Attractions > Graveyard Fields Information

Graveyard Fields

hiking, waterfalls, camping

graveyard fields in autumn

Graveyard Fields is a high, flat mountain valley filled with wildflowers and surrounded by mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The stunning waterfalls and distinct landscape make it one of the most popular spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway for hiking. The trails lead to 3 waterfalls: Second Falls, Upper Falls and Yellowstone Falls.

The hikes here are well marked and easy to follow. Grasses, small trees, shrubs, rhododendron, and mountain laurel cover the flats and the hillsides. Above the valley looms Black Balsam Mountain and Graveyard Ridge.


The sign at the beginning of the Graveyard Fields Trail reads: "A natural disaster occurred here 500 to 1000 years ago. A tremendous "wind-blow" uprooted the spruce forest. Through the years the old root stumps and trees rotted, leaving only dirt mounds. These odd mounds gave the appearance of a graveyard, and the area became known as Graveyard Fields.

The forest eventually recovered, only to be destroyed by a catastrophic fire in 1925. This fire consumed the entire spruce-fir forest and the ancient mounds. The forest again is slowly recovering. The 1925 fire burned deeply, destroying the soils nutrients. Blackberry briers and other small plants have taken hold, adding decaying vegetation to the earth each season, gradually enriching the soil. With time, this process will establish larger plants and trees. A spruce-fir forest might once again flourish in Graveyard Fields."

Things To Do

second falls at graveyard fields

The hike to the large and scenic waterfall, Second Falls is a short .3 mile hike. The hike brings you through a Rhododendron tunnel and down to the creek with a wooden bridge that crosses over the Yellowstone Prong. The creek flows across solid bedrock, and huge boulders sit in the middle of the stream bed. Keep going along the trail which bears to the right and leads you to a set of wooden stairs. Descend down the stairs to view the falls from below on the large observation platform. There are swimming areas and this is also great place for sunbathing on a warm day.

At the end of August, Graveyard Fields is a perfect place to pick blueberries. National Park Service rules allow for the picking of one gallon of blueberries per day for personal consumption. These wild blueberries taste great plain and they are also a great addition to pancakes and muffins.


Graveyard Fields is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina on the southern section of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 418.8.

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