If you’re looking for information about hiking the Flat Rock Trail at Colonel Denning State Park, you’re in the right place!
The Flat Rock Trail is a challenging 5 mile out-and-back trek that rewards hikers with breathtaking views from Flat Rock, a natural vista overlooking the Cumberland Valley.
How to Find the Flat Rock Trail
The trailhead for this hike is located at Colonel Denning State Park, a 273 acre gem surrounded entirely by the 96,000 acre Tuscarora State Forest.
A large paved parking area and the sign pictured below are located next to the trailhead, behind and downhill from the park office.
A set of wooden stairs ascends from the parking area – that’s where the hike begins.
Hiking the Flat Rock Trail
You’ll quickly realize there is nothing flat about this hike!
It is, however, an extremely well-blazed (yellow), well-maintained trail.
Every half mile another sign lets you know you’re on the right track.
This is definitely a hike where I’d recommend a good trekking pole to maintain your balance.
Approximately 1.5 miles into the hike, the Flat Rock Trail finally levels off for a bit as you cross over the Tuscarora Trail.
You’ll pass this trail shelter 1/10th of a mile AFTER crossing over the Tuscarora Trail.
Remaining on this semi-flat portion of the mountain for another few 10ths of a mile, you’ll encounter this stone portion of the trail.
That will be followed by a windy boardwalk though a swampy area.
Emerging from the swampy area and following another ascent, you’ll arrive at the end of the trail and be standing at the incredible Flat Rock Vista.
Taking in the Vista
On this particular day a Mennonite family was just finishing up a picnic lunch as I arrived on the scene.
We exchanged pleasantries as they were packing up, and then I had the vista to myself.
The panoramic view was outstanding, but what really added to the excitement was a large flock of buzzards swooping up and down the valley, right past and over the vista.
Birders will absolutely love Flat Rock Vista.
Still not convinced you need to hike the Flat Rock Trail?
Then check out this panoramic video I shot at Flat Rock Vista, including buzzards zipping past!
Exploring Colonel Denning State Park in Cumberland County is your guide to even more great things to see and do near the Flat Rock Trail.
The Cameron-Masland Mansion at Kings Gap Environmental Education Center is a historic stone villa perched on a Cumberland County mountaintop, offering a scenic overlook that captures the essence of Pennsylvania’s picturesque outdoors.
Pole Steeple Overlook is located in the Cumberland County portion of the Michaux State Forest, adjacent to Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
The Appalachian Trail Museum at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County preserves the rich history, culture, and stories of the famed Appalachian Trail (AT).
The Halfway Point of the Appalachian Trail is located in Pennsylvania’s Michaux State Forest in Cumberland County, just a short distance from Pine Grove Furnace State Park and the Appalachian Trail Museum.
Exploring an Abandoned POW Camp in Cumberland County is your guide to a formerly-secret POW camp, used to house German and Japanese POWs during World War Two.
Did you enjoy this article?
If so, be sure to like and follow PA Bucket List on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest to learn more about the best things to see and do in Pennsylvania!
Click on any of the icons below to get connected to PA Bucket List on social media.