September 9, 2018
Nestled on the border of McDowell and Yancey County just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost #339) are the wonderful Crabtree Falls. The 70 ft. falls are known as being one of the most popular and eye-catching in the High Country. It’s a simple .9 mile hike from the parking area, with an optional loop for another 1.9 miles.
According to the Mitchell County Historical Society, this area was “[a] part of the original land grant to the Penland family by the King, the falls are located where a thriving community once existed, with a grist mill owned by Billy Bradshaw and the Last Chance Baptist Church serving as anchors. However, locals knew this waterfall as Murphy Falls, with Crabtree Falls being located on the Crabtree Creek Road that connects Little Switzerland with US 19-E in the Estatoe community. When the Blue Ridge Parkway came through the area in the 1940’s, the National Park Service renamed the Murphy Falls, Crabtree Falls.”
Today the entire area is under the purview of the National Park Service. At the BRP, there are numerous campsites, a store and restrooms. There’s a special feel to the terrain, especially amongst the verdant ferns and cool splashing from the waterfall. This trail is an excellent destination for any family hiking.
Total mileage is 2.8 miles.