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Crabtree Falls Trail

Drive: 50 min.
Length of Hike: 2.5 mile
Type of Hike: Loop Trail 


Explore the largest cascading waterfalls east of the Mississippi River!

Crabtree Falls features a series of five major cascades and a number of smaller ones that fall a total distance of 1,200 feet. The first overlook is just a few hundred feet from the upper parking lot along a gentle, paved trail making it an excellent stopover for travelers of all ages and abilities.

The more adventuresome hiker may continue along the 2 and 1/2 mile Crabtree Falls Trail to four other overlooks offering spectacular views of the Crabtree Creek Falls and lovely vistas of the Tye River Valley. From the upper falls, the trail follows the creek another 1.2 miles to the Crabtree Meadows parking lot.

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.

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.

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. We all know that most people will wander off the trail, but if you do be extra careful and know your limits.

**The Locals Tips**

  • Check out the wooden footbridge over the Tye River. Its cool! (As you’re driving in, the bridge is to your right, off the lower parking lot. There is a small picnic area there, as well. The bridge used to be part of the trail, but over the years additional parking has truncated the beginning of the trail.)
  • 500 feet of paved trail. (Even if you are unsteady on your feet, use a cane, wheelchair, or are pushing a stroller, the first 500 feet of the trail is paved and there are sitting areas. There’s no need for you to miss out on this site!)
  • Be sure to wear appropriate footwear. Trail can be muddy or slippery in spots.
  • Earlier in the day is better. In peak seasons, the trail can become overcrowded with many people. Earlier you go, the less people. Know your temperament and plan accordingly.

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