Graveyard Fields Loop including Upper Falls

11 reviews #2 hike out of 231 in
3.1 mi
Distance
1 hrs 46 min
Time
terrain
303 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

Graveyard Fields is a beautiful and interesting open field area along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a rare, high altitude (~ 5,000ft) field, with the beautiful river (the Yellowstone Prong) running through it. It has gorgeous waterfalls at either end and many scenic hiking trails.

Park at the popular, main parking area, which is one of the few spots along the Parkway to have good toilets. This hike first descends to the extremely popular Second Falls before climbing up to Upper Falls, at the upper end of Graveyard Fields.

The Second, or Lower Falls, is just a 1/3 of a mile hike from the parking area. Find the beginning of the trail next to the restroom facilities. You will descend a paved walkway through rhododendron to reach a junction with a spur to the Mountains to Sea Trail. Turn right at this junction (the Mountain to Sea Trails heads upward).
You will descend a long section of steps to the viewing platform for the Lower Falls. Follow steps and a wooden boardwalk to the base of the Second Falls. The adventurous can carefully climb onto the rocks and large boulders for a closer view. Caution is advised anytime leaving the platform! Rocks can be slippery and currents fast and strong!

There are lots of great photo opportunities here, so bring your camera or phone!

Retrace your steps to the MST junction and follow the trail upriver. There are many side paths made by blueberry pickers but the main route is usually obvious. Pass a trail to the left (west) which will be your return route. The trail becomes somewhat rocky as it approaches Upper Falls, which descend 60 feet over ledges. Note that near the Upper Falls, the trail forks, with the left path heading to lower sections, and the right forks heads to the base of the main drop of the falls. The right fork avoids some steep, slick rock sections.

To return to the parking area, retrace your steps and take the trail to the right that you passed earlier. It leads to the west end of the parking area. During blueberry season the local bears will be active.

Getting Started

Follow the Blue Ridge Parkway to mile 418.8. Get there early to get good parking!

Taking Children

This is a great family hike!



    Rate this Hike

    user_profile
    1 month, 1 week ago
    The loop was fine but I quit the trail to the upper falls. It was downright depressing to see such a wreck of a trail due to over use in a fragile area. Clearly the national parks are over used and underfunded.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 6 months ago
    Decent shorter hike to the upper falls. Last quarter mile to the upper falls is the most challenging and interesting but nothing the average family can't handle.
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    2 years, 5 months ago
    The hike to the Upper Falls is a little difficult, but worth it once you get there. The other issue is this trail is heavily used. There were many side trails that had been made by people trying to avoid muddy wet spots. It caused a little confusion on which way to go and what was the main trail vs. a denture. The Lower Falls has wooden steps all the way down. While impressive I went on a warm summer afternoon and there were tons of teenagers swimming. I like the fact that this old timey form of cooling off is so available, but if you expect a serene and picturesque waterfall wait till a cold day.
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    3 years, 1 month ago
    Hiked on 10-7-18. Was hoping for more fall color but it is a little later this year. Hiked this same hike a few years back on first Friday of October and colors were at peak. Easy hike. Mostly flat. Very muddy after any rain at all. A lot of secondary trails have been made by hikers to go around the bigger mud holes. Falls had much less water on this trip compared to a few years back. Can get crowded on weekends. I hiked out to falls about 4:30 PM and passed more people than I could even count who were returning from the falls. When I arrived there were only two couples at the base and a few people above the falls. Within 10 minutes they were all gone and I had it to myself.
    ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 month ago

    user_profile
    1 month, 2 weeks ago
    ★ ★

    user_profile
    10 months, 3 weeks ago
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    user_profile
    1 year, 2 months ago
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    user_profile
    1 year, 2 months ago
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    user_profile
    1 year, 4 months ago
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    user_profile
    1 year, 8 months ago
    ★ ★


Public Tracks

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steve 1 year, 5 months ago
Graveyard Fields loop, Asheville SC
Found royal ferns, there are blueberries
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denbarba4 5 years, 6 months ago
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