Waterfalls in Virginia: Crabtree Falls


Are you looking for a great hike that features a beautiful waterfall and gorgeous overlook? If so, then you can go wrong with any of the many waterfalls in Virginia. Crabtree Falls is one of the great options for waterfalls.

It is a great visit for your 2022 hiking bucket list.

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Crabtree Falls

Crabtree falls is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the George Washington National Forest. The trail zigzags up the On the trailmountain and is approximately 3.4 miles round trip to the top of the Upper Falls. Many people continue to the Upper Falls but there is an overlook of the falls at the base of the Upper Falls and is 3.2 miles round trip. The trail is rated easy to moderate but for someone like me who is just starting out as a hiker, this trail was strenuous. It was worth it, but definitely needed to take plenty of breaks.

Just a note, there is a $3 fee in cash. There is a box with envelopes at the foot of the parking lot before you drive in. Fill out the envelope and place it in the box. At the beginning of the trail head, there is a non flush porto-potty. There is no running water to wash hands.


The Trail

The trail is packed dirt, which could be muddy and slippery when wet. Be careful of exposed roots and tripping hazards. There are stairs on the trail that make some areas easy to traverse. Keep in mind that this trail is all up hill before you turn around at the top.

There are not any streams to cross but when we went there was a tree that had fallen. To get to the top of the upper falls, Crabtree Falls Overlookyou will need to climb over or figure out how to squeeze under. We went in August so I am not sure if the tree is still over the path.

At the top of the Upper Falls, there is a bridge with running water underneath. On the other side of it, are a bed of rocks. I do not know if the rocks were exposed because the waterfall was light. Either way, please be mindful that the rocks are very slippery. I heavily caution against letting your kids (or yourself) play on the rocks. We watched a few kids playing here and one wrong step or slip and the child would have easily fallen off the edge. Thankfully the children’s father quickly realized the danger.

Our Visit

Our visit was a beautiful fall day. I recommend heading out earlier in the day when it is cooler out. Pack some snacks and Crab Tree Fallswater. I suggest hiking to the very top of the trail. At the top of the Upper Falls is a nice area that you can sit and enjoy the view and have a snack. Remember, leave no trace, and bring all your trash back out with you. The view is gorgeous.

On our trip, the waterfall did not have as much of a cascade due to no rain for a while. This may be something you want to consider when planning your trip.

If you have hiking sticks, bring them. The hike back down can be a little tougher on the knees and the hiking sticks are very helpful.

What is that?

During this hike, there were a couple areas that were very interesting to us. There were two different areas that had rocks stacked up on top of each. Not just a few, it was quite a bit. We weren’t’ sure what it meant and originally thought they were trail markers or maybe a landmark that had a story behind it.

Mountain of Rocks

When we say the second set of rock piles, we asked another group of hikers what it meant. According to them, you take a rock and place it on top of one of the other rocks and make a wish. Once you do that, the person who placed the rock that is directly under yours will have their wish come true.

Not sure if that is the true purpose but we definitely gave it a shot anyway and placed our own rocks on the pile.

Trail Tips

As I mentioned earlier, bring your hiking poles. Also, wear good shoes. You will want a shoe that is supportive and has good tread. Good hiking shoes will definitely be a benefit.

Also bring bug spray and sunscreen. Chap stick is also a good item to have on hand. I did not have any chap stick and halfway up the mountain, my lips were not happy. We can blame me being out shape and huffing and puffing my way up the mountain. Chapped lips was not something I anticipated.

Bring plenty of water. Take sips as you hike up the mountain and rest when you need to. Enjoy the hike and take your time.



Crabtree falls is a great hike if you are looking for something a little more challenging. The overlook and waterfalls are beautiful and worth the trip. Pack some snacks and plenty of water and reward yourself when you get to the top of the trail.

The trail does get busier starting in the spring so be prepared to share the trail. Also, I did see several dogs on the trail. Make sure to bring your buddy water as snacks as well. This trail may be tougher on little dogs. Please consider how easy/difficult the trail will be on your pup.

If you have visited this trail, I’d love to hear from you. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Hiking,

Michelle Louise

e. michellelouise@hikingnewbies.com

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