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Hiker Comments for the Crabtree Falls Hike - 1 to 159 of 159   
Average Rating:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, September 24, 2019
I hiked Crabtree Falls with my 2 kids - 8 and 11. It wasn't the most difficult hike I have done, but not the easiest either. I think the stairs are more brutal than the trail. Some stages of the trail are very rocky - large rocks, but still trickier on footing. They are in need of rain in the area, so the water was more of a trickle in some spots than a fall. The lower Falls come very quickly, and we saw people with dogs out in the water. The middle Falls were definitely the prettiest spot! Between the middle and upper Falls, you encounter a small cave, which the kids thought was pretty cool. The upper Falls must flow over the large rock face, but as I said - little rain, little water. Being with the kids, we didn't continue on to Spy Rock, but went back, the way we came in. I want to say with stops at the lookouts, the whole hike took us 2 hours. There were maybe 10 others on the trail over the course of the morning - many with dogs. If anyone knows where you can get a hiking stick medallion for this hike, my son would be very grateful!

By: Rick R Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 7, 2019
Please Note: There is now a definitive trail to the top of Spy Rock. Just follow the blue blazed trail to the left around the base of Spy Rock and it leads to a roped-off trail to the top. There are also roped off areas on the top to limit damage to the ecosystem.

This is the 1st time that I have hiked Crabtree Falls. My hiking bud & I arrived at the parking area a little before 7:00AM and there was only one car in the lot. We didn't see anyone on the Crabtree Falls trail until we got to the top observation area...there were 2 people already there. We continued on to Spy Rock up the very steep fire road to the AT. We ran across a couple of campers but no one else on the trail. When we arrived at Spy Rock we were not aware of the trail to the top so we both scrambled to the top to find 4 other hikers that told us about the new trail. They had hiked to Spy Rock from the south, I think it is about 5 1/2 mile round trip. The view from the top of Spy Rock is fantastic, the best I have seen! Truly a 306 degree view! We didn't encounter any other hikers until we got back to the Crabtree Falls portion of the hike...there were a ton of hikers now! It probably took us an extra 15-minutes to get down the 1.7-miles due to stepping aside to let folks through. Overall it was a great hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, February 14, 2019
We have hiked this one many times, and it is always a fun short hike (we do the 1.7 mile there and back). This is by far the best marked trail I have ever come across. Due to the ice storm in Nov 2018 there are currently some tree still down across the trail and a few parts washed out near the 1.6 mile mark. It looks like the park service is actively working on repairs they just haven't gotten up that far yet. They seem to also be rebuild a porch mid-falls. I'll be interested to see it when they are done. My 4 years was able to do this hike so, anyone can!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 26, 2019
Overall very nice hike, about 6 hours in length. In winter, navigating the trail along the Crabtree Falls can be very tricky, as parts of the trail may be covered by ice. At the top of the falls, the trail continues on the right side of the creek (looking upstream, the bridge is on your left). Took me about 2 hours from the top of the falls to Spy Rock. There were multiple tents at the base of the summit boulder. There is no obvious way up the summit I scrambled over the rocks to the left of the trail leading to the base. Views from the top are superb!!

By: Jason Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, January 1, 2019
I have heard this is a great trail to hike, and finally did it yesterday. Totally worth it, and the amount of rain in Virginia, the falls were really flowing. Besides the amazing views, I enjoyed the gentle switchbacks. Hopefully they will be cleaned up soon, but there was a major windstorm (according to the locals), and a lot of trees snapped or fell, including many over the trail. They are working on cleaning it up, but there are just so many, so be prepared for some going over or under trees that cross the trail. The trail is never completely blocked.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 6, 2018
Did this as an overnighter from Crabtree to Spyrock. The 1.7 mile hike up to Crabtree Falls is very, heavily populated with day hikers and we were asked probably 75 times if we were hiking on the AT (we did not see any other backpackers on this trail). After the 1.7, it's a beautiful walk beside the creek where you end up at a parking lot with other campsites which had a few trucks and some car campers. The steep incline up the fire road wasn't exciting but definitely wore us out by the time we got to the top. There are a few secluded campsites a mile or so before Spy Rock which would be ideal if you want some privacy. There are probably about 10 campsites next to Spy Rock. There was a group of 12 kids who walked up (from apparently another short trail from a parking lot that we didnt know about) who were loud and obnoxious. It appeared as though a lot of car campers have easy access to SpyRock - people were bringing, coolers, big tents, chairs, etc. up from another trail. The view from Spyrock is a nice 360 but we spent more time gazing at the stars than viewing it during the day. It's a short scramble up to the top of the rock and my advice is take the same way down - we thought we would find an easier way down than then the rock scramble, but ended up getting lost in the trees and came back to the summit to rock scramble back down. The hike down from Crabtree was pretty slippery and was especially hard going downhill on tons of steps with a pack. This was a nice hike but we definitely chose a busy weekend and it seems to be generally heavily trafficked :)

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 14, 2018
Out and back to spy rock per direction, BUT the direction seems to indicate to stay on the AT till you reach the falls parking lot.This is an  out and back on the same trail retrace your step to get back to your car. Scramble up spy rock is nice and the view is good, but lack of trail marker got me wandering around till find my way off the rock. ARGHH!

By: Joe Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Hiked this shortly after heavy rainfall hit the area and the falls were quite impressive. The discussion of the presence of bees almost deterred my hike, but while I did see a single yellow jacket and a good number of "other bees," they seemed to be out by themselves and, given some room, flew away without causing any problems. We saw a rabbit and a snake. I only caught the last foot or so of the snake, but it wasn't a dangerous one.

The hike is a spectacular one and well-maintained. It was muddy, with standing water in a lot of places, including between the stone wall and bench at the summit. With record rainfall, this was to be expected and the trails were in better shaped than I had expected.

There was a lot of fresh lumber on walkways, stairs, and bridges. There were even piles of lumber and wheelbarrows off to the side that seemed to be working on current projects. There are still some "pipe" railings up, but there were many more large wooden railings.

I did the hike with my 6 year old, who had no problem tackling the trail. There were a number of others on the trail, despite it being the middle of the day on a Wednesday young, old, and everywhere in between, many with dogs of all sizes. If you have difficulty climbing stairs, or coming down them, this would not be the hike for you: there are a lot and they are steep. Everyone else, there are plenty of places to stop and take a rest, so all skill levels can complete this hike.

Also, the top of the falls (bridge, stone wall) is absolutely worth the view. There is so much discussion of the falls, which are incredible, but the view is just as impressive. Don't miss it.

By: BrianJB Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 4, 2018
Did the out-and-back to Spy Rock as an overnight . . .outstanding hike. Falls were going great because of earlier rains, and the weather was perfect, except for fairly strong winds at night. Camped at Spy Rock, only one other site occupied. Fair warning - lots of gain on day one, I measured 2200 feet plus, and thus, lots of down on the way back. Well worth it - the falls are the best I've seen, and the views from Spy Rock are great there are probably 5-6 decent campsites there are well. It's thru-hiker season (hey Mule - hope your food held out until Wayneboro). You can climb Spy Rock on either the right or left sides. . .the right side is shorter, but a scramble, left is longer but easier. Vault toilet half-way is a nice touch (not open in the winter), looked like a number of drive-in campsites at the Meadows (but would say the upper sites probably are best accessed with four-wheel drive). Lots of great places to stop for lunch on the way out as well, including Devil's Backbone brewpub.

By: Andrew Wilder Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 27, 2018
Due to the rainfall the previous week I decided to hit a waterfall today and I was not disappointed. I have done Crabtree many times but usually in the winter to avoid the crowds. This time I got there very early (6:30 a.m.) and enjoyed spectacular falls due to the spring waters as well as complete solitude. I followed the trail all the way up to Spy Rock and for once was the only person at the top enjoying the incredible views. On the way back the crowds increased and coming back down the Falls I was fighting a steady stream of people coming up. I also noticed a large number of yellow jackets that I didn't see in the morning. Overall a great hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 30, 2017
Conditions were great for a nice winter hike. Went up to the Meadows and back. Lots of ice on the falls.

BE AWARE THE UPPER MEADOWS TOILET IS CLOSED AND LOCKED FROM DECEMBER 15 TO MARCH 15. Why the FS wants to lock a vault toilet I have no clue.

By: Dennis Loufik Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Beautiful day for hiking. Crabtree Falls was worth the 3 hours. No yellow jackets. Just lots of nice views and fresh air. If you have a National Park pass it is free. Otherwise a $3.00 fee is required.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 19, 2017
Woke up Sunday morning and decided to brave the elements and hike Crabtree Falls. It was surprisingly easy, so I kept on walking and ended up on top of The Priest, the highest point in Nelson County. Spy Rock seemed a bit to far, but this was very doable. The wind was blowing 30 to 40 mph at the summit, so I just took a few pictures and headed back down the trail. According to comments on my Facebook post this was approximately 9 miles with 1,312 feet in elevation. My survival wear included four short and long sleeve t-shirts, a hoodie and a windbreaker which turned out to be overkill. It was nice to be walking past a water feature most of the way. The trees were mostly stripped of their leaves and the colors of the day were brown and gray. On the other hand they opened up the views to neighboring summits. The hike back down the falls was difficult as by then my legs had turned to rubber. Still I had a great feeling of a accomplishment. I highly recommend it. Next time I'll bring a pair of gloves. If you care to see some picture, they are on the Virginia Hiking Adventures Facebook page.

By: Jason_Viper Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 18, 2017
I did the 13.9 mile route listed here from Crabtree Falls parking area to Spy Rock and back. Be aware that there is a $3 fee to park at the lot, which I didn't have on me, but luckily didn't cause me any troubles. I was the first vehicle in the lot at around 730am, but when I got back shortly after 1, the entire lot was full and people were having to park along the grass. I enjoyed the hike alot. First time seeing the falls, lots of available water, at least through Cash Hollow Rd, and the climb up and view from Spy Rock was really cool. I had a nice wind on me all day to keep me cool. It's a relatively tame hike, nothing too steep or technical, so many can enjoy it. I was pretty much in solitude the entire way to Spy Rock and had the top to myself. On the way back, people were starting to make their way towards Spy Rock and the area near Crabtree Falls was a zoo. I can see why so many people die on the falls. They look so tame and my first thought was, really, that doesn't look dangerous at all. Just be careful out there and most importantly, have fun!

By: NovaHiker Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 16, 2017
A few friends and I recently did an overnighter leaving from Crabtree Falls lower parking lot. We spent the night at Spy Rock and did the return trip the next morning. We had a great time an it's got some great sights along the way. I will say that the bees were a bit crazy but since the weather chilled down a bit, they were manageable. We were warned by the owner of Crabtree Campground (we stayed their the night before) that the bees were crazy along the second set of steps. So I do agree with previous posters that it far less than ideal. If you are continuing onto Spy Rock, plan for no water along the way, and some more climbing since it's pretty much uphill all the way...but makes for a much less strenuous and quicker hike out. Spy Rock was amazing and spending the night there on a Tuesday was quiet and relaxing. Would definitely recommend this to those who want a challenge with a rewarding light at the end of the tunnel.

By: Friend of the outdoors Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 9, 2017
I have hiked spy rock and crabtree since I was little, last time I went to the Montebello fish hatchery to hike Spy Rock the trail head was closed since it is private property. Apparently they've had problems with trash and human waste. It is still accessible through crab tree falls, although this route does take longer.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 7, 2017
WARNING - Bees! We only made it about a mile up the Crabtree Falls trail from the parking lot, as we got stung by yellowjackets that seemed to be nesting in ground holes in a narrow section of the trail after the first viewpoint of the lower falls. There was literally no way to avoid them - I got stung 3x and my hiking partner got stung 10x and ended up in the emergency room later that day. For a very popular, otherwise family-friendly trail that charges an entrance fee, I'm shocked that this issue isn't dealt with - at least a few signs warning of the bees are needed. The lower falls had some water in it, but wasn't that impressive or fast-flowing.

By: George Dordal Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, September 14, 2017
Fantastic short strenuous hike! There were variable levels of difficulty depending on how far you went up. There is a nice asphalt trail for about 1/4 mile which is perfect for all. After that it gets a bit tricky- with some minor rock scrambles and very steep stairs up. Definitely winded and wanted to stop in a couple of places, but didn't. Once near the 1.7 mile mark it got easier. The way down was more treacherous than I thought because there were lots of slick rocks. I'd rate this as moderate- I have hiked Mt Rogers in VA and several of the 5-7 mile loops hikes in the Shenandoah. Best place in VA!

By: Bill Jenkins Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 3, 2017
This is not a waterfall, it is a stream that goes down a rock. The most the water ever free falls is about 5 feet. There were also yellowjackets everywhere. If you do go, bring a can of yellowjacket spray. The view at the top is mediocre. Also, there was a $3 parking fee.

By: Mark Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 3, 2017
One of the most easily reached trails. Very well maintained and well marked. Shame to see so many breaking trail and clawing up the hill to save five minutes. Leave No Trace!!!!!. The fee covers trail rebuilds, sponsoring cleanups, and pays our park service. I have lost count on how many times i have enjoyed this trail, about ten times now. Arrive before 8am to beat crowds.

By: Suzanne Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Really great hike. Stunning views, with a very well thought out path. No chance of getting off trail - it's mile marked every .1 of a mile. Lots of people hiking it today, on a Tuesday afternoon. I hiked beyond it onto the path that leads to Spy Rock - and that was virtually deserted, and not nearly as nice of a hike.  The Crabtree Falls hike is very rocky and today was very wet.  One needs to take care with one's footing to avoid a fall. The effort is well worth it however, as the views are breathtaking.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, March 2, 2017
Went up just to see the falls for the day. Took our two dogs and 2.5 year old son. The trail was a bit rough for him to walk, with a lot of rocks in the path and steep stairs, but he managed up and I put him in a carrier down. Beautiful scenery and the dogs loved it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 16, 2016
I ended up doing both Crabtree Falls and Spy Rock. Started around 1030, plan on having about 7-8 hours for the round trip. -Awesome views of the falls on the way up. Hike to the summit of the falls is about 2 miles. The real hike begins after this though, where you do have some pretty steep inclines. I would bring a decent amount of water if doing both, you're gonna need it. Getting to Spy Rock itself, it can be rather challenging to get to summit, as there is no clear way to climb the rock. Once you get over that minor frustration, you are rewarded with an awesome view of what VA has to offer - -the whole trail is dog friendly, brought my lab for the hike. had 2 bottles of water exclusively for her, there are also a few places on Crabtree where they can grab a quick drink - while she loved it, she was definitely feeling the effects of the hike afterwards - was also a minor challenge to get her to the top of Spy Rock, so if you bring a dog, make sure you hang a left and go to halfway around the rock to get them to the top.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 2, 2016
This is a great hike I absolutely loved the views on the way up. I went after two days of rain. The classification of this hike is pretty accurate. It's very rocky, and has lots of steps and quickly inclines. I am asthmatic, so stopped frequently to adjust to the altitude. I throughly enjoyed the hike. I used walking poles, and was glad I brought them with me they came in pretty handy when scaling the slippery parts and very rocky areas. Most hikers did not have poles or hiking shoes. I guess they are a tad more sure footed than I. The top of he 1.7 mile trek is a spectacular view of the mountains. There is no view of the falls. There are signs everywhere indicating to NOT USE SWITCHBACKS, because they erode the trails the trails were designed as the best way to enjoy nature without totally destroying nature. Folks threw their plastic bottles into the falls how sad. I find it quite odd that those who love the outdoors use switchbacks and do not pack out what they pack in. Please make sure you have some dollars to pay the $3 fee otherwise you'll be asking for change or not able to pay. Too bad they do have a parking meter type device where you can swipe you credit card and out pops the ticket for your windshield I guess you need a signal for that!.

By: Ballen Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 12, 2016
Great hike for the family. Here is a short video that I made of our hike.

By: JGowen Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 7, 2016
This is a review of the entire hike to Spy Rock and back. Started out Saturday morning around 10:00 am with the destination of Spy Rock to camp for the night. Our group is in decent shape and this hike was definitely a burner with 30lb packs. The hike starts off ascending very quickly up the falls and the vistas are amazing. Lots of switchbacks and 'easy' hiking up the 1.7 mile ascent to the top of the falls, but like everyone says it was very busy. The views of the falls are really fantastic and are much more impressive in person than any picture you will see. We paused at the top of the falls (amazing view) for a snack and continued on to the upper parking lot. After the upper lot there is a VERY steep up hill to the AT. Once hitting the AT its ridge hiking, up and down, mostly up, with great vistas pretty much the entire time. We ended up stopping at the campsite listed in the description at about 6.5 miles which was more than enough uphill for the day. After setting camp we headed the last .5 to Spy Rock and were rewarded with fantastic 360 views that are rare in Virginia. In the morning we hiked back down and were back at the cars in less than 2.5 hours which was almost entirely downhill. After hiking many routes in VA I will say this is one of my favorites. Even though it is an out and back route, the vistas from both the ridge and the falls make this hike entirely worth it, not to mention the mountain laurel tunnels on the AT. I recommend filling water around the upper falls parking lot as this is the last place you will find water before Spy Rock. The camping at Spy Rock is more like 'group camping' and I recommend the spot at 6.5 miles if you want some solitude. Dont let the crowds on the falls scare you away, this is an amazing part of VA and a really great hike.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 25, 2016
Surprised that the "views" were only rated 2. View from the top is great. The whole family enjoyed this hike. Easy for kids, too. There are lots of slippery spots on the trail, especially after a rain, so watch your steps on the rockier sections. The kids enjoyed adding their rock towers to the collection before you reach the top.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 13, 2016
Wife and I hiked up and back to the top of the cascading waterfall. The switchbacks made for a surprisingly easy hike considering how much elevation we gained over such a short distance. The trail surface was challenging at times. Some very rocky sections and the occasional muddy seep required careful foot placement, but the trail surface was not that technical overall. All this was underscored by the many hikers we encountered who spanned the range of ages and fitness levels. Wanted to take more photos than we did, as the scenery and views were postcard material!

By: Ethan Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 16, 2016
Beautiful sunny day for this hike despite the cold temperature. Ran into 3-4 patches of ice along the trail but they weren't too bad. Waterfall views are gorgeous and easily the best I've seen in Virginia. Take your time on the hike and enjoy the beautiful views along the entire trail. It winds back and forth right next to the waterfalls. We brought our dog and she didn't have any problems at all scaling the mountain. Not the hardest hike but certainly one you need to check off the list.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, January 14, 2016
This hike has a great balance of steep climbs, tree cover, and crossover between wooded and rocky paths. If your group is perfectly organized it's a 5.5hr hike with 1hr for breaks, but otherwise plan for 6.5-8hrs.

The most dangerous part of this hike was the Crab Tree Falls climb and the pools of ice sheets covering the path. The most strenuous part is the climb from the creek head/private road area to the Appalachian Trail.

By: Holly B. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 5, 2015
We did this hike for my Birthday weekend. Weather was perfect. We parked our jeep at the Hatchery and made our way up to Spy Rock. The elevation gain could be strenuous for beginner hikers. The trail and views to Spy Rock are amazing. The 360 degree views are spectacular. We were the only ones up there, so nice. The hike back down and to Crabtree Falls was beautiful, just pay attention to the trail markers. The Falls were gorgeous. Just be mindful to stay on the trail! It was very icy, there has been 2 deaths this year. We walked the mile or so back to Crabtree Falls Campground and they took us back to our jeep.

By: Proud Father Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 27, 2015
This is a must do hike. I took my daughter here the day after Thanksgiving. Even with the crowds and the guy tempting fate by climbing over the wall at the top it was amazing. It's a series of switchbacks with rewards at each turn. You feel like you are in Jurassic Park with the larger than life scenery. Quit putting it off and do this hike!!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 22, 2015
This turned out to be one of my favorite hikes. The Crabtree Falls are gorgeous and the 360 degree views from Spy Rock are some of the most spectacular in the region. Aesthetically speaking, I find the undulating jumble of peaks that characterize the Blue Ridge so much more pleasing than the parallel ridges of the ridge and Valley Appalachians further west. And while it's true that the section of the trail that runs along the falls is a bit busy (and I can imagine it's absolutely packed when the weather is warm), once you reach the top of the falls, there's almost no one on the trail all the way to Spy Rock (at least not in late November). One note of caution: there's already some ice on Spy Rock so be careful scrambling up it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 18, 2015
The views are beautiful, but the crowds were very heavy. It can be difficult to find parking (and be sure to bring $3.00 in cash or check) and the bathroom facilities weren't maintained very well. The overlooks are very scenic, but I found it a little hard to relax since it was so heavily trafficked. We were frequently halted on our climb by groups of people all taking photos of themselves and not attempting to make space for other hikers. I would highly recommend a good pair of hiking boots, as the trail can be muddy, rocky, and slippery.

The worst part was how many people refused to follow all of the signs. Many people left the trail to hop on rocks or get the perfect selfie. PLEASE STAY ON THE TRAIL. Over the years, 29 people have died here (the most recent on August 29, 2015, as another reviewer discusses). The rocks can have clear algae, which is very slippery and difficult to see. We even saw the body of a deer floating in pool right below one of the steeper falls.

It was a lovely fall day and the views were gorgeous, but you'll have to look for solitude elsewhere.

By: Carol Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 12, 2015
If you continue on past Crabtree Falls to hike to Spy Rock, be aware that it is very easy to miss where the AT crosses the forest road.  There is a small grouping of boulders on the left side of the road. One of which has a white blaze facing the road.  Since we missed the AT we hiked to far on the forest road and had to turn back before reaching Spy Rock. It was still a great hike on a beautiful day.

By: H. Allen Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 29, 2015
As we arrived and entered, a man was running out, yelling for a phone with service.  It was a terrible day.  PLEASE, PLEASE, stay on the trail.  That early afternoon, a young man died, as 29 or more had died before him since 1982.  Obey the signs.  Stay on the trail.  The trail can be dangerous enough.  This was the second death this year.  Don't be the one that makes your brother run for your life, trying to get you help.  Don't be another one that finds out how life can end suddenly.  Don't be another one to bring sorrow to your family and friends.  Enjoy the beauty, but STAY ON THE TRAIL.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 25, 2015
Got to the parking lot a few minutes before 7:30, thinking it would be a busy Memorial Day and we wanted to beat the heat. Much to our surprise, we were the first ones there! Took us (mid-20s, decent shape) just under 2.5 hours to get all the way up to Spy Rock, and just over 2 hours to get back down. Pretty views of the falls, but the view from Spy Rock was one of the best I've ever seen! Mostly downhill on the way back helped up pick up the pace, but beat up our legs quite a bit. The fire road is the worst part -- much steeper than we had imagined! Stop at a few breweries on the way home for lunch and drinks.

By: Jackie Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 25, 2015
Did this hike with 2 girlfriends on Memorial Day. We were one of only two cars in the parking lot when we got there at 730am, but the lot was PACKED when we got done. Glad to have the cool temps early on. The first part up Crabtree Falls was a little boring with all the stairs, but we were rewarded with a nice easy path at the top. Directions were spot on, but we did think we may have missed the turn off onto the AT. Its after a very steep climb up the access road to the turn off. The rest of the way to the top was typical AT terrain. Worth the view at Spy Rock! The AT part on the way back felt like it took forever. The stairs near the end were miserable, especially when it was 20 degrees warmer and TONS of people crowding the way. Round trip took us 4.5 hours of moving time. We were definitely booking it, but I know I'm not in the best shape so I'm sure it can be done a lot faster. I recommend this hike to friends, but I usually tell them they should park at the upper lot, hike to Spy Rock, and then hike down to Crabtree after. You can enjoy the falls without have to hike all the stairs, and you can turn back when you've had your fill!

By: Hiketress Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 24, 2015
I stumbled upon this hike while staying in Wintergreen. What a great discovery! It's a beautiful hike with many great chances to interact with different parts of the falls. Quite unique for the area. Three hours is about right. It was a bit muddy, so I would recommend hiking boots, but sneakers will do just fine if you're careful with your footing.

By: Wes S. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 4, 2015
Great hike, beautiful falls, some good views of the valley below (at least in early spring before the leaves return to all of the trees). We made it to the trailhead by 9:30am on a Saturday, and saw only a few cars and maybe one other couple. Hiked up to the top of the falls in solitude. Stopped by one of the pools along the way for some pictures, and noticed a huge ball of frog eggs in some standing water. By the time we hiked back down around 11am or so, the trail was filled with hikers and the parking lot was overflowing. Go early on a Saturday if you want to hike without the crowds!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, January 20, 2015
This hike was a significant challenge for my small family because we took our 3 year-old daughter along our black lab was no hindrance at all. Out of 1.7 miles, our daughter hiked 1.3 up which really slowed us down. Also, there were about 4 places where the trail was covered in ice. We stuck it out and carefully navigated around the icy patches, and made it to the top. We were really glad we did, and the hike back down was much faster because my husband carried our daughter in a carrier. The falls were gorgeous and the cave was neat. Lots of things to explore like downed logs and even a part where we would have played in the water had it not been so cold. I would love to do this hike again on a warmer day, but would do it again in the cold in a heartbeat. If you're planning to go during the winter, be sure to take some rope and wear shoes with good tread. Tennis shoes made the slick parts treacherous. If you have a dog, don't carry water for them, they can drink from the creek in several places without danger.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 21, 2014
Started this hike from the lower parking lot on VA-56 on a chilly Sunday (25F). The waterfall was never iced over but there was plenty of ice to see from spray/mist. Some parts of the trail towards the upper falls had ice but it was never an issue, no traction needed. This collection of waterfalls (it is not one waterfall, probably 3 or 4 separate waterfalls) is one of my favorites and never disappoints. An under appreciated part of this hike is the calm section of Crabtree Creek above the waterfalls. The creek originates in a hanging valley and is a rarity in the Southeast. This was part of a long hike all the way to Spy Rock.

By: Dman Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 25, 2014
A fantastic hike over all . Highly recommend you arrive early on weekends though .We arrived at 10 am and got 1 of 2 spots open. This is a tough hike the further you go up in altitude , but the falls are amazing . Probably best to take a day off work and go as lots of people and their dogs to avoid on the way down cars dbl parked on both sides way out. Made for some great pictures with the fall leaves in there peak this time of year. I also would have given it 5 stars but just too many people , kids and dogs on weekends .

By: Hans und Heidi Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 19, 2014
We was scheduled to fly a balloon but it was cancelled, so we were in proximity for an early start ( 8 ) at the Falls. The morning was perfect with great colors, with many of the trees still having some time to change. The trail had maybe 10 people going in the same direction, with folks alternating the many over looks along the way. The way back it was getting much busier with people on the way up. I was here once before, like 40 years back. Now the trail is very people friendly and improved to handle the traffic. I reluctantly give it 4 stars, as it is truly a magnificent place. Just not our favorite place.

As for the season this weekend, there is still time to see the fall colors in the Blue Ridge. We drove the Parkway north all the way to RT 29 ( 85 miles? ). The colors on the west side of the range are about at Peak, but there is still time on the eastern and southern slopes. It was really spectacular.

By: Perfect Day for a Hike Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 18, 2014
From Newport News, VA. Me and 5 friends drove to Crabtree Falls. Took us about 3.5 hours to get there. The weather was beautiful and perfect: mid 60's, slightly overcast with clouds, no rain. Since it was a Saturday in the prime hiking month of October, we probably passed 100-200 people on the hike the whole time we were there. It was very busy, but that didn't negatively affect the hike in any way. The waterfall is beautiful. Since it is the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi, it really did feel like it went on for forever. But it's not one of those waterfalls that has a ton of rushing water off of it. But still beautiful. The path and trail was narrow at some places so when there were lots of people that had to pass each other, some had to wait until others passed. The leaves were changing colors - lots of yellows, oranges, greens, and a few reds. The ground was a little muddy and wet, which made some of the leaves on the pathway wet and slippery, but it wasn't too bad. There are a ton of spots you can stop and take pictures which was great, because the hike is a little steep with lots of steps. You can't see the waterfall from the very top, but it's still a beautiful view as you sit on this huge rock looking out at the mountainside. It took us about 2 hours to climb to the top and about an hour to climb down. I would definitely recommend this hike to others.

By: Lauren Cory Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 18, 2014
From Newport News, VA. Me and 5 friends drove to Crabtree Falls. Took us about 3.5 hours to get there. The weather was beautiful and perfect: mid 60's, slightly overcast with clouds, no rain. Since it was a Saturday in the prime hiking month of October, we probably passed 100-200 people on the hike the whole time we were there. It was very busy, but that didn't negatively affect the hike in any way. The waterfall is beautiful. Since it is the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi, it really did feel like it went on for forever. But it's not one of those waterfalls that has a ton of rushing water off of it. But still beautiful. The path and trail was narrow at some places so when there were lots of people that had to pass each other, some had to wait until others passed. The leaves were changing colors - lots of yellows, oranges, greens, and a few reds. The ground was a little muddy and wet, which made some of the leaves on the pathway wet and slippery, but it wasn't too bad. There are a ton of spots you can stop and take pictures which was great, because the hike is a little steep with lots of steps. You can't see the waterfall from the very top, but it's still a beautiful view as you sit on this huge rock looking out at the mountainside. It took us about 2 hours to climb to the top and about an hour to climb down. I would definitely recommend this hike to others.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 21, 2014
This is a nice, easy hike with some great views of beautiful falls. Great for beginners.

By: David Hamilton Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 21, 2014
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.

By: Rating: 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.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 13, 2014
Overall Crabtree Falls was a beautiful and challenging hike. The falls are absolutely spectacular. My opinion is this steep climb deserves more than a 2 rating, maybe even a 3. There are plenty of flat areas to catch your breath, but the climb is pretty relentless. Expect to see LOTS AND LOTS of people, not matter what day or time you go. If you are looking for solitude, this is not the hike you want. View at the top is decent, and the immediate area at the top of the falls feels very unique and cool. There is then another mile plus heading across the top which is a very boring, swampy, flat trail that merges with a large camping area with a gravel access road cutting through. I did not like this camping area in the least and cannot imagine why anyone would want to camp there as it was very boring, infested with bugs, on not very scenic. Access to Crabtree Falls is a fairly long drive, and parking was $3. The falls are probably enough to make this worth another visit.

By: Amy E. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 9, 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!

By: Ken Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 8, 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".

By: Darren Rating: 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.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 8, 2014
Crabtree Falls is a nice dayhike that is easily accessible and equally as populated. Even in freezing temps in February, there were multiple families on the trail, but probably passed only 4 or 5 groups total. The Falls were about 30% frozen, especially on the right side (facing the falls). Some of this would be suitable for ice climbing, though likely a little wet. 6 or 7 points had significant ice on the trail with 2 points which were dangerous to cross without crampons or trekking poles, though I was able to weasel my way around those spots with a dog on leash. The downside to Crabtree for me is its over-development. Half of the trail is wooden steps with metal rails along a good portion of it. Unfortunately it doesn't feel wild. It would be an absolutely incredible spot if it was isolated and you had to hike 10 miles from the road to get there.

By: Hoo15 Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 19, 2014
Three of us did this hike this morning in about 2.5 hours. It was a lot of fun, but also a lot more difficult than expected.

The high for the day was in the 40s and there was no snow anywhere else on our drive, but nearly the whole trail was covered in snow or ice - same as Ally reported on 12/28. There were maybe 6 or 7 sections of the trail that were covered with ice for a few feet, and were quite difficult to pass both going down and going up. A few sections of snow were also becoming slick as more hikers traveled over them, and those will probably freeze over night. On the way down, especially, it would have been easy to fall and twist or break something.

The falls were gorgeous and definitely worth seeing in the winter, but I want to caution anyone who is looking for an easy hike that this one is definitely not a 2/5 in January. Be careful, wear warm gloves, and give yourself plenty of daylight.

That said, we had a great time and really enjoyed the views! Happy trails!

By: Va Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, December 30, 2013
The falls made the hike providing breathtaking views as you hike up. I'd put it on the must do list. The trail definitely sees its fair share of hikers and borders on a rustic tourist attraction, but well worth it. GO HIKE!

By: Ally Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 28, 2013
I hiked this trip with quite a few kids (their first hike) : two thirteen year olds, two ten year olds, a seven year old, and a two year old. The two year old was carried. This trip was perfect for them, since they were getting tired by the end.

For us, this was a 3.4 mile round trip. The mileposts say 1.7 miles, since it takes us about 1.7 to go from the paved area at the bottom all the way to the outlook, and then 1.7 miles back down.

In the winter, it's a little dangerous since we ran into five very icy spots that needed a detour to avoid slipping. The high was around 57 for the day, and the trail was very popular/ busy throughout the hike.

It's wonderful because you get to see a waterfall throughout the hike, but when you get to the top, you still get to see a great view of the valley underneath. There are rocks up top that are perfect for laying on, in the sun.

By: Butterfly Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 15, 2013
Rick's review below is perfect. I am just shy of 60 and not in bad shape, but not in terrific shape either. I too suffer a low back condition and cannot afford a jolt or fall. A walking stick would have made all the difference in my descent. It took my group about 2 hours to do the 1.7 up and 1 hour down. I turned back at around 1.4 or 5 to start the descent as I felt it would take me longer to do than the folks 15-20 years younger than myself. I did not want to be rushed. I took my time and took many photos and chatted with a few hikers as I passed them. It is a very steep grade, the rocky part of the paths are challenging. On the way down, I slid a bit on slippery dry leaves covering the path, and I had hiking boots on. It's a great climb, would be prettier about a month prior to this November date and would love to see the falls when more water is hitting it. Some areas of the falls were already icy and icicles were hanging off many boulders in the falls.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 9, 2013
Great hike! I took over 100 photographs, some with the aid of a rather heavy tripod that I wished I'd left behind. Young people seem to sprint up the mountain. My hike to the top and back took 4 hours. I'll be hiking up again in the spring.

By: Rick Gilley Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 2, 2013
My wife and I were in Lexington just enjoying the area as we usually do a couple times a year. We always knew about Crabtree Falls but never did the hike until today. We kinda got up this morning from our hotel stay and she said lets do the hike. My wife is 61 and in pretty good shape for her age. I'm 58 and weigh 278 but a big guy and for years I was in pretty good physical shape but as of late I've been lazy. I also have some lower back issues and heel spurs. I'm adding this account of my physical condition to help others who may wonder if they would enjoy it in the same condition. We have no gear so we went to Walmart and bought the cheapest backpack we could find. We bought some Kashi bars and some water and peanuts. We just wore our regular tennis style walking shoes. I wear shorts year round so I wore a sweatshirt over a tee and my shorts.

We started out at about 10:30 on what turned out to be a beautiful sunny low 60's day. We paid our $3 parking fee. BTW, at the start of the hike there are envelopes and you write your info on it and put $3 in the envelope and hang the tear off on your cars mirror.

So we start out at 10:30 and the start is paved with a slight incline. It dosen't take long before you can see and hear the falls. As you continue on you start hitting the trail and the elevation starts to get your heart pumping a little. Not to awful long into the hike you start hitting a series of wooden steps and if your like me and have been lazy you realize your not sitting on the couch anymore.

For me the steps were the first indication that hey, can my overweight out of shape body do the 1.7 mile climb? Don't worry, just take a break and get your breath. Try and plan your rest stops at or near the fall viewing areas. Just so you know this is one very high waterfall and the hike trail continues to switchback and come right back to it many times along the way. The trial path is covered with leaves and in many areas quite a bit of moisture. The leaves cover a lot of small rocks and small tree roots so don't drag your feet as I tend to do. Many areas along the path have sections where its all rock. You want to be careful on the big flat rocks while your feet are wet, especially on the way down when your legs and knees and feet may be feeling tired. The falls views keep getting better and better as you get to the top and the view from the top is amazing. For us older crowd there is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that we did it.

The trip back down is where I feel I felt the most discomfort because of my heel spurs and lower back issues. The is no strain on your heart at all heading down but my knees and lower back were getting a pretty good workout. The wet areas and flat rocks became somewhat of a challenge for me and I almost went down once. With no back, heel or knee issues I would have been fine. If I learned one thing from this adventure it is: I will never do another hike without a walking stick. I truly didn't understand the concept of a stick and the difference it would make but having been there and talking to other hikers that were older I can not stress enough what a difference it would have made. I actually had one in my hand at Montebello's just a half a hour before we started the hike and decided not to get it. If your anywhere near my age and have any weak areas that I do, get you a walking wont regret it!!!!!!  It took us about 1 hr and forty minutes to do the 1.7 and about 1 hr 10 minutes coming down. That includes stopping breaks and being really careful coming down.  The two things I would stress the most for people in my age and condition. Even if you don't care for water take some and it will taste better than ever. If you don't have a walking stick get one. Montebello's on rt 56 has nice one's. they were $12. I would have paid $50 coming down the hike. Hope this helps someone.

By: Connor Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Hey, Not a review but I'm not sure where else to ask: Does anyone know if the gravel road above Crab Tree Falls (I think it's Meadow's Lane 263)is open with the government shutdown? I'm hoping to park up there and hike up Priest mountain to camp on Saturday and am concerned that the road will be gated. I've done this once before and can't remember if there is a gate or not. Anyone have a clue? Thanks and sorry to turn this into a forum! -Connor

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 11, 2013

Hey Conner,

I was up there this weekend.  826 is open.  We backpacked from 826 to Campbell Creek on the Mau-Har Trail and back.  Don't know what you drive, but keep in mind that coming from Rt. 56 you can get a car up to the Crabtree Falls trailhead, need some ground clearance to get to the junction with the AT, and need a serious off-road vehicle from that point down Shoe Creek to Perkins Mill Road.  Hope this helps.


By: Ashley Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 14, 2013
Beautiful waterfall, lots of switchbacks so you keep coming to it with different views. We started at 9:30 or 10 on a Saturday morning and it wasn't too crowded on the way up but very crowded coming back down. Some slick spots on the mud, lots of rocky areas along the trail, so recommend sturdy shoes. Nice views, waterfall wasn't as strong as I'm sure it is after lots of rain, might be a better hike in the spring. Still enjoyable.

By: Ryan Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 1, 2013
Great hike!!  I'm not a waterfall person but this waterfall was amazing!  It just keeps falling.  They definitely don't hide the fact that 23 people died there.  They have signs that remind you throughout the hike.  We went on a Thursday morning and saw 2 people during the hike.  Have fun!

By: RL Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 6, 2013
Overall this is a beautiful area with what I was told was the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi. The parking lot was stuffed full of cars, trucks, and even a bus during my wife and I’s visit to the falls. Unfortunately this led to a very crowded and noisy hike up the switchbacks. Once we crested the top of the falls, which is gorgeous, and offers some stunning views, we moved on toward the upper parking lot. This section of the trail was pretty quiet, and flat with few people hiking it. Overall this hike offers some great views, a pretty strenuous climb, providing you start at the lower parking lot, and the opportunity to visit the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi. The trail was pretty sloppy, wet, and slick when we went. I would suggest trying this hike during the week if you can to avoid the crowds.

By: Logan Schmitt Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 15, 2013
Had a great time outvat crabtree falls. The hike was great! Beautiful sites on the way up. Loved it. I think more people should know about this and try it out!

By: Paul Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
My partner is a water gal so I based my decision to do this hike on her preferences. I must say that I was at first slightly disappointed because I thought "falls" meant several different falls. is one gigantic fall with several spots well worth the steep effort arriving at the top. I am fairly new to the hiking thing and I try to hike at least twice a month. This hike, with its well maintained trail is a blessing to a beginner. It is not by any means simple as you traverse the back and forth trail...but at each definitive vantage point is a memorable view. Muddy at times so hiking boots are advisable...many fellow hikers decided on sneakers (not recommended unless you do not care as much).
HikingUpward gives this hike a "1" for solitude which is probably accurate on the weekends. We arrived before 9:AM midweek so only met others on the way back down.
The hike past the falls summit is for those who feel they need more exercise or those who are stream lovers. We sat and had lunch over the stream on a fallen tree...just before you reach the other parking area at trail's end. This parking area is .5 mile to the Appalachian Trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 1, 2013
I live on the eastern shore of maryland now but I'm from the piedmont of Va so mountains are in my blood and I hike at least a couple times of year. I planned the Crabtree hike with my wife and daughter while visiting my almost 80 year old father in NC.. Apr 1st was a beauty of a day and the weather was cooperative.. We arrived at the trailhead at 1050 and proceeded to ascend.. with the recent rains and snows in this area the falls were flowing nicely. Dad is a very determined hiker and goes at a steady pace.. remember he is near 80! He also had a chest cold but wanted to do this. My daughter was also not feeling well so after the third platform looking over the falls my wife decided to take her back to the car and my dad and I would finish what we started. My daughter has hiked some big mountains but I knew she didn't feel well so I encouraged her to go back. the trail was muddy and standing water in places. We came across several folk and some who turned around due to the mud but we trudged on.. The falls as we got to different platforms were spectacular.. just when you thought you were there, you looked up to see more.. after seeing a sign that said 1.2 of 1.7 we knew we had it... as is the case in the mountains weather can change and the clouds rolled in and we got a couple of showers on the way up.. there are a couple of caves you can duck under if ya need..  getting closer to the top we saw evidence of the recent snow .. finally we arrive.. 1.7 of 1.7.... the sky was blue with puffy clouds and about 55 degrees at the top... lots of water and mud so use caution... we went up trail toward the meadow  just a little way but turned around. I knew the girls were waiting so did'nt want to keep them too long... Going down was good. couple of slips on the mud but stayed up.. a shower got us in a rock outcrop to keep dry but  about an hour later we were down and the temp was up.. was bout 2pm..  the girls were fine and rested and ready to visit family in Lynchburg.. very nice hike to be done in short time....

By: Ed Rhett - Pulaski, Va Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 2, 2013
Did this hike mid day on a 40 degree hazy breezy day and we started at the bottom. Saw about 50 people on the trail. Everyone was having a ball. There was plenty of water on the Falls to show off its many drops to the Tye. The grade was taxing but quite do-able . Just rest as needed and know your limits - go at your own rate and stop often to view the different drops. This truely scenic hike will amaze you and the work to get up there is a personal reward. If you don't do alot of hiking be very careful and deliberate with your footing and double the care on the way back down. If you don't take a camera you will be wishing you did. There are many drops to view so it seems like multiple waterfalls all of which are beauitful. I loved them all. You can't see much from the very top accept a great mountain view for photo opts. We didn't go past the top of the falls and to the upper parking lot. As far as dangerous - if you are worried about it just stay on the trail and make sure you don't put your foot on angled rocks. Step on flat rocks and don't twist your ankle. If you get off the trail to get a better picture be warned that sure death awaits the fact you aren't worried about it. Do not even think of venturing out on the slanted rocks near the waterfall. If you slip you're a goner. Don't get your feet off solid flat dry rock and never turn loose of a tree. Remember the danger is hidden and is not common sense, the slanted rock can fool you. Those that died probably didn't mean too! This is a truely beautiful place that deserves great memories and appreciations. If it wasn't protected some fool would bull doze it away! My personal thanks go out to all those that are involve in any way of protecting this place so we can enjoy what nature can provide without us.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 23, 2013
Colder day but a great hike. Note that the hike to the top of the falls is only 1.7 miles up (or 3.4 total), the additional 1.1 miles follows a stream to the upper parking area (we opted to skip this part).  Lots of stairs and railings for the first half of the ascent (I'm sure it helps w/ the crowds and narrower areas of trail). The upper portion of the ascent had a fair amount of snow and ice and a couple of tricky spots but doable for someone w/ decent fitness or trekking poles! I suspect on days w/ great weather this is a really crowded area so if you're looking for solitude go in the winter or very early!

By: Christina Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 16, 2013
This was an awesome and beautiful hike!! Its great for photography!! I loved it and hope to make the 3 hour journey to it again into the spring!

By: AD Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 21, 2013
It was great seeing all the water coming over the falls.  Better views w/o leaves on the trees.  90% of the trail was covered in ice that made the footing very treacherous.  Because of the slow going it took us 1.5 hrs to get to the top and 2.5 hrs to get back down.

By: Pete Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 24, 2012
This hike is easy. Anyone saying its tougher than expected hasnt been on a real hike before. I hiked Crabtree Falls and the slope is gentle but consistent. The falls are beautiful. The only thing I wish is that I had made it to see the fall colors. Very easy hiking...

By: TXLobos Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 23, 2012
I have never hiked before so, when I saw a 2 out of 5 for difficulty I thought it would be a fairly easy hike - I was wrong. It was a bit difficult - more than expected. However, the views along the way are well worth the hike. Going up took us 2.5 hours (three adults and two children), coming back down took 1 hour.

By: Chris l Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Nice little hike for family. I had been there a few years ago and wanted to take the wife so when our anniversary came up I wanted to do somethimg that wasnt the usual dinner date type. Started early, got ti the top and had a nice picnic. The hike isnt tough at all wich I didnt mind this trip due to the fact my wife is disabled. The view is beautiful and I'm sure it will only get better when all the leaves change.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 12, 2012
Took my 3 kids (16/15/12) for this popular hike. Busy hiking day but not overly so until we were on our way back down, when we passed seemingly dozens of folks. Before lunch (our church, since we were camping for the weekend) there were just 6-8 people. THe hike is very manageable, with great access to the falls and limited worries about the rocks for us, since my kids are real cautious and never strayed too close to the danger zone. My middle son pointed out two idiots who went out into the main waterfall area to get a photo, who went right past one of the !DANGER! signs. This was a great hike, not too strenuous but not for the out-of-shape or faint of heart - it has a fairly significant elevation gain in 1.7 miles, although the paths are in good shape. There were a few sections that need work on the off-slope, though, where there isn't a railing.

By: Barb Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 26, 2012
First, hikers should not confuse the trail head with a place called Crabtree Meadows which is about a mile away and down a long, gravel road. Crabtree Falls is well marked and has a paved parking lot. Parking charges are $ 3 a day. This hike basically follows the falls up to their highest point via a series of steps and switchbacks. Most of the footing is fairly good, but there are a few rocky spots. Hikers are rewarded with a panoramic valley view at the top. There were a lot of folks out on the trail on a weekday. One fellow said it was his favorite hike in Virginia. Since this was my first hike in Virginia, I cannot comment on that. It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

By: Tracey Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 26, 2012
I took my children on this hike and we all enjoyed it. My youngest turned 3 that day and it may have been a little too much for her but my other 2 mastered it just fine! Great family hike.

By: Peter Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 12, 2012
A very nice hike! On a Thursday morning starting at 8:30, there was only one other car in the parking lot. We saw 2 other people on the way up and 15 on the way down, mostly near he bottom. Round trip for a pair of 54 year olds, with ample stops, was about 3 hours.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 27, 2012
My wife and I hiked this a few days ago over Memorial Day Weekend.  It was super crowded, but we knew that it would be and we didn't really mind.  We set out to do this just as a "fun" hike, so we didn't worry about passing others to keep our pace or anything, we just went with the flow and enjoyed the scenery.  Both of us got to break out our Chacos for the first time this summer which was an added bonus.  All in all this was just a pleasant hike surrounded by others that were enjoying being outside and playing in the waterfalls.  The hike to the top of the falls and back is 4.4 miles but if you continue up to Crabtree Meadow and back down it's about 6.  We added on that extra section for more exercise.

For what it's worth, while we don't have any kids yet I could totally see this being a blast for families.  Lots of switchbacks to make the ascent easier too!

By: dee.boone Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 26, 2012
This was my family first hiking trip. With no experience we though it was great. You don't have to hike very high to see the falls but the further the better. I only made it up a little over half the way and it was beautiful. My kids made it to the top of the water fall and the pictures are breathtaking. How could anyone possibly doubt there is a God and wonderful Creator?

The Boone Family from Suffolk, VA

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 26, 2012
It was a heck og of a climb, but well worth it. I had to stop myself from drinking the water!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
This was an absolute dream of a hike. Well laid out, so wonderfully maintained. Its been the best hike we have ever been on! We went wtih my sister in law and family and they havent hiked in a long time. They managed just fine!

By: Dustin M Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 12, 2012
Awesome hike! The views are absolutely breathtaking and it's a great hike to fit in an afternoon. It's no cake-walk but it's an overall great hike. The trails are well maintained all the overlooks are very safe. Great hike for all ages.

By: Kyle Young Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 7, 2012
The hike was fantastic! I went off-trail quite a bit for rock climbing and exploring the falls, which made the trip even better, I might add that the cave is closer to 0.6 or 0.7 though, not 0.5 - and you can't miss it. If you go in the middle of the river near the base of the last and tallest portion of the falls, about a hundred yards or so from the base where the look-out is, there's a place where you can stand under the rocks and watch the water fall around you, It's dangerous to get there, but it's awesome.

By: Eric Jensen Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 2, 2012
Enjoyed the Falls like the other reviewers. I was going to walk up to the AT from the upper parking lot and turn around but I ran into some hikers coming down and they suggested that I go up the AT to Spy Rock. I set out to do this but without knowing exactly where it was I turned back before I got to it (or I missed it). In any case this is good way to add some mileage to this short hike, albeit an out and back hike still.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 3, 2012
First hike in decade or more friend asked me to come and I did got there early and no one was there the entire experience was one i will never forget. so much so i am researching a next hike right now.

By: Wade H. Peery Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 3, 2012
This hike is truly one of the hidden gems of the state of Virginia. I've lived in Virginia for 28 years and only until recently did I learn of Crabtree Falls. It's one of the most majestic sights I've ever gotten to see in my life and I was BLOWN away by the views of the different waterfalls. It's absolutely incredible. Be sure to bring hiking shoes because the trail is rather muddy with spots of water. You will also be stepping over a number of rocks, since the second half of the trail isn't well marked. Either way--the hike to the top of the falls is worth it and you won't believe it!! I had an amazing time!

By: Billy Boy Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 31, 2011
We got up there about 9:00 and there were very few people on the trail. Ground was a little wet but it had just rained. Weather was perfect for a hike, 45 degrees with scattered clouds. Views were great and the waterfalls are always pretty. Was getting a little more crowded as we were coming down. Overall great hike.

By: Phil Chupacabra Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 17, 2011
16-18 Dec 11, 3 day backpacking trip from Lower falls parking to The Priest and return the same way.  Temps were upper 30's during the day, dropped to 21 Saturday night on The Priest.  The stairs were icy going up on Saturday buy dry on Sunday going down.  Weather was clear with sunshine.  The priest has a very nice camping area suitable for multiple tents, the shelter can take a pretty good sized group.  The spring at the shelter was flowing strong.  From the top of the falls to the upper parking lot were 3 very nice camping areas on the creek.  The area around the upper parking lot is not well marked at all and I didn't see any signs making it clear the direction to the AT.  The views from the Priest were pretty terrific and well worth the 15 minute walk from the campsite.

By: Chrissy Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 12, 2011
Perfect hike!! My legs hurt the next day but totally worth it because I GOT ENGAGED at the summit!!!!

By: hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, November 8, 2011
PLEASE TAKE WARNING!!! Today I was unfortunate enough to witness someones pet dog fall to their death from the top of the falls. I'm not sharing this to be morbid just to try to prevent future tragedy. Please, please leash your dog!!! This animal's life could have been saved.

By: Julia Atwood Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, October 27, 2011
One of the most beautiful and peaceful hikes I have ever done in my life. And I have hiked a lot! I don't know if it is time of year, the lighting, or what...but it was magical. If you walk slowly, and thoughtfully you will notice beautiful surpirses along the way. What a delight. A must do during the fall.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 22, 2011
Great views leading to good camping.  Used this site's information and topo map for planning.  Thanks!  Hit the trail early Saturday morning with five first-year Boy Scouts and two other dads.  The boys were on their first backpacking trip.  11 and 12 year-olds with all of their personal gear and some of the crew gear in brand new or borrowed packs.  What a great first backpacking experience for the boys.  A challenging climb to the top of the falls followed by a couple miles of fairly flat hiking up to the meadow.  Overnighted in the woods south of the clearing and back out the next morning.  Lots of water in the falls and some on the trail.  With the leaves, made for some slick spots.  Saw lots of people (without backpacks) of various ages and physical condition on Sunday morning on the way back down.  Up and back to the top of the falls is well worth the effort for the views. All the way back to the meadow makes a great (albeit fairly short) introduction to backpacking.  Didn't see any potable water at the top and the fallen wood was fairly picked over where we were.

By: Chelsea McTigue Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 22, 2011
Crabtree Falls was an unbelievable hike. The waterfalls as you climb the mountain are beautiful. When you reach the top the view is breathtaking. It is very safe and family friendly. The hike is a good start for beginners.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 16, 2011
This was our first time to Crabtree Falls. The views were awesome! the trails were in very good condition. The hike is all up hill!!! We did it with a 4yoa who loved every step and a 7 month old. when you get to mile post 1.1 dont stop, keep going, the view at the top and the sense of accomplishment is well worth it!! We would highly recommend this hike if you are in average to above average shape. if not, you will be hurting for a few days =) go check it out, it is BEAUTIFUL!!

By: Liz Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 15, 2011
This is a great hike but gets very crowded so make sure you start early. It is also 2.3 miles to the top or summit not 1.1. This has many stairs to climb and steep, short cross-backs so its a 4 on difficulty, not a 2. There is great camping in Crabtree meadows at the top and end of the hike.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 3, 2011
This was a great hike. 
We parked at the lot and, according to the signpost, it's only 1.7 miles to Crabtree Meadows.  It's all up hill.  The falls themselves are beautiful and the trail is well maintained.  We only got to the mile point.  Not bad though, for a 10 year old kid and two dogs.  It helps if you're in good physical shape.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 27, 2011
I hiked Crabtree Falls, The Priest Wilderness, and Spy Rock as a day hike, taking 8.5 hours. I did it the day we had the hurricane, so solitude was definitely not a problem. I parked at the first parking area and followed the small trail up to the second parking area and restrooms. I continued up the trail to the top of Crabtree, and took the trail to the right and eventually saw blue blaze. Once reaching a clearing where restrooms were available and also a map showing the surrounding trails, I took the gravel road to the left heading to the AT in about .5 miles. There were large boulders intersecting the road, with white blaze. To the left was there was a map showing the area, and I made it to the Priest Wilderness and Shelter in about .9 miles,. I turned around and went back to the gravel road and continued on to Spy Rock. I passed a second fire road and kept steady on the trail until reaching Spy Rock. Once reaching the huge rock, I was able to navigate my way up, which was quite the challenge with all of the wind and rain. It was well worth it once reaching the top. The view was amazing! Follow the trail back and when coming back to the marked rocks by the gravel road, head back left to the restrooms and take the right to get back to Crabtree. All together it was a great hike, well worth the challenge, and definitely happy to see the couple of restrooms along the way (bring your own toilet paper).   Saw a few deer but other than that it was quite and peaceful.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 9, 2011
This was an ok hike into the falls. Glad I did this once will not go back for another hike. The drive from Waldorf Maryland was over 3 hours each way for a 3.4 mile. The page here calls it 4.4 miles and that's not right. I arrived at the falls at 8am with very little parking that early the parking spots were almost all empty. After completing the hike the parking lot was full and people were waiting for spots. So come early.

By: John Gresham Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 25, 2011
I don't know if Crabtree is the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi.  But, I don't know if there is any more beautiful!  No one needs to stray off the path for great photos either.  The trail is well maintained with great overlooks. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Fabulous, well maintained, easy to navigate, took lots of pictures!!!

By: John M. Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, June 1, 2011
The parking lot can fill up in Fall, and the hike is quite crowded on weekends. I have hiked this trail 6-8 times and even saw a bear along the creek in 1990, on Xmas Eve.

By: FirsttimeVA Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 29, 2011
Overall, a nice hike and worth the trip.  We started from the bottom of the falls all the way to the top, which seemed to be the route most people take--for those who just want to see the view from the top, you could drive to Crabtree meadows and hike a shorter distance to the top of the falls. 

The hike is a steady uphill, with guardrails makeshift stairs constructed at some parts.  Since the trail is next to a waterfall, some parts of the trail are muddy and wet.  The top of the falls is definitely the highlight of the hike, where the view opens up and there's a nice place to sit down, have lunch, dip your feet in the cold water, etc.

Parking was only $3 a car, and no other fees....not bad at all considering some other places charge an admission fee too.

Notice that this place ranks low for solitude and I second that.  There were so many people out that day that some people had to park on the side of the highway since all the parking spots were gone.

By: Laura Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 24, 2011
Easter Sunday, our family headed out to Crabtree Falls. The entire hike was beautiful. The ferns, moss and small flowers were abundant. Any micro-nature photographer could have spent hours there photographing just the small plants. The falls are deceiving as you look up from the lowest viewing area you wonder if you will be able to climb that far up. Along the climb there were some very muddy spots, but otherwise the hike was manageable. If you are able to hike to where you think would be the top, don't stop just a little further on and the views will pay off.

By: budayj Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 18, 2011
Went out the first warm day of the "spring" we've been experiencing...great for all skill levels, however, there were several areas of ice which required some tricky manuevers. All in all, great hike! Try to go on weekdays to avoid crowds.

By: Aaron Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 11, 2011
I did it in Winter and at the bottom of the mountain there was about 10 inches of snow and by the time I got to the top it was blizzard like conditions, which added to the experience! The falls were frozen in some areas which made them look even cooler, the snow would probably make it difficult for people who are not in relatively good shape.The snow did make me slip a few times and if you aren't careful it could get dangerous, once again added to the experience!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 22, 2011
Having done this hike back in May, we thought we would see what it looks like with the falls frozen over.  Even though it was only 18 degrees outside when we hit the trail, it wasn't too bad at all, once we got moving.  We wore several layers of clothes using Under Armour cold gear as a base layer.  Proper footwear is a must, as we did have to work our way around a few spots in the trail that were completely frozen over with ice.  The falls and scenery were absolutely gorgeous!!!  Imagine a giant wall of textured ice.  This is the first winter hike that we have done, but it certainly won't be the last.  As long as you dress properly, don't take unnecessary risks, and keep one eye on the weather forecast, I would recommend this to any adventurous hiker.

By: Caveman Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 23, 2010
I firmly believe that this hike would have received 4 stars from me if I had gone during the week away from the maddening crowds.  The trail itself was very tolerable.  Most every age group was represented the day I was there as well as most fitness levels.  No one seemed overly tired and most were moving at a good rate.  Not a hike that will make you want to turn back.  Excellent trail as far as easy to follow.  The falls were visible from many different vantage points along the way.  Very nice.  After a 1 to 2 inch rain, I would imagine, SPECTACULAR!  The 1.7 miles to the top of the falls was filled with people and their friendly, attractive and well behaved dogs.  Although, some of the people should learn what single-file means.    After you reach the top, you have an opportunity to hike in the woods with MUCH less people traffic to an upper parking lot that is 1.1 miles away.  Slightly uphill for about .3 of a mile, this trail does flatten out and becomes a lovely place to meander.  After you reach the gate across the road, you will see a large kiosk/map to your left.  Straight on from that at the beginning of the parking lot, you encounter a sign.  One of the directions is to the Appalachian Trail.  It is .5 miles to the left ( same side as the map/kiosk),  up the old forest fire road.  The AT is at the top of a steep grade as you walk this road.  Campsites are on either side of you on the way up.  I know that the day I was there was kind of like "the perfect storm of all days to be there", meaning the leaves were very near peak, the weather was fantastic and the falls are very popular.  But my lord, there were HUNDREDS of people there.  Go on a week day if possible in order to get one of the coveted parking spaces.  I parked a 1/4 mile down the road out of absolute necessity.  Ridiculous!  And watch out for the ladybugs.  At the top, in the sunlight, there were thousands of them.  They were relentless and seemed to naturally gravitate to humans.  We had a couple of dozen on us each before we left to go down the trail and brushed them off.  Almost a little freaky!  But they don't bite, so I wasn't too freaked out.  Nice, nice trail.  Small, slow walking children under the age of 5 or so, should probably not be along on the most popular weekends when there are hundreds of visitors.  Wait 2 or 3 years then let them show you what youthful energy looks like in comparison to your own energy level.  Enjoy!  We did.  Just wish we had went on a Tuesday.  Live and learn.  Happy hiking, ya'll.

By: MamaLinda Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 23, 2010
We hiked with our family -- seven people, ages 19 - 58.  Beautiful setting great day -- a perfect family adventure!  Trail is sometimes rocky and an uphill climb, but definitely do-able for anyone in half-way decent shape. Your thigh muscles will remind you for days what a great hike it is!  Yes, it is crowded on an autumn Saturday, but everyone (including their dogs) is very friendly and polite about letting faster walkers go ahead.  The only issue for me was that with so many people, I felt a little rushed up and down the mountain, and would have enjoyed a slower pace to take in more of the natural beauty!  Would definitely recommend trail shoes, not sneakers, or any other flexible-bottom shoes.  Enjoy!

By: Shannan Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 10, 2010
this was a beautiful hike--I'm in decent shape but the ascent at times was enough to make me work a little bit.  The fall foliage is beginning to turn so it was very beautiful to see some of the different colors.  Parking was a bit of an issue as it is a very popular hike.  And to the review below, the route via Campbell Mountain Road (or whatever it is), is HORRIBLE, agreed.  To find an alternate route to the hike, use the web-site for the nearby campgrounds (Crabtree Falls Campground) will get you there without having to take the Blue Ridge or the awful dirt/gravel road--and it probably takes the same if not less time due to being able to actually go speed limit without fear of falling off the edge. 
I recommend this hike to anyone in VA, it's not TOO challenging--but even if folks with difficulty want to see a sight, they can see some of the falls without even hiking.

By: Liz Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 9, 2010
I am 50, in average shape and this hike was a little strenuous. (This was after walking in downtown Charlottesville all morning.)   Falls were pretty, but it was very crowded Sat.  We've never paid for parking when we hiked.  Three bucks or car would be towed.  GPS took us down a dirt road.  :(  Took another route back to our hotel in Charlottesville.   Beautiful view at the top.  Leaves just beginning to turn.  In two weeks should be at their peak. 

By: Danny Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 2, 2010
Very cool waterfall. Something this web site doesn't tell you is it cost 3 dollars to park, exact change. It has to be put in an envelope and make sure you have a pen to fill out the envelope.  We are in our mid-20s.  The trail is very do able, but there are places where the rocks are wet and slippery and the trail gets very narrow in spots and it is hard for two people to pass each other.  There are trees down on the trail that we had to either go completely around or over or under. The views of the waterfall are incredible.  The actual length of the trail is 1.7 miles.  Once you get to the top of the falls, even though you can't see the falls that much anymore, the view is very beautiful. 

By: Josh Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 2, 2010
This is definitely one of the best short hikes in Virginia hands down.  I'm 18 and have hiked this set of falls 6 times and I've finally gotten around to writing a review.  I went with my venture crew and everyone had a great time.  The views are beautiful and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

By: Rebecca Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Now granted, I do have a fear of heights but we never made it to the falls because VA-56 is the road of DEATH.  It's 15 miles all the way down the dirt road where two cars can barely fit and you can't see another car come around the curves.  Perhaps there's a better way than mapquest, but VA-56 is a very dangerous road.  Beware.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 4, 2010
A spectacular hike.  It's been several years since I hiked Crabtree.  A couple of friends and I decided to give this one a shot as there were a few nearby geocaches we wanted to find (which we successfully did!) 

Lots of activity on the trail today with plenty of other dogs our dog, Hussi, was able to "shake hands" with.  Just about everyone we encountered was extremely friendly and very thankful to enjoy such a beautiful day, weather-wise. 

Going up wasn't a problem but coming down was a little slow with the dogpack holding Hussi back a bit, as well as an injured foot on one of our "humans."  

The views are truly spectacular, especially on such a clear day as today.  However, if one's going for a "quiet hike," best find another trail as this one, while kept very well, is very busy.

I highly recommend this hike for anyone in decent shape as well as dog-owners with socially friendly animals.

By: Mike & Shannon Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 26, 2010
As novice hikers, and being a bit out of shape, we did the hike in a rush since we were also going to Monticello the same day, which wasn't smart. Plan on taking a couple of hours with several breaks along the way and beware of the Virginia humidity. Of course closed toe shoes are a must because the trail gets very rocky. Still, don't be deterred, it is completely rewarding and definitely worth the trip, even for out-of-shape novices.

By: Penningtonx4 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 26, 2010
We made this hike as a family and loved it! My four year old walked the trail, while I carried my 4 month old in a carrier. My wife carried the backpack. We really enjoyed the falls and simply being in nature. Because we had small children, we liked the steps and aids. The trail is very well kept and the views are great. We will be returning to this one again. There were numerous people on the trail, so the solitude factor is low. Great hike, great place for pictures!! Good family friendly hike.

By: Julie Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 14, 2010
First time hiker :) The hike was beautiful! Several spots along the trail are next the waterfall and have some great picture taking spots. We took a towel and had lunch at the top, it was awesome! It took about 1.5 hours up and about 40 minutes down. Only downfall is they are doing some construction on the trail. I would not recommend taking a dog the trail gets pretty rocky in some areas.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 6, 2010

On June 6, 1981 I had the pleasure to visit & hike this beautiful area. The water flow in the gorge/falls was intense, loud and captivating. Stay on the trail, don't get drawn in by its beauty or it will pull you in for a ride. I was one of the lucky ones. 

Remember - hike responsible and respect mother nature!


By: hillareeeee Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Definitely a very picturesque hike, awesome for long-exposure shots of the waterfalls. I was disappointed to see how "friendly" the hike was (lots of railings and stairs), but it's nice to see that the waterfalls are accessible to people that may have not been able to check them out without these aids. It was short and easy, great for a quick day trip.

By: Warren Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 31, 2010
Great Hike, Temperature was around 90, but walking up the trail near the falls kept it cool.  They were beautiful falls, must see to appreciate.

By: Bodhidharma Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 30, 2010
We really liked this hike - beautiful waterfall with great places for my dog to swim and cool off. The day was nice, but there were soooo many people there - had to pull off the trail every 50-100 yards. Probably had to do with Memorial Day Weekend.

This is our first trip recommended by Hiking Upward. We are huge fans now, and plan to do many more!

By: Kayla Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, May 20, 2010
It is a beautiful hike with the waterfall alongside! It is a rather easy hike not too steep. However, there are sharp rocks on your way up, so be prepared. We spotted several deer on our hike it is an extremely peaceful environment. Oh, but the top though! That is the best part! You have a gorgeous view from the top of the mountain be sure to bring a camera! We were disappointed by the $3 fee that is required to park (because we were not expecting it). Other than that, it was a blast!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 15, 2010
Really enjoyed this one!  A powerful thunderstorm canvased the area the night before our arrival, adding force to the already surging, early summer waterfalls.  As usual, we hit the trail early and were the first ones up the mountain.  At that point the path, although damp, was still providing secure footing.  Several hikers came up later behind us and we noticed on the way down that some patches along the trail were turning quite mushy.  We prefer hitting the trails early because it increases the chances of seeing wildlife, but other than serenading birds and a gray banded snake sunning itself, we didn't see any animals on this trip.  This is a great hike for novice hikers.  There are three different observation platforms along the way, allowing great views of the falls, as well as convenient places to catch your breath.  I recommend going early in the year before the water flow slows down. 

By: The Smiths Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 18, 2010

This is a wonderful hike. The waterfall is gorgeous and the trail is in great condition. The trail is not too difficult and it was not very crowded when we went. It is a perfect day trip from Richmond, VA and we hiked it in about 3.5 hours with plenty of stops to enjoy the falls and see the view at the top overlook. We did not think to bring bug spray, but wished we had to get rid of the bugs at the bottom of the trail. Once we got to the top, they were gone. Montebello Country Store is nearby in case you need to stop to pick up any food, drinks, or other items you may have forgotten. It is very nice inside, has gasoline, gifts, home made goodies, and clean restrooms too.

By: Gaurav Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 3, 2010
I thought that the hike was average. Pretty moderate. All the trees had shed leaves and the area gave a pretty desolate look and feel. Lot of people in the way who wouldn't let others pass. That was pretty rude. We went till the meadows which was nothing special. A good average workout.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 28, 2010
Beautiful cool day for a hike. Crabtree was no let down. The leaves are not yet back so the view of the falls was quite a bit more than usual. The trail was busy but not overrun as I hear it can sometimes be. did a little geocaching at the top which made it more interesting for the kids.

By: hikingupward Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 21, 2010
We stopped at Crabtree Falls on 2/21/2010 to check conditions after doing an overnight backpack to Spy Rock (hike to be posted soon). Be aware the parking lot is completely covered with snow. We had to park right at the turn off from Route 56. You cannot get a car across the bridge, it may be awhile until the parking area opens. The Falls are 80% frozen and very beautiful. Ate lunch at the Blue Mountain Brewery on the way home. Worth a stop if you are in the area: Photos:

By: Willow Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 23, 2010
Beautiful day for a hike!  I was worried because I've never done a hike in the winter before, but the trail wasn't too bad.  It was pretty slushy and up towards the top there were some icy parts but with some creativity (and help from my boyfriend and the nice guys behind me) I got through pretty easily.  Definitely worth it for the view of the falls after a snow!  The roads getting there were easy, too.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 15, 2009
Took my son, two of his friends, and my basset on this hike for the second time this fall.  First time, there was not much water running.  Went this time after 3 days of rain and wow what a difference.  The sound of the water was deafening and we had to yell at each other when next to the falls.  it was truly beautiful, but very crowded on this beautiful Sunday.  Very dog -friendly hike and many dogs can be seen on the trails.  I would recommend this hike for any family including their furkids.

By: Paul and Shelley Stanfield Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 23, 2009
We arrived late in the afternoon Friday, 430ish- our book and the sign in the lower parking lot didnt offer any REALLY good information about this trail. For all the people who said it was an easy hike, i am guessing that it must be, unless, like us, you are racing against the clock & daylight-set on reaching the top & making it back down before dark. We 'hoofed' it as fast as we could, with our hiking boots & poles, and were confused by the ONE fresh looking couple that passed us in their sneakers and polo shirts who said 'it's peaceful all the way up'...obviously once we reached the top platform with the deck overlooking the falls, we assumed THEY THOUGHT this WAS the top...we kept going-past the cave (we did go through and out the back) and up and up and up, there were LOTS of rocks in the path and twisting an ankle is possible-oh did I forget to mention it was raining on us  the entire hike? And between us we have a bum hip & knee? Oh well--- Didn't make any difference, the views were spectacular with yellow leaves everywhere! Well, as close as we were to reaching the top after about an hour or so of hiking, it was getting dark & since  the trees basically blanket the earth at this point - we HAD to (to our dismay) turn back or risk getting trapped in pitch black right there on the mountain-there was no moon and no stars-and the possiblity of being stuck was real... so at about 550 we started our decent & practically 'ran' back down which actually did not take much less time, i guess where the path is clear, the parts with the jagged, slippery rocks makes up for it. WE CANNOT WAIT TO GO BACK-take our time and make the whole trek up and back. Its on our list of things to do!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 17, 2009
Awesome hike for our official first hike, weather was great. I'm a large fellow and made it to the top with relative ease, at the beginning/end of each switchback theres ample area to catch your breath if need be. The places to stop and look at the waterfall are great, and the views of the mountain especially when we went, the leaves had started changing. This is a great hike for any novice hiker!

By: Angela Wright Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 11, 2009
Great fall hike! This is the 2nd year we've hiked it with our children. They are 5 & 7 now and just your avg. kids when it comes to exercise and endurance. Very manageable. Took us 35 mins from parking lot to cave where we had a snack break then 40 mins more to the top. Where we had a picnic and played around for about an hour. Wear good shoes, you're stepping on a lot of rocks and you feel it through sneakers. Highly recommend for a family outing. It was a wonderful family day.

By: Willow Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Beautiful hike!  Just like the description says the trail is really well maintained and there are spots with steps and hand rails, but if you are going to let that turn you away then you are missing out on a great experience.  I went with my boyfriend early afternoon on a Wednesday and we only saw maybe 3 other small groups of people.  We were alone the whole way up and we had the view point at the very top all to ourselves!  Great views of the mountains from the top and the falls are definitely something special.  I'm going to bring friends and do this one again!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 12, 2009
Took my two 11 year old daughters up Crabtree Falls this afternoon.  Just before arriving at 3PM, we were caught in a massive thunderstorm (with hail) for about 20 minutes . . . by the time we hit the parking lot it was nearly empty!  It was like hiking in a rain forest.  A spectacular hike with great views and multiple photo ops and rest stops along the way.  Great for our 15 lb. dog too!

By: Lesley Mink Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 6, 2009

This was our first time to Crabtree Falls. My husband, two boys (7 and 9 yrs old) and I went hiking there today. We are not skilled hikers and found this trail easy to navigate and enjoy.  Our boys had a great time.  Our 7 yr old kept saying, "This is awesome!"  He was so excited to be hiking and seeing the waterfalls, as well as the millipedes and snails.

I highly recommend this trail. The views are spectacular!  Well worth the journey.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 2, 2009
Our first hike with all the kids (ages 4, 6, 9, 14).  We started at about 930A and got to the top almost noon.  We spent a lot of time looking around and taking pics which accounts for the longer ascend time.  We are not in great shape (mostly just 2-4 walks around the neighborhood per week) and found the hike very do-able.  Great views and not a very technical hike.

If you have a 4x4, you can drive around to the upper parking area and do the shorter/flatter hike in from there.

Take plenty of water and snacks (trail mix, granola bars, etc.) for kids to keep them energized!

By: Bombor83 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 24, 2009
A great hike. It took about 2 hours to get there from from Richmond. This was my Wifes and my first hike so we were out of shape. It took almost 2 hours to get to the top of the falls and 1 hour to get back down. There were several icy patches and it took some scrambling to get around but it wasn't too bad. I agree with Danelover that good boots are a must. We plan on coming back in the spring where the ice is gone. The falls are beautiful the ice was half melted and you could see the water flowing under and through the ice. It was awesome!

By: DaneLover Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 17, 2009
Great hike for beginners and seasoned hikers. Took us about 2.5 hours to get there from Fredericksburg, and there was a $3 parking fee. The trail is well maintained, but does have loose rocks and ice, so sturdy shoes/boots are a must. The falls were completely frozen over, so it looked more like an ice wall than a waterfall. Regardless, it was gorgeous and amazing. Took about 3.5 hours to go from the lower parking lot to the upper parking lot, which included a 15-minute stop at the top of the falls for a quick snack. The trail from the top of the falls to the upper parking lot is fairly flat and wide, so it was easy going and a nice break from the switchbacks coming up from below. Overall, this is a wonderful hike and one that can be enjoyed during all seasons.

By: Jade Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 25, 2008
My husband and I thought we would spend one of the last warmer weekends of the fall hiking to the top of Crabtree Falls.  The views were beautiful, especially with the leaves having changed color already... and there weren't so many people that it felt crowded.  It had just rained that morning, so the falls were rushing and were truly breath taking.  We live on the Amherst/Nelson border, and plan on making this one of our get-away day trips whenever we get the chance!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 31, 2008
We did the hike over the Labor day weekend. I had read some of the other reviews and expected the crowd that we encountered on the trail. However, everyone on the trail was quite polite and just enjoying their own hikes. We hiked with our 3 year old and 6 year old up to the observation area at the top of the falls for lunch. The hike was a little steep in some areas for our little one, but she hung tough. Overall, a highly recommended  hike for the family.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 30, 2008
We hiked Crabtree Falls over Labor Day weekend.  We expected it to be crowded the whole way.  But when we started out at 10:30 am, there weren't too many folks on the trail.  The day was absolutely beautiful so we got to see a great view at the top.  After resting there, we continued up the trail a short distance to find a place where our dog could play in the stream.  He really loved that part.  As we headed back down, the trail really started getting crowded.  We often had to step to the side of the trail to let larger family groups pass us.  So, I'm glad we got a little bit of a head start and beat the main rush. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 1, 2008

I grew up in Charlottesville, so I've probably hiked Crabtree about a dozen times over the years. As a simple out-and-back, it isn't especially difficult. The trails are clear, well-marked, and include handrails. The falls are gorgeous when there has been any precipitation, and worth seeing even during the dry season. (Although the falls slow to a trickle in places, the Tye river never dries up and there are plenty of opportunities to dip your feet at both the top and bottom.) I'd definitely suggest hiking from the bottom trailhead up to the meadows and back, otherwise the trail is pretty short. For all of those reasons, this is a wonderful place to head if you're a beginner, or with kids. On the downside, it is ALWAYS crowded. It doesn't matter what time of year you go, if its a Saturday, the parking lot will be full.

Keep in mind that there is a cash fee (I think its like four bucks) for parking, payable by using the drop box at the trailhead. And I strongly suggest grabbing lunch at the Blue Ridge Pig on 151 on the way out - the bbq isn't wonderful but the chicken and roast beef croissants are to die for.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 24, 2008
This was a first for my wife and I.  We have never been here.  The day was beautiful and the scenary was worth it.  We are definitely planning on coming back when the leaves change.  There are many places to stop and enjoy the view and so the hike took us a little longer than the usual but we did not mind.  We packed a lunch in and it was a great place at the top of the falls to stop and relax.  The activity level for us was a bit strenuous but we made it and we are not the model pf a perfect athlete.  I would reccomend you just take your time and enjoy the scenic overlooks and you will be at the top before you know it.  I made it carrying my 19 month old daughter on my back.  The trail is cleared really well and easy to navigate.  I would suggest proper hiking footweat because it does get uneven in spots and we were only wearing sneakers.  My gave me a scare when she sprained her ankle with about a mile to go, like I said make sure you have proper footwear.  Thank God with a little ice and alot of prayer she made it down.  If this is your first time here definitely print out the maps and info on this site, it was extremely helpful and the directions (hiking and driving) were extremely accurate.  I definitely will be back it was a great hike and I am planning on hiking Mount Pleasant when my wifes ankle heals.

By: Richard Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Hike was amazing! I felt so challenged, and I usually hike every weekend during the spring. It was a crowded day so there were a ton of people on the trail. Unfortunatley, Today we saw a guy fall to his death from the top of the falls -  A warning to all hikers - Read the sings and do not allow your kids to play along the rails. I saw several kids climbing out over the rails at one of the small overlooks just a few hours before the guy fell to his death - Also, be smart and do not take alcoholic beverages on your hike. I am not entirley sure, but I think this guy may have been intoxicated. I also suggest to ALL hikers, be smart - Learn CPR and First Aid and know how to respond to an emergency. So many people were just standing around not knowing what to do today. I don't think anything could have changed the fact that this guy died since he feel about 400 feet, but no one had the smarts to run down to the bottom of the mountain and call 911 Except for my friend and I.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 9, 2008

Our Boy Scout Troop (Troop 13 CVC) does this hike every year for the past 5 years.  We go at the same time time every year.  We have been when it was rainy, foggy, warm & iced over.  You need Yak Trax when it is iced over and that is when it is at its most beautiful.  This past year it was mid 50's by the time we got up to the top.  A great time was had by all.  We always pack our lunch and eat it at the upper landing. Then come back down.  The terrain can be a bit grueling for those of us not in the best of shape, but if you take your time and enjoy the view, it cannot be beat.

J. Sargent

By: B. Love Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 26, 2008

The mountain trails were ice, but that's to be expected in the middle of winter.  Ice spikes would have been good but there was less ice and more snow (better footing) beyond the observation deck.  After getting to the observation deck at the top, you have seen the best of the views and could begin to go down if you choose.  Continuing from the observation deck up the trail was nothing more than good excercise.  You can find more seclusion and and a nice snowy panorama of the mountains hiking the trail this time of year.  There were still several hikers toward the base of the trail later in the day, but not outfitted to get up the trail and it didn't take long for them to figure it out.  The falls were amazing, frozen over ice with running water visible only in some spots underneath the ice.  And how do they get that lumber up there?

By: John Marler Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 26, 2008
Hiked when the snow and ice ruled the pathways.   Did not have spikes or crampons and lemme tell was a CHALLENGE!   Tooks us nigh on 5 hours to traverse the climb to a shelter on the AT.  Going again this weekend and looking forward to an easier hike.   Views and vistas are amazing.  Can't say enough good things about this site.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 10, 2007
Very good hike!  My first one a few weeks ago was Old Rag, which is a huge undertaking.  This is a better one for a beginning hiker.  Beautiful falls, hearing them along the hike is great.  It was good exercise, but not too strenuous.  Of note though, when you get higher up, the trail splits and we wouldn't have known which way to go except that I had printed info out from this site and had it with me. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 21, 2007
What a way to celebrate the day before Earth Day. Our hike was peaceful. The weather was as perfect as it could be in April. We felled in love with each set of falls. The top of the fall was magnificent. The trail was well maintained, which made the hike easy. I like to sit on a rock to view the mountain while taking a break so I didn’t care too much for the man made break stops and stairs. That soon changed when we reached the top of the mountain and was able to sit and stare at my view of an ideal place. Thank you Hiking Upward for another great recommendation.

By: Andy, Megan, & Timber Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 25, 2007
The falls were awsome and the trails was very well maintained.  I'd hate to be one of the people who had to carry the lumber up the trail to build the railings.  Those rails were probably to help the variety of poeple we met on the way up and down the trail.  We encountered several large women, a few hispanics, a few orientals, old folks, and even babies and Jamaicans.

Well worth the trip, but abosolutely no seclusion (I couldn't even find a place to pee)

By: Jen Gibbs Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 10, 2007
Absolutely gorgeous hike, and I agree that the climb to the top isn't too difficult, due to the multiple switchbacks that traverse the mountain.  Also, you're near the water almost the whole time, so the soothing sound of water trickling over rocks is an added perk.   However, be forewarned that ICE on the trail can make the climb and descent VERY tricky, as I learned today - had to make several detours around large ice-rink-like sections of the trail that happened not to have guard rails in place, so any slippage could have meant quite a fall off the trail and down the mountain.  If hiking any time in the near future (i.e. the rest of March, possibly April if it gets cold again), hike WITH other people: I was in a group of 20, and it definitely took some teamwork (namely, spotters downhill) to get around the icy patches.   The falls were totally worth the effort, though, and I highly recommend this hike to traill users who will employ common sense about safety.

By: Fred Hill Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 29, 2006
It is a wonderful hike which is enjoyed equally from the bottom to the top. We take our family every year and include a picnic lunch following the hike. Take the time to do this......You will thank yourself.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 29, 2006
Great place to hike. Easy to get to and not too dificult to climb. Bring hiking shoes if you have them. The rocks are hard on your sneakers, not to mention your feet and legs. Also a walking stick will help on the decent, which is a little trickier than the climb. A bottle of water and a digital camera are the only accessories you need.

By: Wayne Mancari Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, October 26, 2006
What a great hike! Our office staff took the day to climb the mountain and it was gorgeous. I had spent hours reading through hundreds of reviews of hikes throughout Virginia and decided to take them to Crabtree Falls. It was an excellent choice! The climb is not too difficult, and the many, many views of the falls were great. Of course, the view at the top was also a highlight. (I would definitely rate it higher than the "2" that the website gives for "view.") The leaves were at their peak and we had a perfect day.

By: RoseAnn Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 21, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006 was the peak of fall foliage and the Falls were gorgeous. We had perfect weather, in the high 50s. This was a great hike with breathtaking views from each stop.

By: J. White Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 3, 2006

By: Bob Shields Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, June 1, 1971
My family and I grew up in Rockbridge County.  We used to hike and climb the falls before there was a proper trail put in place.  Nicest place in Virginia.

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