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U.S. Forest Service

Southern Region Viewing Area


Alumroot. Alumroot (Aletris farinosa).

Yellow Fringed Orchis. Yellow Fringed Orchis (Platanthera ciliaris).

Flat Rock Trailhead

Forest: Daniel Boone National Forest

District: Steams Ranger District

Description: This trail segment is part of the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail. Trailhead parking is provided immediately off U.S. Hwy 27. The trail crosses a powerline right-of-way very close to the trailhead.

Viewing Information: Along this powerline, there are pockets of wet ground around which species such as Aletris farinosa (Alumroot) and Platanthera ciliaris (Yellow Fringed Orchis) can be found. The trail itself goes into upland forest with species such as mimosa (Schrankia microphylla) and numerous asters and sunflowers, all of which are summer/fall flowering. The trail eventually works its way along Railroad Fork creek which is lined with numerous small to large cliffs. The trail runs for about 10 miles along this creek and other small creeks before intersecting KY Hwy 700 about 2.5 air miles east of US Hwy 27. Most wildflowers will be in the first 1-2 miles of the trail and along the powerline right-of-way.

Safety First: The trail goes near cliffs and may at times be shared with horses.

Directions: The trailhead is located just off of US Hwy 27, on the east side, about 4 miles north of the center of Whitley City. It is located about 1.1 miles north of the Stearns Ranger District office, which is also on the east side of the road. US Hwy 27 to the south passes through Oneida, TN and to the north, passes through Somerset, KY.

Ownership and Management: The site and trail are owned and managed by the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Closest Town: Whitley City, Kentucky.