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U.S. Forest Service

Southern Region Viewing Area


Fly Poison. Fly Poison (Amianthium muscaetoxicum). Photo by Gary Kauffman.

Eastern Gray Beardtongue. Eastern Gray Beardtongue (Penstemon canescens). Photo by Gary Kauffman.

Roan Mountain Goldenrod. Roan Mountain Goldenrod (Solidago roanensis). Photo by Gary Kauffman.

Flat Laurel Creek Trail

Forest: Pisgah National Forest

District: Pisgah Ranger District

Description: This moderately difficult 2.5 mile long loop trail traverses through high elevation meadows, red oak and northern hardwood forests from about 5400 to 5800 feet elevation. Portions of the trail traverse along a former railroad bed. While many of the wildflowers are not as well known as within coves, the abundant grasses and sedges provide a spectacular backdrop for such species as hairy coreopsis, hairy beardtongue, Carolina phlox, fly-poison, sweet pepperbush, bush honeysuckle, turk’s cap lily, turtleheads, green-head coneflower, bee balm, Blue Ridge and mountain saint-john’s-wort, roan goldenrod, skunk goldenrod, white heart-leaved aster, grass-of-parnassus, stiff gentian, and blue American aster. Best time to view: mid-June to late September.

Safety First: The Pisgah National Forest receives high recreational use throughout the summer, and traffic along the forest roads can be heavy, especially near developed facilities. Weather in the southern Appalachians is generally mild but wet, with abundant rainfall throughout the year. Higher elevations, however, can experience cold, wet weather at any time during the year. As a result, adequate rain gear and warm clothes are recommended, even during the summer. In addition, trails in the region are often rocky, and require supportive shoes and sure footing.

Although the area contains abundant streams, all surface water should be treated before drinking or cooking. Carry and drink plenty of fluids, and use sunscreen on exposed skin, especially at higher elevations. Biting insects are generally not a problem. Mosquitoes and ticks are present, but usually not a nuisance. Both mosquito and tick bites can transmit diseases, however, and appropriate measures, such as long clothing and repellants, should be used. Gnats are ubiquitous during the growing season, and often become a nuisance, due to both their numbers as well as their persistence. Wildlife encounters with large animals such as black bears and wild boar are unusual but potentially very dangerous. Please take necessary precautions while hiking outdoors.

Directions: From Brevard, take U. S. Highway 276 north for about 14.5 miles from the intersection with U.S. highway 64 to the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn left on the parkway heading south for about 8 miles to Black Balsam road (forest service road 816). Take a right for 1.2 miles to the parking lot. The trailhead is on the southern portion of the trail; the terminus is on the right of the parking lot at its northwestern edge following a gated road. Restroom facilities are available at the trailhead. Running water is not available.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Ranger District.

Closest Town: Brevard, North Carolina.