Hike Crabtree Falls

Virginia Crabtree Falls Parking Area, VA

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1000 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Explore the largest cascading waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. This hike is great for both family and dogs, so bring the group.

This is an approximately 4 mile roundtrip hike. It will usually take anywhere from 1-2 hours to get up, depending on your experience and who you have with you, and about an hour down. As you come off of route 56, you will come up to the trailhead where there is a large parking area with restrooms. There is a $3.00 parking fee per vehicle that is on the honor system. You put your money into the container and take a pass to hang inside your car.

As the trail starts, it is paved for the first quarter mile or so as it comes to the first waterfall at the lower falls. It is a great place to go and see a waterfall without having to do much rough hiking. From here on out the trail is dirt meandering back and forth through the woods. It can get steep with some jagged rocks at some points and there can be places where the ice hasn't melted depending on the season you go in.

CAUTION: There are signs everywhere that tell you to stay on the trail and to not wander off near the falls because the rocks are very slippery. There have been plenty of deaths that result from it, usually one every couple years or so. I know that most people will wander off the trail, I do so myself, you pretty much have if you want any decent photos. I'm not advising it, but if you do be extra careful and know your limits.

Around 3/4 of a mile in you come the largest falls of the lower section that are over 200 feet! Then at a mile in, you reach the middle section of the falls, until about 1.5 miles where you get to the base of the upper falls. Then about the 2 mile mark, you reach the summit where you will cross a bridge and see a stone wall. There you have an awesome view of the Tye River Gorge. From there you can go back down the trail or continue on. There is Crabtree Falls Trail which has good campsites that continues beyond the waterfalls that goes for about 1.5 miles farther to reach Crabtree Meadows if you want to go farther.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Good hiking shoes/boots
  • Hammock
  • Tent (if camping)
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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This is such an amazing hike and one of the first hikes I did after moving to Virginia. This waterfall is beautiful year around but there is something special about this waterfall during fall. This is a popular trail so expect to see people even during the middle of the week.

5 months ago
5 months ago

This is such a fun hike and beautiful during the fall but oh my gosh there are SO many people. Also, be really careful not to go out on the rocks because multiple people (over 30) have died from slipping and falling to their deaths. Otherwise, beautiful waterfalls for miles and I recommend this hike! Try to go during the week if at all possible :)

7 months ago
7 months ago

My husband and I did this hike right after a snow and it was still just as beautiful! The trail was a little more slippery as you can probably tell, but it was a great hike and parts of the falls were frozen so you really got some great water movement and photos.

8 months ago
8 months ago

Came in mid September, didn't rain much before so there wasn't a lot on water to see in the falls, but it was still as great hike! Elevation was gradual and the view at the top was amazing! Will definitely come back after it rains in the Fall!

11 months ago
11 months ago

Came during a dry time and unfortunately the waterfall wasn't much to look at. Would love to come back in the Fall after some rain fall!

11 months ago
11 months ago

I was really surprised at how close the parking lot is to the lowest section of the falls. Ideal if you want to quickly stop and take a few snaps but it's definitely worth hiking to the upper waterfall!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Great views the entire way up of the falls. Did it in about 2.5 hours which included lots of photo stops. Not technical or difficult. Good day trip!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Just completed this hike this morning with my wife, 10 year old son and dog. Thankfully we got out mid-morning and finished about lunch time. By the time we left the parking lot was packed and the trail was bumper to bumper. The falls were well worth the sometimes steep trek. Lots of picture opportunities.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

One of my favorite hikes around. The falls are beautiful but if it hasn't rained there isn't much to see. We went and a huge storm it. They falls were amazing but it is incredibly slippery so you need to be careful.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is one of my favorite hikes and definitely a must if you are in Central Virginia. Along the trail you come to several different yet equally magnificent views of the falls. Seriously beautiful.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Lucas Moore

Just a young follower of Jesus looking to explore and capture some sweet photos

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