Blue Ridge Parkway paths are popular in the Grandfather Mountain area, but one of the quieter ones, Flat Rock Trail, makes a great winter hike. This 0.7-mile loop trail is a little steep in only a few spots, so it’s an easy walk when there’s no snow and perfect for snowshoeing.
From the trailhead, go left at the split into a northern hardwood forest. The path is peppered with plaques that interpret the ecosystem. When the waxy, burgundy leaves of galax carpet the ground, you’ll exit the woods onto Flat Rock, an open ledge of wind-shaped evergreens. Take a right along the rocky rib. Straight across the valley, there’s a great view of snowy meadows on Hump Mountain, and as you hike the ledge, Grandfather Mountain towers in the distance.
Even when snow closes portions of the parkway, there’s easy access via Roseboro Road, which is nicely plowed. So park at the gap and walk, snowshoe, or ski the parkway 0.3 mile south to the trailhead. That option makes for a 1.3-mile winter outing that’s hard to beat.
Navigate: From the junction of N.C. 105 and U.S. 221 in Linville, drive south on Linville Avenue to a stop sign. Turn left on Roseboro Road and travel 1.7 miles to the parkway. Park and walk, or turn right on the parkway and drive 0.3 mile south to the trailhead overlook on the right, at milepost 308.3.