Hike Details

Related Info

Trail Map

Printed Trail Map

Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wildernesses by USDA Forest Service

Hike Stats

Opt 1 = 4.0 m, 640 ft   M 

Opt 2 = 7.1 m, 1604 ft   M 

5270 ft max elevation

Seasonal Accessibility

This area is closed when the BRP closes late fall through early spring.

Trailhead Coordinates

N35 19 12.18 W82 50 50.58 (DMS)
N35 19.203 W82 50.843 (DM)

Google Maps and other cell phone and car navigation systems generally accept destinations in the above lat/long formats

Download GPX File

View – Graveyard Fields is a very popular area that features three waterfalls reachable by hiking trails – the Upper Falls, Second Falls (Lower Falls) and Skinny Dip Falls. This area also features abundant blueberries and spectacular fall foliage. If possible, try to plan your hike for either, or both, of the blueberry or fall foliage seasons.

Hike Profile – the basic hike is a loop hike that gently ascends to the Upper Falls on a rocky and sandy trail that follows the Yellowstone Prong River.  After viewing the falls, the hike backtracks and ascends to Graveyard Ridge via the Graveyard Ridge Connector trail. The hike goes along the ridge on the Graveyard Ridge trail until it intersects the Mountains-to-Sea trail. From there, it gradually descends to the intersection with the trail that leads to the viewing platform at the Second Falls. At this point, you can proceed to the Second Falls or the hike can be extended by continuing on the Mountains-to-Sea trail and descending on that trail to Skinny Dip Falls (which can also be reached by a short trail from the Looking Glass Overlook at milepost 417 on the BRP).

Trail Surface – the trails to the Upper and Second Falls are very well-used and have very eroded dirt and rock surfaces. The trail to the Upper Falls becomes rough and rocky as it approaches the falls. All trails can have wet and muddy sections. The side trail to the Second Falls terminates in a long flight of stairs that descends to a wooden viewing platform. The climb back up can be strenuous and is not suitable for many people.

The MST trail to Skinny Dip falls varies from smooth and grassy to uneven with mud and roots.

Environment – the first part of the hike goes through open fields with low shrubs and trees. From the Graveyard Ridge, the trail goes through a beech forest. There are also sizable areas of rhododendron on the MST trail to Skinny Dip Falls.

Navigation – there are numerous crossing trails in the Graveyard Fields area and some of them are marked with signboards, but to be honest, it can be a little confusing. The major trails shown on the printed maps are well marked, however. I would recommend that you study the map posted at the trailhead to get oriented.

There are two trailheads at the parking area. The trailhead at the west end (not the restroom end) goes to the Upper Falls. Start the loop here. As you approach the Upper Falls there is a subtle fork in the trail with the left fork going to bottom part of the falls and the right fork going to the top part of the falls.  It’s easy to miss the fork because the trail is on rock at that point but no worries, you will arrive at either the bottom or top part very shortly after the fork.  Look at the photo gallery so that you can identify each part.

After viewing both the bottom and top parts of the Upper Falls, return on the same trail but branch left at the intersection of the trail from the trailhead and continue to the junction of the Graveyard Ridge Connector trail and proceed to the Graveyard Ridge trail and then on to the Mountains-to-Sea trail.

Directions to Trailhead – the trailhead is located at the Graveyard Fields Overlook at BRP milepost 419. Just look for the large crowd and parked cars!

Photo Gallery