Little Flat Mountain

  • Highlights: Wildflowers, streams, mountain views
  • Distance: 4.5 mile loop
  • Elevation change: 1,263 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate/strenuous
  • Trailhead Parking: Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park, 6610 Blackwells Hollow Road, Crozet, VA 
  • Website: Albemarle County and AllTrails
  • Beer Pairings: Skipping Rock Beer Co. Amber Lager & Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale

The Hike:

This fun hike is a hidden gem located between Charlottesville and Shenandoah National Park. The Byrom Forest Preserve is a 600-acre Albemarle County park with multi-use trails, rest rooms, and picnic tables. The trails are well marked and well maintained. A kiosk at the trailhead has trail maps and provides information about the Byron family who donated the land for this park.

At the trail kiosk, take a photo of the map or scan the QR code to download a map. There are several trail junctions on this hike. However, all the trails climb to the top of the mountain and it’s a small park so you won’t get lost. Follow the paved Great Mountains Trail up the hill past the picnic pavilion. There is a memorial here the the Albemarle County families who lived in what is now Shenandoah National Park.  

The paved path quickly ends and the trail begins a steady, gradual climb. At .5 miles pass a junction for the Crooked Tree Trail. As an option, take Crooked Tree to add about one mile to this hike. We stayed left to continue on the Great Mountains Trail. 

A small stream soon appears on the left and at .6 miles is the next trail junction. Bear right and  follow the Blue Ledge Trail as it moves away from the stream and continues the uphill climb. Reach another trail junction at 1 mile. Stay right and join the Big Flat Mountain Trail as it continues the climb up the mountain.

In the spring and summer wildflowers color the landscape. In the fall the colorful foliage from oaks and maples makes this a special place. At 1.6 miles is the junction with the Crooked Tree Trail and a picnic table here making this a good spot for lunch or a snack. Stay left and continue the climb on the Big Flat Mountain Trail.

The only scenic vista on this hike is the Gibson Mountain Overlook at 2.1 miles. The views are to the east and southeast. After a steady climb, the rest of this hike is mostly downhill. Stay right at all the remaining trail junctions. Two streams run beside the trail and there are several stream crossings. Continue to bear right at the trail junctions and follow signs to the parking area.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Crozet Virginia has several great beer options. Starr Hill Brewery and Pro Re Nata Brewery are both located within 20 minutes of the trailhead. We have been to both breweries and highly recommend them. However, we had heard great things about Crozet Pizza and since it was lunchtime, we decided to have pizza with our beer.

In addition to great pizza, salads, and wraps, they have 14 taps with a nice variety of craft beer and cider. They also serve wine and cocktails. Pete enjoyed Amber Lager (5.2% ABV, 15 IBU) from Skipping Rock Brewery in Staunton VA. This copper colored lager is malt forward and is a smooth, easy drinking beer. Kathy was happy to see an old favorite on the menu: Bell’s Brewing Two Hearted Ale (7% ABV, 65 IBU), an American IPA brewed and dry hopped with 100% Centennial hops. This iconic IPA is great by itself and even better with pizza. We tried The Hittie (italian sausage, onion, green & red pepper). The pizza had a great crust, just the right amount of toppings, and the tomato sauce had a spicy kick. Great pizza. Great beer. Great hike.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.