Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Flat Rock Trail
At mile 308 on the Blue Ridge Parkway is the wonderful Flat Rock Overlook. This is one of those pull-offs along the Parkway that is deceiving. Driving by, all you will see is a large parking lot. But take a 1/2 mile stroll from the parking area, and you will arrive at the spectacular view you see above looking out on the Linville Valley toward the Roan and Hump Mountains. The photo to the right (click to enlarge) shows a portion of Flat Rock itself looking out to Grandfather Mountain. This overlook reminds me of the Beacon Heights Overlook (located three miles north at Mile 305) with its great views and the interesting rock formations. The hike is also similar in length to the one at Beacon Heights, but I'd say this is the easier of the two. Soon after you begin you come to a fork in the trail, stay left and the trail will loop around to the top of Flat Rock (you'll find little yellow arrows on the rock to guide you) and then return clockwise to the fork. It's nice to find along the way many little signing pointing out interesting facts about the area and its foliage. The path can be a little overgrown in the summer, but still a fairly easy and quick walk in the woods.