Crabtree Meadows A.K.A. Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls
This view shows the entirety of Crabtree Falls.

CAMPGROUND NAME: Crabtree Meadows or Crabtree Falls, depending upon where you look. The NPS web page lists it as Crabtree Falls but the campground map available at the campground calls it Crabtree Meadows.
LOCATION: Along the Blue Ridge parkway in NC. Southwest of Little Switzerland, northeast of Asheville.
KIND: National Park
SEASONAL: Yes, about mid-May to mid-October
RATES: 2015, $16, half off of that with an interagency pass
STAY LIMIT: I have campground information provided to me at three of the NPS BRP campgrounds. They each refer to rules for all of the NPS campgrounds on the BRP and they each have different information! Government… gotta love it. That said, I spoke to a ranger who said that two of the fliers I picked up are outdated and that the current rule for all the NPS BRP campgrounds is 30 days per season in any one campground.
RESERVATIONS ACCEPTED: The NPS web site indicates that some sites are reservable through Reacreation.gov, but Recreation.gov does not seem to list the campground. I’ve pointed this out to the NPS in an email but as of this writing I have not heard back.
CAMPGROUND WEB SITE. All of the NPS campgrounds along the Blue Ridge Parkway are on this page.
CAMPGROUND MAP: See sidebar below
HOSTED: Yes, but not all the time. There were no hosts in the campground when I arrived on May 14.
PHONE: 828-298-0398
GPS: Turnoff from the Blue Ridge Parkway N 35.81219, W 082.14273

Crabtree Meadows Campground
Charlene, my RV, at home at Crabtree Meadows. You can see that the “pill-thru” is really a turnout. That’s the restroom on the right. The RV loop encircles an area with trees, the picnic tables and fire pits for each site as well as the centrally located restroom.

ACCESS: Roads to and within the campground are paved. Campsites 16 and 18 are handicap accessible
SITES: 22 in the RV loop, Loop A. Three of these have hookups and appear to be reserved for hosts. There are 71 tent sites in the other loops
SURFACING: Paved
PULL THRU: Yes, in the sense that the sites are turnouts along the roadside.
BACK-IN: There are a few very small back-ins big enough for a van or pickup truck
MAXIMUM RIG SIZE: I saw no specifications but site 21 could easily handle a 40′ rig plus towed vehicle. I was in #20 which should be able to handle a 30′ rig plus towed.
TENTS: Loops B & C are for tents.
LEVELNESS: Close, but no cigar.
SHADE: Yes, quite a bit
SPACING: I’m going to say close because most sites are turnouts along the road
TENT PADS: In the tent loops
FIRE GRILLS: Yes, ground level
PICNIC TABLES: Yes
PETS: On leash

Iris
I came across this beautiful little wild iris while hiking along the Crabtree Falls trail. It was about an inch and a half across.

HOOKUPS: No
DUMP STATION: Yes

CELLULAR:
My AT&T iPhone 5s showed No Service whereas my Verizon iPad air showd 1-2 bars and LTE with a data download speed of about 3 Mbps at times. At other times speed slowed to a crawl  and the connection barely usable.

TV
Over-the-air: I got a few channels
Cable: No
WiFi: No

Crabtree Falls Campground
This view looks across the grassy field in the center of the RV loop to the far side.

RESTROOMS: Yes
RESTROOM RATING: Fail. The men’s room in the RV loop was clean. There was hand soap but no hot water and nothing with which to dry your hands. The restroom badly needed repainting, but this campground had just reopened after being closed for several years. Maybe they will get to that soon.  (I assign a Pass or Fail rating based on many considerations including: cleanliness, usability, hot water availability, hand soap availability, ease or difficulty it is to use the toilet paper, condition of fixtures, if using the restroom is a pleasant or unpleasant experience, etc.)
SOAP: Hand soap
TOILETS: Flush
SHOWERS: No
TRASH: Yes
WATER: Yes
LAUNDRY: No
RECYCLING: No

Crabtree Falls
Crabtree Falls. I don’t know if that’s a crab tree!

BUGS: Not too much bug activity when I was there in mid-May

NEAREST FACILITIES:
Gas: That might be 11 miles drive to Burnsville
Dump: In the campground
Propane: AllStays indicates Suburban Propane in Marion at the Blue Ridge Parkway and NC-80
Groceries: I don’t know on this one… better come here with food!
RV Parks: Mountain Stream RV Park, Marion, North Carolina and Spruce Pine Campground, Spruce Pine, North Carolina. There are sever different kinds of options in all directions but they may take 30-60 minutes to get to.

Lady Slippers
Some Lady Slippers were in bloom by one of the trailheads to Crabtree Falls. There were 7 growing and blooming in one spot which I’m told is unusual.

Crabtree Meadows Campground A.K.A. Crabtree Falls Campground is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) in the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains chain. I’m not sure what the nearest town may be but it would be small–the BRP is a two lane road that runs through the mountains. The campground is off the parkway some distance and I noticed no road noise. It is in a forest of tall deciduous trees so it will be relatively shady after they have leafed out in spring. They were still working on this in mid-May when I was there.

There are no hookups except for the hosts but there is a dump station with potable water. The restroom in the RV Loop (Loop A) was without hot water or any way to dry your hands so I gave it a failing grade even though it was clean enough.

Blue Ridge Parkway View
Blue Ridge Parkway View

A couple of camping neighbors said they picked up a flier here at the campground that said it was closed. An NPS ground crew worker here said that it had been closed for four years but that it recently reopened. Between the NPS web site referring us to Recreation.gov for reservations, the latter having no listing for the campground, the Outdoor Guide saying what it says and what I actually found when I got here, all providing for different stories, it’s, well, confusing. Also note the the NPS map of the parkway as well as other literature gives Milepost numbers for the locations of the campgrounds and other things along the BRP. Don’t expect to see any mile markers along the roadside, however. I looked for them occasionally but never saw any. Go figure.

Blue Ridge Parkway View
In this view of the mountains from the Blue Ridge Parkway you can see why the mountains got their name: the atmospheric haze which is caused to some extent by the trees themselves–they release hydrocarbons. It’s gotten hazier in more recent times as the pollution caused by man has contributed to the haze.

A 2.5 mile loop hiking trail leads to Crabtree Falls from the campground. One end of the loop trail is found in tent Loop B and the other at the parking area near the kiosk at the entry to the campground. If you hike from the latter to the falls and back the total distance is 1.8 miles. A day use area is located at the intersection of the BRP and the campground road and a trailhead to Crabtree Falls can be found there as well. It’s about a 1.6 mile hike and I presume 3.2 miles round trip. Information I came across said the trail is strenuous. I hiked it and I got huffing and puffing a little but I wouldn’t call it a very strenuous trail myself. The hike was lovely, but again it was spring and the trees were mostly full of leaves.

Crabtree Falls Campground Map
Crabtree Falls Campground Map

I stayed at this campground as I drove the BRP from Asheville north to points yet unknown, perhaps all the way to Waynesboro VA where it connects with the 105 mile long Skyline Drive that continues north through the Shenandoah National Park. At $8 with my Senior Pass it was a good place to stay a couple nights and the hike to Crabtree Falls provided a good way to get some exercise and take some photos.


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4 thoughts on “Crabtree Meadows A.K.A. Crabtree Falls”

  1. Holy frijoles – was I confused. I was searching for info on the Virginia Crabtree Fall hike (close to the Blue Ridge but not on it)…this looks lovely too.

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