Crabtree Falls – The Highest Cascade East of the Mississippi

Waterfall and nature enthusiasts alike will not want to miss the chance to see the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. Crabtree Falls encompass a total of 1200 feet of falls. They are located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and are in the George Washington National Forest.


The trail that loops around the area is 2.2 miles. The very first cascade has a paved trail that takes you to the lower falls. The first overlook is only a couple hundred feet from the start of the trail and is easily maneuvered my most everyone, including novice hikers. It is also handicapped accessible. The trail that takes you to the higher set of falls is dirt, but still a beautiful and worthwhile trip.


Allowing just over 2 hours will give you adequate time to not only make the journey, but also to enjoy the scenic overlooks and the majestic falls. Once you set out from the parkway, a half mile walk will take you to a cave area that children of all ages will love to explore. From there, the trail continues and leads you right to the top of the falls. You will cross a wooden bridge over the top of the waterfalls to get to the overlook. This opens to a spectacular view of the valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Once you get to the end of the trail, you can go back the way you came to complete a 2.2 miles walk or set out further to Crabtree Stream. The stream is a flatter and easier trail to maneuver. This trail splits after 70 yards. If you veer to the right side of the fork, you are 1.1 miles from the upper parking area.


Crabtree Falls is an experience that no one visiting the Charlottesville area should miss out on. However, there are precautions to make note of. The rocks and stone walls are very slippery and dangerous, as they are naturally covered in algae. To date, 23 people have lost their lives from attempting to climb near or wade in the waterfall, and falling off the rocks. You should also wear appropriate shoes since you will be near water. Packing a snack and carrying water is also recommended. Be mindful of the payphone you see at the beginning as there is no cell phone service in this area.


And while there, don’t miss out on the 110 ft. arched footbridge over the Tye River. This bridge is a marvel to see as it was transported and placed across the river in one piece.


With a little preparation and some time, Crabtree Falls is sure to please any nature and waterfall lover.


Crabtree Falls is a twenty to thirty minute drive from the Virginia cabin rentals known as Cabin Creekwood.  For more information about these Virginia rental cabins, browse through the rest of this website.