“An expansive cedar glade featuring springs, a sinking stream, and numerous wildflowers in season.
— Jim Reyome
Birding · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers
We love cedar glades and this is one of our favorites...a big, expansive plot with loads to see and do any time of year. An easy perimeter trail with very little climbing makes this fun for just about everyone, and a spring and a sinking creek add a touch of mystery.
Need to Know
None really, except to watch the trail, particularly in the latter bits after you rejoin the central barren. The path can be a bit obscure. Also, be careful climbing in and out of the sink if it's been raining. There's no opening to a cave, but it can be slippery.
This would be a pretty good place to run, if you're so inclined...but really, it's best to take it slow and take it all in.
A little difficult to find but well worth the effort, Flat Rock is a textbook cedar glade, with expansive barrens that won't fail to impress. A short gently sloping downhill leads from the trailhead to the beginning of the loop...going anticlockwise (west) takes you along the edge of the forest with the central barren to your left. In the spring, there will be dogwoods blooming here.
Just after a small dump (including a very old bowling ball!) just off the property, you'll see a small stream which you can follow a few yards to a spring. Farther along you enter the forest proper and there are some very fine old trees, many of which just demand to have their pictures taken. Depending on the weather, you may encounter a wet weather stream along what appears to be an old road...water doesn't stay on the surface very long here, and soon you come to that small stream you saw earlier. It has crossed the property and arrived at a precipitous sinkhole, which carries the whole flow underground.
Not long after you break out into the central barren again along its southern border, and eventually you reconnect with the spur that will return you to the trailhead. This has been a favorite of ours since we first read about it in Malloy's book "50 Hikes Within 50 Miles of Nashville" (highly recommended!) and we have been back several times since.
History & Background
Preserved by the Nature Conservancy in 1999, it's now under the control of the State of Tennessee.