Explore the largest cascading waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. This hike is great for both family and dogs, so bring the group.

This is an approximately 4 mile roundtrip hike. It will usually take anywhere from 1-2 hours to get up, depending on your experience and who you have with you, and about an hour down. As you come off of route 56, you will come up to the trailhead where there is a large parking area with restrooms. There is a $3.00 parking fee per vehicle that is on the honor system. You put your money into the container and take a pass to hang inside your car.

As the trail starts, it is paved for the first quarter mile or so as it comes to the first waterfall at the lower falls. It is a great place to go and see a waterfall without having to do much rough hiking. From here on out the trail is dirt meandering back and forth through the woods. It can get steep with some jagged rocks at some points and there can be places where the ice hasn't melted depending on the season you go in.

CAUTION: There are signs everywhere that tell you to stay on the trail and to not wander off near the falls because the rocks are very slippery. There have been plenty of deaths that result from it, usually one every couple years or so. I know that most people will wander off the trail, I do so myself, you pretty much have if you want any decent photos. I'm not advising it, but if you do be extra careful and know your limits.

Around 3/4 of a mile in you come the largest falls of the lower section that are over 200 feet! Then at a mile in, you reach the middle section of the falls, until about 1.5 miles where you get to the base of the upper falls. Then about the 2 mile mark, you reach the summit where you will cross a bridge and see a stone wall. There you have an awesome view of the Tye River Gorge. From there you can go back down the trail or continue on. There is Crabtree Falls Trail which has good campsites that continues beyond the waterfalls that goes for about 1.5 miles farther to reach Crabtree Meadows if you want to go farther.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Good hiking shoes/boots
  • Hammock
  • Tent (if camping)
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RT Distance 4 Miles
Elevation Gain 1000 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Crabtree Falls

Did this hike March of last year - not many people. This hike is pretty unique since you're hiking next to the waterfall the entire way up. Many opportunities to stop and take pictures. Perfect for all ages.

Amazing hike

This is such an amazing hike and one of the first hikes I did after moving to Virginia. This waterfall is beautiful year around but there is something special about this waterfall during fall. This is a popular trail so expect to see people even during the middle of the week.

Crowded....

This is such a fun hike and beautiful during the fall but oh my gosh there are SO many people. Also, be really careful not to go out on the rocks because multiple people (over 30) have died from slipping and falling to their deaths. Otherwise, beautiful waterfalls for miles and I recommend this hike! Try to go during the week if at all possible :)


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