Graveyard Fields Trail: top Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall hikes near Asheville, NC

Graveyard Fields Trail

Hike the ultra-popular Graveyard Fields Trail to stunning waterfalls, through fields of wildflowers, wild blackberries and blueberries, and to beautiful views on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

trail info

3.3 miles
(round trip)
moderate
Dog-
friendly

LOCATION:Blue Ridge Parkway southwest of Asheville, NC (maps & directions)

GEAR: Osprey Stratos 24 Backpack w/ our favorite hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 780 Trails Illustrated Map

Graveyard Fields was one of our first-ever hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway more a decade ago. And it’s become one of our favorite Asheville-area trails that we’ve loved to visit again and again, enjoying the trail through every season.

Hike the Graveyard Fields Trail to tumbling waterfalls just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NCAbove: hike the Graveyard Fields Trail to beautiful waterfalls just off the Blue Ridge Parkway

This oddly-named area is wild, rugged and exceptionally beautiful. Sunlight streams through dense thickets of rhododendron and mountain laurel, the forest’s gnarly branches casting an array of dappled light on the trail. The hike visits two beautiful waterfalls, the multi-tiered second falls and the tall cascades of the upper falls. And the trail winds through a stream-filled valley with a memorable knobby, mounded terrain that’s filled with wild blackberry and blueberry bushes that burst with fruit in the late summer months. Graveyard Fields makes for one amazing, unforgettable hike.

Explore lush fields filled with wild blueberries on the Graveyard Fields Trail near Asheville

The hike catches views of the surrounding mountains, including Black Balsam Knob, from the trailhead before plunging into a dense forest of laurel and rhododendron. It visits both Graveyard Fields waterfalls and treks through the fields, hitting the highlights of this beautiful valley. It’s a moderate hike that spans just over 3 miles, roundtrip, and is a must-hike for Blue Ridge Parkway visitors looking for a great outdoor adventure.

Graveyard Fields Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway: video on YouTube

For a slightly longer adventure at Graveyard Fields, check out the Graveyard Fields Loop, a 6-mile adventure that scores visits to both waterfalls and climbs through a beautiful high-elevation forest on the Mountains to Sea Trail at Graveyard Ridge.

Graveyard Fields Trail: the hike

The hike begins at the signed trailhead at the Graveyard Fields overlook (view trail maps and driving directions), catching exceptional views of the surrounding valley framed by rolling mountains and towering mountains. Straight ahead, Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountian shadow the deep-cut stream valley. The hike descends a paved trail, trekking northbound and diving into a dense tunnel of rhododendron and mountain laurel.

Hike Graveyard Fields, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC, through a beautiful forest of rhododendron to two large waterfalls

The sound of rushing water grows louder as the trail sights Yellowstone Prong and crosses the river by wooden bridge. The river’s flow alternates between small, cascading waterfalls and tranquil pools, nestled into a rocky riverbed sculpted and scoured by the river’s flow over many millennia.

The trail reaches an intersection at just under .2 mile, turning right to hike to the second falls. The hike passes a spur trail to the Mountains to Sea Trail before descending on a series of wood stairs and angled ramps. The trail reaches the base of the second falls at .3 mile, catching views of the waterfall’s multi-tiered cascades and the sandy, boulder-filled riverbed just below the waterfall.

Hike the Graveyard Fields Trail to beautiful waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Departing the second falls, the hike doubles back to the trail junction, this time veering southwest to begin the loop portion of the trail. The hike treks through sandy, grassy fields and crosses a boardwalk before passing a second trail junction at .7 mile.

The route continues westbound toward the upper falls, crossing a boardwalk and passing through fields of wild blackberries and blueberries. The hike reaches a third trail junction at .85 mile, turning right and following signs to the upper falls.

The trail crosses a creek at 1.15 miles, and again at 1.35 miles before beginning a steady upward climb to the waterfall over rocky, moss-covered, angular boulders and rough terrain. The sound of rushing water fills the forest as the trail reaches the lower section of the waterfall.

Top Blue Ridge Parkway hikes near Asheville, NC: explore tumbling waterfalls on the Graveyard Fields Trail

The upper Graveyard Fields waterfall is divided into two sections, each accessible by a short side trail. At the lower section, the river slides over an angled, colorful rock outcrop, plunging down an extended chute before pooling above large, tumbled boulders. At the upper, Yellowstone Prong plunges from a towering cliff before cascading over an angled rock outcrop, twisting and turning as it falls and pools. The falls make a great spot for a mid-hike snack (and in the early morning, it’s our favorite place to enjoy coffee and a morning snack on the Blue Ridge Parkway).

Hike to Upper Graveyard Fields Falls, a tumbling waterfall just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near of Asheville, NC

The hike departs the upper falls and retraces its steps, traveling eastbound. At 2.8 miles, the hike resumes the loop portion of the trail, trekking south to cross a wood bridge over Yellowstone Prong. The trail dives back into a dense forest of gnarly-branched rhododendron as it begins a steady climb to the trailhead, and the onion-like scent of the green-leafed galax plant fills the fresh forest air. The hike reaches the western trailhead at the Graveyard Fields parking area at 3.3 miles, completing the adventure.

Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.

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Graveyard Fields Trail Map, Directions & Details

Graveyard Fields Trail Map
Graveyard Fields Trail Map
This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.

Driving Directions


Parking

Free (limited) parking is available at the parking area and overlook at MP 418 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. (Before you go, check for trail updates and parkway closures on the official Blue Ridge Parkway website.)

GPS Coordinates

35.320383, -82.847050     //     N35 19.223 W82 50.823

Elevation Profile

Graveyard Fields Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway: Elevation Profile
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Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.
 
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