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Graveyard Fields Hike (How to See 2 Waterfalls in 1 Trail)

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on January 23, 2024.

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The Graveyard Fields hike is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and is an incredibly popular trek within an hour of Asheville.

With two waterfalls (one among the best in NC), boardwalk views, and otherwise picturesque scenery all along the way, it’s no wonder that so many people flock to this beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains spot.

If you’re one of them, keep reading because our tips, hiking directions, when to visit Graveyard Fields, Asheville, and background info detail everything you need to know about this awesome (and bucket list-worthy) place in Western North Carolina.

Here’s how we’ve organized this guide!

  • History and Background
  • Graveyard Fields Hikes
  • Tips for Hiking Graveyard Fields, NC
  • Nearby Adventures

Read More: Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes

Graveyard Fields, North Carolina

History and Background

While the name might suggest something more ominous, this “graveyard” was formed when a massive windstorm swept through the area. Graveyard Fields refers to a mound of tree stumps that remained, poking out of the ground and resembling tombstones.

Another thing you might notice when hiking around Graveyard Fields is all the wide-open spaces, which are odd when you remember you’re in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. That’s because, in 1925, a fire broke out here and destroyed much of the area’s flora.

Since that fire, it’s easy to recognize that something isn’t normal but also that nature is resilient and will rebuild.

Read More: 75+ Great Hikes Near Asheville (Within a 2-Hour Drive)

Today’s Graveyard Fields Trail

Carl walking along a boardwalk with our daughter on his back!

As we mentioned, the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Graveyard Fields sits right off the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 418.8), with a parking lot that often fills up fast. As one of the few hikes on the parkway with a bathroom, it’s a popular stop for many who may not be hiking and need a quick break.

There are two hikes from Graveyard Fields, and we recommend doing them both because they both end with waterfalls! Many people often do the short hike to Lower Falls, which is just 1/3 of a mile from the parking lot.

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Lower Falls

the cascading lower falls among the surrounding of Asheville NC

While it is a short hike, don’t be too fooled into thinking it’s super easy! There are several steps to get down to the falls, but you’ll be happily shaded in a thick, luscious patch of rhododendron.

Descend down the steps, and then you will cross a bridge. Make sure to stop and take in the view while on the bridge, as it is really magnificent! It is lovely during fall when the leaves are changing colors.

After crossing the bridge, you’ll see a sign for the Lower Falls directing you to the right for a viewing platform of the falls. Surging from the Yellowstone Prong is the multitiered Lower Falls.

Read More: 20+ Kid-Friendly Waterfalls In NC (Easy Hikes And Swimming Holes!)

Upper Falls

Be sure to follow signs at Graveyard Fields

The second falls area, Upper Falls, is reachable via a 3.3-mile loop, which takes you back through to the trail and a loop to the southwest.

You’ll pass grassy fields and a boardwalk of wild blueberries. Crossing the creek several times and trekking over boulders and rocky terrain, your reward is the cascading Upper Falls.

We will say this. It is incredibly easy to get lost and turned around on this trail! We met several people who had turned around after not being sure if they were on the right path.

Read More: Colorful Fall Hikes in North Carolina (+ 20 Beautiful Places to Explore!)

Tips for Hiking Graveyard Fields (Leave No Trace and Safety)

As always, please remember to pack in what you pack out and leave no trace. We value the world we live in and would like to keep it beautiful for future generations!

Also, remember that waterfalls can be extremely dangerous. Do not climb, stand, or jump from any waterfall, and please stay on the path.

Read More: 20+ Awesome Things to Do in Black Mountain and Nearby

When to Visit

Blueberries start to grow at Graveyard Fields from mid- to late-August

August is an extremely popular time for Graveyard Fields. The boardwalk of wild berries on the loop trail bursts with fruit, and many love to enjoy picking them!

Because it is so hot, you will often find many people swimming at the base of Lower Falls, enjoying the cold mountain water. Please remember to swim safely and that wet rocks can be slippery.

September and October are also extremely popular times since this is when the leaves are peaking. Seeing those wide-open Graveyard Fields with an extra hint of color makes this an especially wonderful hike.

Our favorite spot is on the bridge that crosses the river, looking upstream.

Read More: 50+ Great Things to Do With Kids in Asheville (and Nearby!)

Nearby Adventures

We mention Graveyard Fields being close to Asheville, but it’s surrounded by even more adventurous spots. Many of these places were also mentioned in our guide to day trips from Asheville.

More Hikes

Skinny Dip Falls was once a famous waterfall and swimming hole, only a few minutes away by car. Unfortunately, it is closed due to damage from Tropical Storm Fred in 2021.

The 30-mile Art Loeb Trail runs nearby, and that path’s Black Balsam Knob trailhead is about a five-mile drive away from Graveyard Fields in Asheville, NC.

Other interesting hikes nearby include Sam Knob and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail-connected Devil’s Courthouse. You can also explore the waterfalls of Deep Creek Trail and the unique history behind Road to Nowhere near Bryson City.

Read More: Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City (10 Essential Things to Do)

Brevard and Transylvania County

Looking Glass Falls is one of many amazing waterfalls near Graveyard Fields

Brevard is just 40 minutes away and southeast of Graveyard Fields. To many, it’s known as the land of waterfalls, with over 200 in its surrounding area. Some of our favorites include Looking Glass Falls and French Broad Falls (Mill Shoals), though we mentioned more here.

Another fun reason to visit Brevard is to search for their famed white squirrels. You can head to Brevard College for a “chance” at seeing one.

And don’t stop by Brevard without spending time in its cool downtown. There, you’ll find various great restaurants, shops, and more things to do.

Brevard and the next place is one of many featured in our North Carolina Mountain Towns Book.

Sylva and Jackson County

Sylva from the Courthouse

To the west of Graveyard Fields sits Sylva and its surroundings in Jackson County. Stop in the mountain town of Sylva for a look down from the top of the former Jackson County Courthouse.

After enjoying that nice vantage point, spend some time at the American Museum of the House Cat or Wolf Creek Lake. Outdoor options also include Upper Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Rockies.

Read More: The NC Bucket List

Ready for the Graveyard Fields hike?

Based on all the beauty found at Graveyard Fields, it’s no wonder why this waterfall-intensive hike is so popular. It’s one of many wonderful spots in the western part of our state that keep us coming back for more. Places like this prove an escape into the mountains is something we all should seek out.

Have you ever enjoyed the Graveyard Fields Trail NC? What do you love about this place? If you haven’t been, what’s the first thing you want to see here?

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