Hike to Apple Orchard Falls

Wildcat Trail

There is the loop (from North Creek campground) or an in & out (from Sunset Field Overlook). You will be Near streams most of the hike with Awesome waterfalls. There are Great photo opportunities and this is a Dog & Family friendly hike.

There are a few different ways that you can do this hike. One way is to start at the North Creek campground (37.54244, -79.58531) and do a loop hike that's about 6 miles, which will take you to the falls up along a stream with some swimming holes and nice campsites. I did it the other way, which is to start at the Sunset Field Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway and hike down to the falls, which is about 2.5 miles in and out. I enjoyed it from the BRP, but would like to try the bottom sometime.

From Sunset Field Overlook at MP 78.4, you begin to hike down the trail to the falls which is 1.2 miles. It's a fairly steep descent, with the elevation changing over 1,000 ft in that one mile. So, hiking back up is definitely a nice little workout.

About half way down, you come to a stream and from there on you are pretty much beside some water the rest of the way down. The first little falls you come to are really nice, and are in big open area with a wooden bridge and lots of rocks where you can take a little rest and get some great pictures! From there you continue down and you'll get to some steep stairs, which can really slippery if it's wet out (trust me, I know). At the bottom of those stairs you reach the base of the falls, which has a nice wooden platform where you can chill out and admire God's handiwork. From there it's back up the mountain if you started from the overlook, or you can go down some more and explore the creek if you're feeling adventurous!

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Good hiking shoes/boots
  • Hammock
  • Swimsuit & towel (if you're getting in)
Show More
RT Distance 5.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 1000 Feet
Activities Photography, Backpacking, Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Great Waterfall

The hike can definitely be on the steep side if you're not used to it, and plenty of stairs to navigate once you get close, but it's very much worth it. Recommended.

Beautiful falls

The hike can get quite steep if hiking from the Sunset Field Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. But it's short enough that it is not too strenuous. Well worth the trip to see this waterfall. For long exposures the early morning hours would be best for photographs.

Nice

Beautiful bridges, creeks and falls along the way.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike Apple Orchard Mountain

The top of Apple Orchard Mountain is easily accessible via the Appalachian Trail. Access the trail at the Sunset Field Overlook at MP 78.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

194 Saves

Hike Devil's Marbleyard

Want to scale the side of a rock face? If you do, I highly suggest adding this adventure to your list. Hiking to the marbleyard and back to the parking lot will have you at a 3 mile journey.

605 Saves

Swim at Arnold Valley Pool

Arnold Valley Pool might be a couple hundred feet from the road but most people don’t even notice when they pass by.

421 Saves