Graveyard Fields Loop Trail

Graveyard Fields in Fall

One of Asheville’s favorite hikes, with something for everyone

Waterfalls, rhododendron, fall color, summer blueberry picking and high-elevation meadows and forests: there’s a reason just about everyone who hikes near Asheville has been to Graveyard Fields. This family-friendly hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway has something for everyone and several hiking options.

What To Expect

When you get to the Graveyard Fields parking lot, you’ve got a few options. Take the stairs from the parking lot down onto the paved path through the rhododendron (in beautiful bloom in June) leading to a viewing platform. From here, you’ll take more wooden steps to a bridge over Yellowstone Creek. At the end of the bridge, take the right side of the trail toward Second Falls (only about .2 mile). This is a popular swimming hole in the summer and many people end their hike here. To continue, go back to the trail you just left where the loop trail really begins.

You’ll enter into a high mountain meadow (the most popular summer blueberry picking area). Pass the camping area and take the trail to the right, then pass the Graveyard Ridge trail (which goes right) and keep going left to Upper Falls. Return to the trail you came up on, which will lead you back to the loop that gets you back to the parking lot toward the parking lot after Upper Falls. This is the simplest way to see the most, but if you are camping and want to spend more time here, you can add in sections of the Mountains to Sea Trail or hike all the way to Black Balsam at Milepost 420.2.

Blueberry bushes are everywhere here and picking them is a very popular activity around the middle of August. To get them before they’re all picked out, you’ll need to arrive early in the day, early in the season. Under Park Service rules, individuals are allowed to pick 1 gallon per day for personal consumption.

You may be wondering about the name Graveyard Fields. It comes from the appearance of the landscape after logging and fire destroyed much of the forest and soil: the tree stumps left behind looked like gravestones.

Hike Details

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance from Asheville: About 40 miles; 1 hour

Length: 3.2 miles total

Region: Blue Ridge Parkway

Duration of Hike: About 2.5 hours

Elevation Gain: 450 feet

Pet-Friendly? Leashed dogs welcome

Multiple Use? No

Blazes? Blue blaze on the loop

Facilities & Parking: Parking lot; bathroom facilities

Natural Features: Waterfalls, fall color, blueberries, high meadows

Directions

From downtown, take I-240 West to I-26 East. Take Exit 33 (marked Blue Ridge Parkway-Brevard Road-Hwy 191). Turn left (south) onto Highway 191 and go 2.1 miles, passing brown signs for Blue Ridge Parkway and NC Arboretum. Turn right at the entrance to The North Carolina Arboretum and follow signs for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn south on the parkway and drive to Milepost 418.8, Graveyard Fields.

GPS Coordinates

N35.320319, W82.847216