Blue Ridge Parkway | CRABTREE FALLS PICNIC AREA (MP 339.7)

Picnicking at the Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Picnicking at the Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Crabtree Falls Picnic Area is located just south of the Crabtree Falls Campground. This is a large, three section picnic area with a restroom and dozens of tables, most of which have their own grill. Parking at all sections is done in a common lot, and food and other supplies must be carried to tables that range in distance from curbside to 100 yards away. While there is no site specifically marked as “Handicap,” there are handicap parking spaces near two roadside tables.

The Crabtree Falls Picnic Area is typically open from early May through the end of October. However, the exact dates change each year, so be sure to get the current schedule on the National Park Service’s Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the Blue Ridge Parkway. All tables are taken on a first come, first served basis.

There is no area for group picnicking, making Crabtree Falls Picnic Area best suited for individuals, a handful of friends, and families. Tables are anchored into the ground, so there is no way to push multiple tables together. However, some tables are clustered in open fields, but that’s about as good as group picnicking will get.

The picnic area is divided into three unique sections. The first is an open field that you come to when entering the picnic area from the Blue Ridge Parkway. A dozen tables and grills are located in the shade supplied by the forest that borders the field, though the tables are not in the forest. Some are placed near a cliff and once had nice views of the surrounding mountains, but trees now obscure most of the views. Even so, these are the prime tables at the Crabtree Falls Picnic Area, and if you can get one, there is no need to drive farther. A restroom is located between this and a second, heavily wooded section of the picnic area.

Tables line an open field at the first section of Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Tables line an open field at the first section of Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Picnic tables with some view of the surrounding mountains at the Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Picnic tables with some view of the surrounding mountains at the Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The middle section is located completely in the woods. In fact, you can’t even see the tables from the parking area, and getting to them is like going on a hike—literally. A system of trails traverse a forested hill that is boxed in by the road and parking area on one side and a cliff overlooking the mountains on the other. Picnickers must walk along the trails until they find a suitable spot among the many tables scattered throughout the area. In most cases, tables are not within eyesight of each other, allowing for a more secluded picnicking experience. Two separate parking areas serve this section, and paths lead up the hill and into the woods from both.

The trail into the middle section of the Blue Ridge Parkway's Crabtree Falls Picnic Area begins at stairs at the parking area

The trail into the middle section of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Crabtree Falls Picnic Area begins at stairs at the parking area

Picnic tables along a trail in the wooded section of Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Picnic tables along a trail in the wooded section of Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Picnic table overlooks the mountains in the wooded section of Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Picnic table overlooks the mountains in the wooded section of Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The picnic area road ends in a loop, and it is within and around this loop that the third section is located. Unlike the completely open field of the first section, tables situated inside this loop are still on open terrain but have plenty of shade provided by the tall trees. There are a few tables outside of the loop, and these tend to offer more privacy and denser shading than those on the inside of the loop. While there are grills, there is not one grill per table. Instead, grills are spread randomly throughout the area.

Picnic tables located in the inner loop of the road at Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Picnic tables located in the inner loop of the road at the far end of the Crabtree Falls Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway


Next Stop South | Next Stop North | Crabtree Falls Recreation Area | Picnic Areas

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Last updated on November 11, 2023
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