Excellent hike. After a nice intermission at Flat Rock I continued on the Tuscarora trail, then hooked a left on the Warner Loop Trail, a right on Cider Path (steeper than Flat Rock Trail!!) back down to the dirt road and walked the road back to the parking area at the Flat Rock trailhead. This made for an approximately 5 hour hike (with short breaks here and there). I only saw 5 people prior to and at Flat Rock, which was nice. It felt like I was really out in the sticks! My phone died so I'm guessing the total hike was 8 miles or more maybe 10!
I agree with reviews that describe the first part of this hike as strenuous. On our way down, we met another hiker that was looking hesitant about a particularly steep climb right at the beginning. Her confidence was bolstered by the fact that we were coming down it in Chacos.
Nice hike. Strenuous enough for me to feel good about it and a beautiful view at the end.
Trail head is by the Nature Center in Col Denning St Park. The 'Flat' in Flat Rock Trail refers th the flat rock outcrop at the end of the trail, not the trail itself. It was basically straight uphilll for the 1st mile, then a more gradual climb for the remainder of the hike. Though strenuous, the view from the outcrop was worth the effort.
Awesome trail. Took my wife and two kids, ages 8&9. Parts of it are definitely strenuous. This trail is most certainly a knee and thigh burner. It was a beautiful sunny fall day but the traffic was light on the trail. There is a shelter about midway to the overlook. Great place for a snack or break. Just before you descend to the overlook you walk over rocks, if you look down you will see a USGS survey marker. This marks the high point on the mountain. My son noticed it. If not for him I would have walk right over without noticing it. It is severely worn and hard to read (just a little side note). The view from the rock was awesome. We sat for an hour and watched the vultures and hawks ride the thermals. The view couldn't be beat. This trail is not were All Trails shows with their pin drop. Flat Rock trail head is located in Colonel Denning State Park (which is a lovely park).
Paul T. on Hemlocks Natural Area
This area is suffering the deaths of many Eastern Hemlocks. They are amazing, but they are dying. Go before they are all dead and the Natural Area will be merely a memory of what trees WERE there. They are amazing to see. Hard to get to them, but they are awesome.