Graveyard Fields Loop Trail

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

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9 Reviews
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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.
Distance: mi Elevation: ft
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.
Activity Type: Hiking, Trail Running, Walking
Nearby City: Blue Ridge Parkway
Distance: 1.1
Elevation Gain: 451 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 5,135 feet
Top Elevation: 5,135 feet
Additional Use: Swimming
Features: Waterfalls
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Driving Directions: Directions to Graveyard Fields Loop Trail
Parks: Blue Ridge Parkway
Elevation Min/Max: 4996/5135 ft
Elevation Start/End: 5135/5135 ft
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Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway

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.

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Best Easy Day Hikes: Blue Ridge Parkway

Best Easy Day Hikes: Blue Ridge Parkway

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.

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Hiking North Carolina

Hiking North Carolina

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.

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Five-Star Trails: Asheville

Five-Star Trails: Asheville

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).

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Best Dog Hikes North Carolina

Best Dog Hikes North Carolina

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.

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Best Hikes with Dogs: North Carolina

Best Hikes with Dogs: North Carolina

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.

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100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina

100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina

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.

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Recent Trail Reviews

9/20/2016
0

Great scenery and a very enjoyable hike...pretty crowded but manageable.


10/10/2010
0

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!


10/27/2008
0

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.


6/10/2008
0

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.


4/19/2007
0

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.



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May 2018