Crabtree Falls Trail

Crabtree Falls Observation Site has a $3 day use fee, but it is well worth it for the longest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi. This area is very crowded on weekends during nice weather and holidays. Consider visiting on a weekday for a more serene experience.



From the parking lot the trail begins as a paved path, which leads to the first overlook of the falls. It's an opportunity for guests of all abilities to see a portion of the falls. At this point, the native surface trail ascends with stairs, guardrails, and handrails.

At approximately 1.7 miles, the trail comes to a wooden bridge at the top of the uppermost cascade, offering spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Rockfish Valley. Thirty hikers have died trying to get a better look at the falls. DO NOT climb over the wall; invisible algae on the rocks make them slippery and dangerous.

Driving Directions

From the Lexington Visitor Center, drive west on Washington Street to a right onto Main Street (US-11 Business). Continue driving north on US-11 for approximately 16 miles and take a right onto Tye River Turnpike (Route 56).

The route will cross railroad tracks and climb to pass under the Blue Ridge Parkway. Continue past the Parkway, the parking lot for Crabtree Falls will be on the right in 6.5 miles.


  • The various accidents on this trail have occurred because hikers were not careful to stay on the path and follow all instructions. To remain safe, please be mindful of the posted notices and keep on the trail.
  • This series of five cascades are a perfect place to take anyone that wants a scenic view without all the strain. There are several observation platforms along the trail.

Insider's Tips

  • Stop by Gertie's Country Store and enjoy good food and country comfort.
  • Camping is prohibited in and around the parking lot and withing 500 feet of either side of the trail.
  • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the Crabtree Falls area.