Wednesday, 18 December 2019 19:48

Graveyard Fields

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"Graveyard Fields" is the name of a high, flat mountain valley adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Mount Pisgah. With its open views, cool summer temperatures, cascading waterfalls, and a great variety of hiking trails, Graveyard Fields is one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in all of Western North Carolina.

It's at the junction of two high ridges where the Yellowstone Prong of the Pigeon River has its headwaters. Capped by mountains exceeding 6000 ft in elevation, the base of the valley is itself over 5000 ft, which accounts for some of its unique characteristics.

The area known as Graveyard Fields roughly includes the Yellowstone Prong valley above Yellowstone Falls, between the Blue Ridge Parkway to the south and the summit of Graveyard Ridge to the north, and west to the upper falls.

The unusually flat valley was once like an upside-down "bald", with fields of high-elevation grasses and shrubs surrounding the tributaries of the Yellowstone Prong. True bald mountaintops, such as Black Balsam Knob, surround the valley. But also like many balds, the valley is slowly growing over with shrubs and trees, replacing the open areas.

The Yellowstone Prong gathers in these high surrounding mountains, tumbles over Upper Falls into the western end of the valley, and spills out the eastern end over Second Falls (before flowing on to Skinny Dip Falls and the Shining Rock Wilderness area).

source: HikeWNC.info

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