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Crabtree Falls Day Trips

Travelers have been trading in their long vacations for shorter day trips during these unprecedented times. Those who are looking for the perfect daytrip should travel peaceful Nelson County roads to Crabtree Falls. This picturesque and historic location is seriously beautiful any time of the year.

Crabtree Falls is located in the Montebello area and is dubbed the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. The Falls are actually comprised of five major cascades, with the first overlook is just 700 feet from the upper parking lot along a gentle, paved trail. The Crabtree Falls hike is unique hike – as you wind around the mountain, you will be hiking next to the falls for the entire way up. For amateur photographers, there are plenty of scenic views at which to stop and take pictures. Hikers of all ages and abilities can enjoy views of the falls. There is a small parking fee per vehicle. If you’re enjoying a day trip with your dog, just make sure they are well-behaved and on a leash. Always stay on the trail.

The Falls are open from year-round from dawn to dusk. It takes around for 3 hours for a round-trip hike. If you’re thinking of staying a night, there are nearby cabins, glamping and camping options.

See Ideas for Each Season
Spring Ideas

Spring in Nelson County is all misty skies and bright flower buds. Some regular visitors maintain that the season of spring is the best time to visit Crabtree Falls. The leaves have not yet returned, so the sound of the falls fills the forest. The springtime, the water is more forceful, adding to the sounds of the rushing water. Visitors to Crabtree Falls have reported seeing deer in the woods. The Dogwood blossoms are bright pink and stand out against the pale blue springtime sky. Hikers should step carefully to avoid native salamander species who enjoy the damp spring trail.

After a day at Crabtree Falls, enjoy a jaunt over to Seamans’ Orchard dor pick-your-own strawberries.  Enjoy the gorgeous view of the valley on your way home with fresh strawberries. If you are traveling west of the Falls, you’ll enjoy visiting the Montebello Fish Hatchery. The hatchery produces 150,000 Rainbow, Brook, and Brown trout annually. Kids and kids-at-heart can toss handfuls of food into the pens and watch as the fish chow down.

Before you head home, check out The Nelson Scenic Loop, a 50-mile road circuit that begins at Spruce Creek Park and the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center. Another gorgeous springtime drive is along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which provides travelers with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Drive the winding roadway as long as you’d like, and make sure to turn up the radio when your favorite songs come on.

Summer Ideas

Summertime in Nelson County is gorgeous. A ride along any of Nelson’s rural, peaceful roads features bright blue skies and deep forest greenery. Summer hikes along Nelson’s Crabtree Falls are a refreshing respite from the summer heat. Wildflowers and ferns grow in abundance in the mixed oak-hickory forest, and there are thickets of rhododendron as well. The songs of forest birds such as the black-throated blue warbler and the slate-colored Junco add to the ambiance.

After your trip to the top of Crabtree Falls, you may want to stop by 12 Ridges Vineyards. 12 Ridges crafts high-quality, cool-climate sparkling wine and also offers panoramic views on 7,500 square feet of outdoor patio. You’ll enjoy views that bring the word “majestic” to mind. Another craft beverage producer, Bold Rock Hard Cider, offers river views, music, activities, and even special events for the family dog!

Can’t tear yourself away from Nelson? Don’t worry- it happens to visitors all of the time. Stay the night at a nearby cabin, glamping or camping spot.

Fall Ideas

Fall is one of the most popular seasons to visit Nelson County. The peaceful county’s Blue Ridge Mountains burn bright with brilliant color, and small business owners offer up their coziest amenities. Photographers love immortalizing the spectacular colors of Nelson County in the fall. After the fall rains begin, the cascading waters of Crabtree Falls intensify, and the sound of the water reverberates along the wooded trail. One you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a dramatic view of fall leaves and a patchwork quilt of farmland below.

If you are looking for other gorgeous views this fall of need another hiking challenge, check out Spy Rock. It’s moderately difficult, yet usually takes less than an hour to reach the top. You’ll be amazed by the 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you are looking for something cozier as temperatures begin to fall, book a buggy ride at Appalachian Horse Adventures. The horses are big on personality, but still give an easy horse-drawn buggy ride along the mountain as you cozy up to your loved ones. You’ll enjoy this ride along beautiful forests, streams, and peaceful country roads.

During autumn there are also many festivals and local orchards for kids to enjoy. Silver Creek & Seamans’ Orchards offer pick-your-own-apples and pick-your-own pumpkins.

Winter Ideas

Winter in picturesque Nelson County is a beautiful place for a winter day trip. The Blue Ridge Mountains showcase a little winter magic- the rock walls along many of Nelson’s scenic drives are slicked with ice most of the season. Even though it’s cold, there are many reasons to get out and enjoy a hiking trail in Nelson County this winter. You’ll enjoy scenic vantage points without the usual crowds if you choose to hike Nelson year-round.

Enjoy a hike to the top of Crabtree Falls during the winter for uninterrupted views of the waterfalls. Without the leaves to dull the sound, you’ll hear the roar of the water more easily than in any other season. Even though many animals are hibernating, cardinals will stand out like flames against the browns and mossy greens of the forest. Before you take the hike, you might want to get prepared and stop at Mac’s Market, a convenience store serving take-out lunch fare. If you’re looking for some unique holiday shopping, stop at the Rockfish Indoor Community Market, which features local produce, jams, baked goods, hand-crafted jewelry, and local art. After one winter day trip to Nelson, your family is sure to make a visit to the county a brand-new holiday tradition.

For more information about day trips to Crabtree Falls, contact the Nelson County Visitors Center at 434-263-7015.