Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Crabtree Falls

Trail Mileage: 2.5 miles, loop trail
Elevation Gain: 627 ft.
Elevation Loss: 574 ft.

Location: Crabtree Falls is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 339.5

Crabtree Falls Trail

Crabtree Fall Trail Profile

The entrance to the Crabtree Falls trail is nestled in the campground. Due to a 5% budget decrease in 2013, the campground and adjoining visitor center housing a gift shop and restaurant has been closed but the trail remains open. The trail can be accessed from the visitor center parking lot, and will guide you past the amphitheater and down into the campground to the trails original trailhead.

Trailhead from visitor center parking lot
The wide, gravel trail gradually descends 0.9 miles  through hardwood forest to a footbridge that crosses falls. During the Spring and Summer months, the trails edges are filled with a variety of wildflowers, including 4 different species of trillium. As we made our way down to the falls, Cori stopped to identify many of the wildflowers starting to bloom including pink ladies slippers, may apples, irises and foam flowers.
Pink Ladies Slipper
(Cypripedium acaule Ait.)

Photo Credit: Cori Holladay

Foam Flower
Photo Credit: Cori Holladay

Once we reached the footbridge, we stopped long enough to admire the 70 ft. waterfall and snap a few photo's before heading backup the trail.

Crabtree Falls
After leaving the falls, the trail climbs steeply up switch backs over the next quarter of a mile, and then becomes more gradual before the final ascent to the trails original parking lot.

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