“Graveyard Fields” is one of my favorite destinations. This unusually flat 5000 foot high valley is adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway and next to and below Black Balsam. It has plenty of open views, at least two waterfalls, and wide variety of hiking trails. The Mountain to Sea trail runs through this valley. This is one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in all of Western North Carolina.
It was once an upside-down mountain bald. Over the years, the landscape has changed dramatically. True mountain balds surrounded Graveyard Fields. But, like many summit balds, the valley is slowly growing over with shrubs and trees, replacing the once-open areas with young forest.
Views from the valley’s Yellowstone Prong takes in the surrounding peaks. It tumbles over the Lower Falls at the western end and travels on to family favorite Skinny Dip Falls and the Big East Fork river in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area.
There are two falls in Graveyard Fields. The Upper Falls is not as spectacular as the Lower Falls. So if you only have time to see one set of falls, cross the foot bridge and hang a right to see it first. But if you have half a day, go to your left and follow the pathway for almost two miles to Upper Falls. Along the way you’ll also catch views of Black Balsam Bald!
The day we were there, the trillium were in bloom. Just beautiful!
Wessy literally begged to go in the water, and I gave in and let her stand in the water of Yellow Prong. And yes, she found a stick!
Wooden walk ways make a good portion of this hike easy and worth every step.
The end to the really nice day included the Rhododendron, which are almost in full bloom.