North Carolina Hiking, Nature November 29, 2017
This Hidden Spot In North Carolina Is Unbelievably Beautiful And You’ll Want To Find It
When you hear the name ‘Graveyard Fields’ you might think of an abandoned, desolate and eerie place. While the name Graveyard conjures images of the afterlife or silent places of rest, Graveyard Fields is one of the most beautiful destinations and hikes tucked off the Blue Ridge Parkway. While not so much a ‘hidden spot,’ the beauty flies under the radar but it’s a must-visit place.
The name Graveyard Fields derives from the fact the trees and surrounding stumps look like headstones.
Several hundred years ago, many of the trees in the area were toppled from extreme wind, thus lending a unique landscape of small tree stumps sticking out from the wide-open field. In 1925, an extreme fire severely burned a large portion of the area. Today, the area is still recovering from damage yet the devastation lends Graveyard Fields one of the most unique aesthetics in the Blue Ridge. The scenery of Graveyard Fields changes from a literal field to dense rhododendron tunnels and even a wooden walking trail leading you to two amazing waterfalls all surrounded by towering peaks of the Blue Ridge.
One of the best ways to explore Graveyard Fields is hiking the four-mile loop trail.
You'll find Graveyard Fields at milepost at 418.8 off the Blue Ridge Parkway. From here, many park in the lot or even fill every inch of grass on a busy summer day. It's a popular destination but also remote enough to still get some privacy while hiking.
The four mile hike takes travelers on a journey through diverse scenery.
The hike starts by descending down a flight of stairs then leading you through a tunnel of rhododendrons. In the late spring/early summer they're in full bloom and stunning...but by late summer it's still enchanting to feel as if you're walking through a flower bed from all the rhododendron blooms on the ground. Next, you follow the trailheads to Lower (second) Falls.
Lower Falls is simply majestic - summer or winter.
Lower Falls is also used as a popular swimming hole come summer with accessibility to slide down the second rock that lowers into the pool. While the waters will be too chilly for a dip this time of year, the cold weather creates unique beauty and possibly a frozen waterfall.
If you want to see Upper Falls - don't go back and re-cross the river but instead continue straight ahead.
While Lower Falls might be the popular swimming spot come summer, Upper Falls is still a serene getaway and the many surrounding boulders make the perfect spot for a picnic.
The four-mile loop continuously rewards hikers with stunning views of varying scenery.
After you've seen two gorgeous waterfalls, then you journey to the 'field' area that Graveyard Fields is so well-known for. Although the area is still significantly recovering from the damage, over the past few decades plant life has begun to re-grow with small shrubs and trees. Yet, the area remains fairly open which adds to the appeal of Graveyard Fields. Similar to Max Path or Roan Mountain, you're surrounded by mountains yet in a wide-open field with nothing obscuring the view. Graveyard Fields is one of the more popular hiking trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway and great for all ages. Once the season gets colder, though, use caution and check prior to going to make sure that portion of the Parkway is open.
Graveyard Fields is such a neat, enchanting place. Check out
this guide by HikeWNC which is SUPER helpful when preparing a trip there.
Have you visited Graveyard Fields before or hiked along the loop trail?
Speaking of hiking,
11 of the greatest hiking trails on earth are right here in North Carolina