Crabtree Falls is arguably the most beautiful set of waterfalls in Virginia. Billed as the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, Crabtree Falls is a must see for anyone who lives in the mid-Atlantic region.
The falls are believed to be named after William Crabtree, who settled in the area in 1777. The Tye River, at the bottom of the falls, is named for Allen Tye, who did extensive exploration in the local Blue Ridge Mountains.
Take note of the footbridge that crosses Tye River, a laminated arch that was shipped from New York state in one piece and installed in 1978. Until the mid 1980's the footbridge was the starting point for the hike up Crabtree Falls. Today the parking area is on the other side of the river, and the bridge now serves primarily as a decorative addition to the hike.
At 0.5 miles look for a rock formation that appears to be a small cave. You can pass through the cave and exit on the other side rejoining the trail.
Arrive at the top of the falls in 1.1 miles from the parking area and cross over a wooden bridge to an overlook. From here you can't see Crabtree Falls below as it falls away, but still get a nice view of the valley floor and Blueridge Mountains. Don't be tempted to climb over the stone wall onto the uppermost portion of the falls. The rocks are covered with a very slippery algae, and according to the Forestry Service sign, 23 people have fallen to their deaths climbing out onto the rocks.
From this point re-cross the footbridge and either head back down, or continue left up the trail where the hike becomes much flatter and follows Crabtree stream.
If you continue up the trail will split in 70 yards. Take the right fork uphill as it first traverses the ridge, then follows the stream to the upper parking area in 1.1 miles. To return, retrace your steps back down.
Interactive Hike Map BelowPrintable
Topo Hike Map (PDF)
Hike route in Drag the map with your mouse using the icon Zoom with the controls on the left Mouse-over the icons in the map below for location shots
Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Crabtree Falls hike:
Reviews For The Crabtree Falls Hike (5 Most Recent)
William campbell, pops,nonny, and jenny went on the hike. A very long hike on a very hot day. It was a great way to see some cool looking vegetation with some awesome wildlife. On the hike you will see chipmunks and birds youve probably never heard of! Honestly once you get to the top 9it has a greeat veiw yet still ask yourself "where is this water coming from"! Durring this hike you will probably take a few breaks, and get a better appreciation of the natives and people who had to hike these mountains to get from place to place.
Date of Hike: Thursday, July 17, 2014
It was my first time up the Crabtree Falls hiking trail, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!! I went around dusk, and got some great photos. Also, because I went during the week (on a Thursday), there weren't as many people around, and so I had large portions of the trail all to myself despite it being the middle of summer--which is always nice!! I am a relative neophyte when it comes to hiking--I've only done it a handful of times, and I am not the most "in shape" person--and it only took me 3 hrs despite stopping to rest three times, pausing on the summit, and (of course) stopping to take a ton of pictures! Most can do this hike, but it is challenging--at the top, I was with a family of young kids and a very large man--so if they can do it, you can, too.
Date of Hike: Sunday, March 09, 2014
I hiked this trail 35 years ago, so I thought it would be about the same. As with Ken's review, I also had trouble with 3 major patches of ice. I slipped off one and landed in the muddy area below. I didn't go too far, thankfully, but it was scary! I won't be hiking in March unless the weather has been above freezing for several days. All-in-all, the hike is a great trail. It has lots of stairs and rocks for footing whether climbing or descending the trail. It's not a "walk-in-the-park!" I'm glad it is well marked with warning signs to stay on the trail. We had a friend die there 35 years ago when she stepped onto some clear algae. Stay on the trail and you'll do fine. It is beautiful!
Date of Hike: Saturday, March 08, 2014
Okay, this is one of my favorite hikes but today it only gets a "3". There were portions of the trail, particularly near the 1 mile mark and by one of the viewpoint switchbacks, that were so ice covered that they were dangerous. We were one of the few cars in the parking lot in the morning and the snow/ice was still hard and crusty enough to gain footing. I still slipped off the trail and landed hard just before we hit the top. We hiked to the other trailhead before returning and by the time we hit the severely icy spots again they had been polished by shoes and boots almost to a shine. Visitors were helping each other cross the sketchier areas and some just sat and slid. The snow covered portions in the morning turned to mud so what is up there is melting fast, but some of that thick ice will be there for a few more days. On the positive side...the water is really flowing, half the falls are still ice covered, and it was a gorgeous day. This is still one of my favorite hikes but I won't do it in snow again without some traction devices on hand "just in case".
Date of Hike: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Hike was one of my favorites! The falls were awesome to see & we got some good pictures. Was a tough hike but maybe that was because there was over a foot of snow!! There were only 2 more people at the falls & they only made it to the lower falls. I would recommend going in the winter if you like ice on the falls. Was beautiful. Plan on going back during the summer.