Joseph G. on Apple Orchard Falls Trail
Strenuous on the way back. The water fall makes it worth it! Not a bad hike. Decent.
Roger B. on Flat Top Mountain Trail
I've been up there a few times. Not a whole lot to see on the way up there but once you get there there's an incredible view from three different places. It's best to see it late fall when the leaves have fallen on a clear Day you can see a long way. The last time I went I saw a bear! Not to worry black bears are more afraid of you than you are of them. Definitely wear your hiking boots.
The Buck Mountain Trail is located at MP 123.2 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's a short (1 mile round trip) hike to the overlook at the summit. There's not much of a view, but it's a good leg stretcher if you are traveling the Parkway and need a break.
A few things you need to know before you choose to hike the oddly named Balcony Falls Trail. First, Balcony Falls is a set of rapids at the confluence of the James and Maury Rivers. You aren't going to be hiking to a view of a waterfall, which most people probably expect. Second, we never found an overlook. So the only time of year you are going to see any views of any kind on this trail is during leaf-off. Even then, you don't get a very good view of Balcony Falls. Third, there was a major fire in this area a few years back and the first 3/4 miles is through a lot of scrubby new growth that isn't very pretty. That being said, we hiked this in January and enjoyed the hike. The best views were on a fire service road during the last 1 1/2 miles of the trail.