Parkway, Great views of creek and falls. Trails in great shape with connectors to Ivestor Gap trail. Graveyard Fields is an area that burned out years ago and just now starting re-growth. No hiking gear required, BRP mile marker 418.

Graveyard Fields Loop Trail Photos

Trail Information

Blue Ridge Parkway
Nearby City
Blue Ridge Parkway
Additional Use
Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Ranger District; (828) 877-3265;
Local Contacts
DeLorme: North Carolina Atlas & Gazetteer, page 52, C4. National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map #780 Pisgah Ranger District, F3 and F4, Trail #358A, 358C.
Local Maps