CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Art Loeb Trail North Carolina BRP Highlights Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway in NC


Yellowstone Falls, Second Falls,
Shining Rock Wilderness, Art Loeb Trail



Graveyard Fields is the name of a flat mountain valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It is near the source of the Yellowstone Prong of the Pigeon River. The valley's name originates from a time when a great windstorm blew down hundreds of trees along the slopes and the stumps looked like gravestones. The area was subject to extensive logging during the early 20th century and devastating wildfires swept the area in 1925 and 1940, destroying the "stumps".

This area is called one of the most popular hiking areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Visitors are attracted to the area to because of the several waterfalls plus the amazing views from the open mountains in the area.  Fall visitors experience vivid colors and the opportunity to collect blueberries.

Primarily access is from the Graveyard Fields Overlook at milepost 418.8 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The three waterfalls in the Graveyard Fields are easily accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The main trail descends from a parking area by stone steps that give way to an asphalt path, necessary due to the popularity of the area. Many parts of the trail beyond the asphalt portion have been worn into deep ruts which are often muddy due to the frequency of precipitation.

Second Falls is the most popular of the three waterfalls and the easiest to get to. From the Graveyard Fields Overlook parking area, head down the stairs on the north end of the lot and take the paved path a short ways down to Yellowstone Prong. The waterfall isn't too far downstream and you can follow the rocks to the top of the falls. Or, take the bridge across and follow the path down to the base area of the falls. The rock all along the prong is very colorful, and especially so at the bottom part of this 60' drop. There's a viewing platform for the falls or you can get a closer look from the boulders at the base of the falls.

Second Falls in Graveyard Fields off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 418.8

From Second Falls, Yellowstone Falls is downstream. It's not listed on on the trail board in the parking area.  It's a very steep descent to the base of the falls. There are several herd paths that lead to the falls. The herd path down is extremely steep and it requires holding on to roots, trees and rocks - and sometimes for dear life. The path isn't well defined and it splits part of the way down. The right fork heads to the top section of the falls which slides about 100' over some tightly banded rock.  Most hikers do not even attempt the trip to Yellowstone Falls.

Upper Falls is upstream from Second Falls.  This hike is featured in the hiking guide book Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This is one of those must do hikes along the Parkway.

CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Art Loeb Trail North Carolina BRP Highlights Blue Ridge Parkway