Crabtree Falls to Priest Shelter is a 8.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Tyro, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 8.3 miles Elevation Gain: 2,391 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

Park at the Crabtree falls parking lot. Hike to the top of the trail via the only route. Continue past the falls to the top parking lot. Turn left onto Meadows Lane until reaching the Appalachian Trail. Turn left onto the trail and continue until the trail splits. Stay left to continue on to the summit. The true summit is actually covered by trees, but the rock outcropping on the left is the main attraction with 180 degree views of the valley and adjacent mountains.

hiking
muddy
rocky
5 months ago

Slippery: the whole Crabtree Falls trail was covered in leaves, making the rocks even more slippery or hidden under the dry leaves. Amazed to see kids walking this! Views: hiked this on Thanksgiving so the bare trees gave way to some great views of the mountains on the way up to the Priest Shelter. To see the "summit," turn left at the sign for the Shelter. It's only about a 3 min walk to a group of boulders on your left. Not sure how good that view would be in other seasons with more tree coverage.

My father and I had quite an adventure going up these trails. Amazing experience and view. There are several well placed viewing areas for some great pictures. The parts near the waterfalls were a bit scary since it's filled with rocks and wet. I believed there was an opening toward the peak, near priest shelter, but we could not find it before we turned around. I would definitely recommend to anyone, maybe just the portion where you can see the falls. I do want to do this again one day, maybe multiple days along the Appalachian trail.

hiking
8 months ago

the first 1.7 miles are very steep and technical. After that it's a gentle incline along a creek. I bailed short of the summit due to an injury but plan to do this again soon. Take your time on the way up to prevent turned ankles and sprained ligaments.

hiking
8 months ago

This trail was great! Definitely harder on the front end if you park in the Crabtree falls lot at the bottom and hike up. Very dog friendly with lots of water along the Crabtree falls portion. I would absolutely recommend going to the overlook in lieu of the shelter at the top of priest. To do so, take a left to follow the AT instead of continuing straight (it was a little confusing at first). It’s not that much farther (maybe 0.2 with some manageable elevation) but well worth it.

Great trail with senic waterfalls .. quite narrow, found really difficult to manage the dog along. So I would not recommend dog walking on this trial. It's quite heavily trafficed so another reason to keep the dog away.. They wouldn't enjoy as much as we would! Beautiful party of the country and oh yes please remember to pay 3$ towards parking.. you need to use the red envelope that's at the entrance of the parking as well as the entrance of the trail.

hiking
over grown
9 months ago

backpacking
10 months ago

Yes, the first 1.7 miles is very steep, stairs, lots of stair, but is very beautiful with endless little waterfalls. Then at the top of the priest the trail splits to go either to the shelter (there's an outhouse and creek there too) or to the views. Go to the views! You will get to a grassy spot (an excellent camping spot btw) with large rocks, climb the large rocks and you have fantastic views that are well worth the hike.

hiking
muddy
rocky
11 months ago

Surprisingly technical for such a heavily trafficked trail. I’m a pretty experienced hiker, wear a fantastic pair of Lowa Renegades, and used a walking stick, and still found this trail to be technically challenging. Tons of tourist/non-hikers with kids were ill-prepared, and bailed out a mile or so into it. We hiked over 8 miles without quite getting to this “peak” described in the narrative. So I think you should treat this as a 10 miler at least. You should be prepared for this one with good high top trail shoes, and walking stick or sticks. It is a beautiful trail with tons of waterfall overlooks and views.

backpacking
rocky
Sun May 19 2019

The initial approach is extremely steep. once you get to the A. T. the incline is more manageable. once you are in the main trail to priest; the views are beautiful. once you get to the shelter you can relax and enjoy the sounds of a spring and refill your water bottles.

hiking
Sun May 05 2019

Fairly easy hike with great views of the waterfall all the way up

hiking
Sun Mar 24 2019

this was a lot longer Trail than all trails indicated, at least 9.5 mi. great hike!

hiking
muddy
Sat Feb 23 2019

Completed this stretch in reverse as part of a 3-day/2-night backpacking trip from the north end of Three Ridges down through the Harper's Creek Shelter and up the north side of the Priest, finishing by taking the trail down from the summit of the Priest and out Crabtree Falls. Would have probably given it 5 stars, but the parking situation at Crabtree Falls is absolutely ridiculous. We made it to the parking lot at 10am on a Friday and all the parking was completely full. It was a fun hike (a little icy towards the end coming down past the falls) and definitely very beautiful, but I'd recommend getting an alpine start if you actually want to park at the base of the falls. If you have two cars and a long weekend, I would absolutely recommend linking it up with the AT for a shuttle hike from the Blue Ridge Parkway through Three Ridges, The Priest, and finishing at Crabtree. It's about 20 miles and two 4,000' summits

Mon Oct 15 2018

There is nothing super hard about this trail. It’s long but not hard. The Crabtree falls part is especially easy and people were doing it with young kids. If it’s a foggy day you might not be able to easily see the priest shelter- the AT connects to another trail called priest’s wilderness so if you wanted to go longer than 8 miles as stated here you could. Plenty of places to camp along the AT as well.

hiking
Sat Jul 14 2018

Great hike! Lots of fun.

Tue Jun 26 2018

Fun waterfall trail, heavily trafficked (in June) at the falls but less so towards the AT. The pup loved it too!

Sun May 20 2018

we loved this but our dog was way more excited to get to the top and splash around

hiking
Sun Apr 15 2018

This hike is one of my favorites in the area, but think maybe it should be marked as hard. Great views at the end but also cool waterfalls on the way up. Trail is a bit confusing after the waterfalls and before the AT. Follow the signs to the trail head for a quarter mile up the hill. Great breweries on the way back to C’ville as a reward

Fri Mar 09 2018

We hiked this on one of the windiest days of the year with 4 very small children & it kicked our butts! The view was worth it, and we’d definitely do it again, but this was a huge challenge for us! We parked in the Priest Wilderness parking lot on 56 & hiked in from there to the overlook. Did about 7 miles total, as we skipped going to the shelter.

backpacking
Sun Apr 23 2017

Had lunch at the Priest Overlook-gorgeous views! Had the place to myself

backpacking
Sat Apr 08 2017

This was my very first overnight backpacking trip and it is still one of my favorite spots in Virginia. I highly recommend parking at the crabtree meadows parking lot if you have a vehicle with 4 wheel drive. there is a little stream behind the shelter perfect for refilling your water supply. if you get the chance to snag one of the few camping spots at the overlook consider yourself lucky and wake up in time to catch the sunrise. you won't regret it!

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

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