The trailhead is no longer at Crabtree Meadows Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The new trailhead is at the old restaurant and gift shot at the campground entrance. It’s located at Milepost 339.5, about 8.6 miles south of NC 226 in Little Switzerland and 4.6 miles north of NC 80 at Buck Gap. Turn at the sign for the campground and park anywhere along the circle around the old gift shop. Follow the signs to the start of the trail.
The easily followed trail leads past the old amphitheater to the campground. When you reach the paved campground road, cross the road to the parking lot behind the check-in station. This is the old trailhead. From the far end of the parking lot, the trail descends 800 feet to a T junction. It’s a loop hike, so it doesn’t matter which way you go. The quickest way to the falls is to the right.
Crabtree Falls is a popular stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway for good reason. It’s a picture-perfect waterfall, the stream falling over hundreds of tiny ledges over the course of its 70-foot drop. Although most people come to see the waterfall, visitors in spring are rewarded with excellent wildflower-viewing opportunities. Dozens of species of spring ephemerals grow along the trail, including at least four species of trillium.
Before the Blue Ridge Parkway was built, the meadows upstream from Crabtree Falls supported several crabapple orchards. Most of the meadows have since grown over, but several crabapple trees are still scattered about and put on a lovely show when they bloom in May.
The Celo topo map lists Crabtree Falls as Upper Falls, but I’ve never seen it called that in popular reference.