The easy Flat Rock loop natural trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway is very scenic with panoramic views from a “stone mountain” as you walk across the smooth rock summit. Along the 3/4 of a mile trail, find info signs with fascinating facts about the forest. Discover many spots for a picnic and scenery gazing on the rocks. It’s located at Milepost 308.3, along our Blue Ridge Parkway Scenic Loop Drive.
The overlook area has a large parking area, so it stands out from other overlooks. Look for a small sign at the start of the trail (3,987 feet elevation). It’s easy to follow as you walk uphill gradually to about 4,100 feet elevation. After a short distance, see a trail to the right. That’s how you will return, so continue straight ahead. The forest is lush with wildflowers, fascinating rock outcroppings and big trees.
As you reach the top, the trail transitions from dirt to smooth stone with features such as the “bathtub” pools. Immediately begin seeing the panoramic Blue Ridge Mountain views. Continue to a larger area with even better views including Grandfather Mountain and the Roan Highlands.
Safely step down to find a great spot to sit and take in the views, but be careful not to fall down the slope. After several areas of views along the summit, watch for the trail to head downhill to your right.
As you descend, look through the forest for many fascinating outcroppings and designs by nature.
Approximately 3 miles north is a similar trail atop Beacon Heights. Head south 8 miles to Linville Falls.
Directions from Sugar Mountain: Take the full Blue Ridge Parkway Scenic Loop Drive or drive directly to Flat Rock (about 8.5 miles) by turning right out of Sugar Mountain’s main entrance. At the stoplight, turn right onto NC 105. At the next stoplight, continue straight past Eseeola Lodge. At the stop sign, turn left onto Roseboro Road. Drive about 1.5 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway and turn right. Flat Rock overlook will be ahead on the right.