Graveyard Fields resides at mile 418.8 of the Blue Ridge Parkway (between US276 and NC215). The primary parking area is used to access all of the waterfalls at Graveyard Fields except Skinny Dip Falls, which is accessed from the Looking Glass Rock overlook parking area at mile 417. The area took its name from the rows tree stumps left behind after the area was logged in the early 1900s. The rows of stumps looked like gravestones and so it became known as Graveyard Fields. No trace of those stumps remains today. A wildfire decimated the area in 1925, eradicating the stumps. Unlike many areas that were heavily logged, the forest never took hold again.
This area has some of the best hiking around and is heavily visited almost year round. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) and the Art Loeb Trail (ALT) both pass through the area. During peak times you will be best served arriving early. The parking area was expanded in 2013 but it still fills up quickly. I’ve had to park on the side of the BRP more times than I can count.
If you would like a different view of Graveyard Fields, Black Balsam Rd intersects the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile 420 and offers numerous scenic hikes, including Black Balsam Knob. The hike to the top of the knob provides a view of Graveyard Fields from well above the parking area at 418.8. The MST, ALT, Ivestor Gap Trail and Graveyard Ridge Trails all intersect in the area and can be accessed from Black Balsam Rd. (FR816) Between Black Balsam Rd and NC215 is Devil’s Courthouse, so the possibilities for hiking and exploring in this area are endless.
If travelling to the area in the winter months, check ahead for road closures. In the winter months, frequent closures occur.
Mile 411.8 – US276 Access to Blue Ridge Parkway
Mile 417 – Looking Glass Rock Overlook
Mile 418.3 – East Fork Overlook
Mile 418.8 – Graveyard Fields
Mile 420 – Black Balsam Road (FR816)
Mile 422.4 – Devil’s Courthouse
Mile 423.2 – NC215 Access to Blue Ridge Parkway