Located in Canton, North Carolina Graveyard Fields is one of the stranger hikes I have personally completed here. This valley has been the location of two natural disasters and intensive logging. In the early 1900’s it was the location of a logging enterprise, but then windstorms raged through, knocking down the trees and leaving exposed the stumps of harvested trees. This is how the valley got it’s name, “Graveyard Fields.” The exposed stumps looked like tombstones. Years later wildfires came through the valley, with fires reaching such extreme heat that it damaged the soil. The plants and trees growing in the valley now are only those of the hardiest varieties, able to grow in hospitable ground. It has a wild, almost eerie look.
When hiking the area today what we find is a valley filled with a tangle of trees and brambles, popping up on occasion against a river with two falls, the upper and lower. Though relatively small, the falls are beautiful and the river a lovely sight to come across after spending your time trecking through dense undergrowth. Portion of the trail are smooth, some wet, and others require you to actually climb over and around boulders.
The paths themselves are not well marked, and it is easy to get turned around. Due to it’s consistent use, many small trails come off of the main headings, having been made by individuals wandering the area. In exploring one of these, I accidentally found a homeless encampment. I would therefore advise you to stay on the main trail. As the trails are located in a valley surrounded by high peaks, darkness comes early. This was something I did not keep in mind, and barely made it back to the car by flashlight. Parking is available in a provided lot (for free) and there are bathrooms.
This area is made up of multiple trails, so your visit can be as long or as short as you wish. A map by the bathroom will show you which trails are which length, providing of course that the signs are actually posted on your visit,since they weren’t on mine.
Overall impression is that this is an area I would visit again, though with a little more planning. I would go earlier in the day with a lunch, and I would not go alone. If you decide to tackle this area, don’t forget your camera. The river is definitely worth a few pictures.