Crabtree Meadow is a campground and hiking area in Pisgah National Forest off the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. It’s about 16 miles north of Mt Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River. The map point below will take you to the hiking trail to the falls. There’s a large picnic area about a mile south of the campground that features dozens of tables next to charcoal grills and a public restroom. Those are the facilities that visitors are expected to use even though there are restrooms nearby for the campers.
Unless you’re camping (RV and tent sites must be reserved), you’ll simply pull straight into the lot and park by the trailhead. There’s ample signage, but the walk past the amphitheater and through the RV lot can be confusing. Just keep following the signs and eventually you’ll get to a map board of the trail. This is the real trailhead.
The loop trail is 2 miles. If you add in the walk to/from the parking lot, it’s about a 3-mile hike. The map board declares the trail to be strenuous, but it’s not. 80% of the trail is very easy hiking. The other 20% is moderate, but any quick elevation change features stairs.
There’s not much to tell here. You walk a little ways down the trail and then can choose to go straight (counterclockwise on the loop) to get to the falls as quickly as possible, or turn left (clockwise on the loop) to put the falls in the second half of your hike. I went counterclockwise.
As you might expect, many people do a brief out-and-back hike to the falls. So if you’re doing the loop counterclockwise like I did, you’re unlikely to see many people after the falls.
This is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the area, and that’s saying a lot considering how many there are. There’s a bridge with seating just across from the falls for your viewing pleasure. The cascade crashes into the pool at the base, creating a cool mist that envelopes the area. Sadly, there’s no swimming hole here, but it’s not unusual for people to splash around in the creek.