Blue Ridge Parkway | FLAT TOP TRAIL PARKING AREA (MP 83.5)

Trailhead for the Flat Top Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Trailhead for the Flat Top Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

View: None
Trails: Flat Top Trail, Fallingwater Cascades Trail
Picnic Tables: None

The Flat Top Trail Parking Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway is the location for the northern end of the Flat Top Trail, which runs 4.4 miles from here to the Peaks of Otter Campground. Along the way it ascends to the top of Flat Top Mountain, one of three mountains in the area. The trail climbs 2,400 feet from the Parkway to the peak (elevation 4,004). A short spur trail, the Cross Rock Trail (.2 mile round trip), branches off the Flat Rock Trail on the hike up the mountain.

You can also access the Fallingwater Cascades Trail from here. A 200-foot connector trail is located on the other side of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Fallingwater Cascades Trail is a very popular loop hike, and it has its own parking area less than a half mile to the north. The problem with starting here is that the Flat Top Trail Parking Area is very small, perhaps big enough to hold six vehicles, maybe ten if you park in the median between the parking lot and the Blue Ridge Parkway. On a nice day it will be full by early morning. The Fallingwater Cascades Parking Area is a little bigger.

Connector trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Fallingwater Cascades Trail

Connector trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Fallingwater Cascades Trail

A combination of the two trails is referred to as the Fallingwater-Flat Top National Recreation Trail. I did not hike the combo due to not having a ride at the other end. A round trip hike, with two passes over Flat Top Mountain, would be 10.4 miles (Flat Top Trail x 2 + the Fallingwater Cascades 1.6-mile loop). While I would loved to have hiked the trail, spending all day to see the same things twice does not interest me. I did, however, hike the Fallingwater Cascades Trail.


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Last updated on November 14, 2023
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