Graveyard Fields and Falls

Crisp fall Saturdays demand we pack a picnic and head to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The scenic drive consists of countless overlooks and breathtaking views, with unforgettable trails in every direction. Located at milepost 418.8, south of Asheville and just a short drive from Pisgah Mountain, is an adventure you won’t soon forget: Graveyard Fields.

Cascading waterfalls, lush green mountain laurel, and open fields with spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains make for a unique, memorable hiking experience.

Plan on getting there early, especially on the weekends and during leaf peeping season, as this hike is on most everyone’s list.  Practice good trail etiquette and Leave No Trace (LNT) rules, and all can enjoy exploring this exceptional location.

The trail greets you with a steep descent down several sets of stairs along a paved pathway, but it’s short and leads you directly to the alluring, rushing waters of the Yellowstone Prong.  To the right are the Lower (Second) Falls, where on weekends it will be busy with photographers set up and ready to shoot in this glorious setting.  In the summer, there are children and adults alike wading and swimming in the cool mountain water.

After taking in the Yellowstone Prong and Lower Falls, begin your trek towards Upper Falls. Head left, through the fields, and the crowds will begin to thin out, allowing for a beautiful hike with spectacular views of the mountains in the distance.  The trail is eroded in sections and muddy after rain, so watch your step and wear waterproof hiking shoes. Don’t be afraid to get a bit dirty.  That’s all part of the fun, right? There are several streams to cross, but overall the trail is easy to moderate. Having the trail map on hand is recommended as it’s fairly easy to go off course. We highly recommend AllTrails - it’s saved the day for us more than once.

As you approach Upper Falls, the trail becomes a bit more strenuous, with rocks and a steep incline.  Remember waterfalls are dangerous.  Always be careful and know your limitations.

Check out the close up of the map, found at the trail head, so you can plan your hike.  Choose the loop to see (the well worth it) Upper Falls, which is right around 3 miles, or just hang out and enjoy the Lower (Second) Falls. There are plenty of options for an unforgettable day in the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains. 

 
 

 #DYK - Do you know where the name “Graveyard Fields” originated from? According to a sign found along the hike, “Wind-thrown tree trunks covered in moss and spruce needles looked like a graveyard until destroyed by fire in 1925.”

Happy Trails!

Jen Charles