Flat Laurel Creek Trail

At A Glance


3.7 mi one-way

Difficulty Rating: 3.7
Steepness: Climbs Gently
Tread Condition: Moderately Rough
Blaze Color: Orange
Trail Number: 346
Rides That Use This Trail: Flat Laurel Creek


This entire trail is above 5000 feet. Very scenic - awesome high elevation meadows near the Black Balsam parking area. There are many wet, seepy sections and creek crossings, and the trail is very rocky although a lot of work has been done to the trail recently reducing its technical nature but making it more sustainable. You'll find waterfalls, pristine streams, and a recovering spruce-fir forest along this trail. This trail is part of the Flat Laurel Creek Best Ride.

Intersecting Trails

  • Little Sam
  • Sam Knob
  • This trail is located in the Black Balsam area. For a list of all the trails in that area, see the Black Balsam trails list page.

    All Photos from the Trail

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    GPS Map

    Map Information

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    Data Formats

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    About the Map


    Base Layers

    Base layers provided by OpenStreetMap, the US Geological Survey, the US Forest Service, and NC OneMap. Base layer images are subject to the respective copyright policies of their owners. Base layers may not be available at all times due to system maintenance or outages.

    WNCOutdoors Base Layer

    The WNCOutdoors Base layer is provided by WNCOutdoors.info. It is licensed by Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

    Trail and Marker Overlays

    Trail layers and downloadable data are all original works created by WNCOutdoors with guidance from a variety of sources, including ensembles of our own GPS tracks, user contributed GPS tracks, official maps and GIS data from government agencies, and field observations. WNCOutdoors data is made freely available under the Open Database License - you are free to copy and use it for any purpose under the terms of that license (summary).


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    Trail Segments

    Trails are often made up of several connecting paths which may have different characteristics, allowed uses, and seasons. This trail is divided into multiple segments as follows:

    Flat Laurel Creek - NC 215 to Sam Knob Tr.

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking, Mountain Biking
    • Length: 2.32 mi

    Flat Laurel Creek - Sam Knob Tr. to Little Sam Tr.

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking, Mountain Biking
    • Length: 0.38 mi

    Flat Laurel Creek - Little Sam Tr. to Ivestor Gap Parking

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking, Mountain Biking
    • Length: 1.07 mi

    Total Calculated Length: 3.76 mi

    This value is derived from our underlying map data, and it may not match officially published information.



    Average Rating: 3.7 (rated 13 times)

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    Warren said: September 2, 2021. Hiked the upper portion of Flat Laurel Creek Trail after doing Sam Knob from the parking area. This trail is rated easy, maybe because the grade is very gradual. The trail condition was wet the whole way up, very rocky (small, medium and larger); narrow U-shaped tread much of the way. I did this entire trail on mountain bike about 5 years ago, from 215 parking to the top, but I would not be able to bike this now; it seems the erosion has made it too difficult for me; there are many 12”-18” drops that would stop me going up. Coming down on bike would be a challenge too. Many bushes very close to the trail, at spots, leaves you claustrophobic.

    Saturday, September 4 2021 1:59pm

    hulia kelly said: excellent information here!

    Friday, May 31 2013 7:14pm
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