Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The waterfall above is creatively referred to as "Second Falls". It's located in the popular Graveyard Fields area off of the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 419. A short walk from the parking area (0.3 miles) will take you to a nice overlook of this 60 foot waterfall. Another waterfall, Yellowstone Falls is further downstream. A third waterfall, known as "Upper Falls," is upstream -- a 1.6 mile hike from the parking area. The Sherpa Guide lists the beautiful Graveyard Fields area as one of the most popular hiking areas in all of western North Carolina. In case you're wondering, there aren't graves at Graveyard Fields. The name originated with a tremendous windstorm centuries ago that toppled trees in the area, creating mounds of dirt that looked like graves. These mounds were destroyed in a "catastrophic" forest fire in 1925.
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I don't find any comments on the adjoining Black Balsam Bald which is directly above the Upper Falls, nor Shining Rock Wilderness, just a few miles from Graveyard.ReplyDelete
To reach both, drive past Graveyard on the parkway to the first Right, the first "parking pull off" is on part of the Art Leod Trail, and if you take it to the right, a short hike will lead you to views and Balds very similar to Roan. Follow the Art Leod out to the next ridge for more spectacular views, this one from craggy out-croppings. ~ 4 miles from Black Balsam, you will come into the clearing below the Shining Rocks - a beautiful quartz outcropping. Art Leod goes to the left, below Shining Rock all the way to Cold Mtn, where it ends. But, a well traveled but unmarked side path leads up to the top of Shining Rock
The other way to get to Shining Rock is to continue on the aforementioned paved road and park in a large parking lot, then follow the dirt/rock road (which is navigable only by serious Off Road Vehicles, and only at certain times of the year) for ~ 2 miles, until you arrive in a Gap at the border of the Wilderness, then take the trail into Shining Rock another 2 miles. This option is level, whereas the Art Leod Trail summits 4 mtns. Both are worth doing, and the entire trip can be done in one day, Go in via the Art Leod, come out via the road.
BTW - Thanks so much for your blog! I'm truly enjoying it!