An easy loop hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway that provides stunning views of the surrounding area.
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 4 miles south of the Linn Cove Viaduct, is the short self-guiding Flat Rock loop trail that provides easy access to the rocky summit of Flat Rock where you have spectacular views of the Grandfather Mountain and the Linville Valley. This beautiful walk through the forest is only about 7/10th’s of a mile and has numerous informative signs along the trail.
The Flat Rock Loop Trailhead is located at the Flat Rock Overlook which is located at about milepost 308.2 along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is about 4 miles south of the Linn Cove Viaduct or about 8 miles north of Linville Falls. It is has a large parking area on the North side of the parkway and is very easy to spot. There is a picnic table and trash receptacles but there are no restroom facilities at the overlook. The overlook is close to the area mountain towns and about 90 minutes from Asheville North Carolina.
The trail starts in the middle of the parking area on the wide and obvious trail between the two signs that lead into the woods. The trail is very well maintained and the forest is very beautiful. There is only a slight elevation gain making the trail very easy and accessible to most people. Shortly after starting, the return part of the loop comes in from the right but continue straight on the loop trail. As you walk up the trail, take time to read the informative plaques that are sporadically placed at points along the trail. Shortly before reaching the rocky top of Flat Rock, there is a bench present if you need take a rest before continuing to the top. Not long after the bench, the forest opens up as you reach the expansive summit of Flat Rock with numerous vistas available to enjoy the priceless views. This is a very spacious area that is perfect for a picnic. Follow the yellow arrows that lead you around to the right but take your time and enjoy the beautiful views from atop Flat Rock. There are many places to stop along the top with different views so take your time. There are many wild blueberry plants along the top of Flat Rock Loop Trail, so if in season, bring a small bucket to carry some of these berries home to enjoy later.
When you have finished enjoying the views at the summit, continue on the trail back into the woods. It is only a short distance until you complete the loop where you will turn left to return to the parking area.