|View into the Piedmont and Blackwell's Hollow|
Little Flat Mountain Loop is a hike in Albemarle County's Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Park, likely the most impressive preserve managed by the county. Despite being in Albemarle County, it is a good 45-minute drive from Charlottesville. Byrom Park, a fairly new addition to the public lands in the Charlottesville area, opened to the public in 2011 and has so far flown under the radar as a Charlottesville area hiking destination. While it certainly isn't as spectacular as many spots you'd run into in Shenandoah National Park or along the Blue Ridge Parkway, this park is certainly still worth a visit for its solitude and decent views. The park sits at the foot of the Blue Ridge, on the slopes of Little Flat Mountain, which is connected to Big Flat Mountain, one of the tallest peaks in the South District. Little Flat Mountain Loop is the principal loop trail running through the park. Volunteers are currently expanding the park's trail network, so by the time you hike this there may be more hiking opportunities (and more trail junctions).
I hiked in Byrom Park on a late November weekend with beautifully skies. I drove out to the park from Charlottesville along US 250, taking Ivy Road west from the University past Ivy until coming to Route 240 after crossing the Mechums River. Taking a right at 240, I soon entered the town of Crozet; at the far end of Crozet, I turned right to take Route 810 north. After passing through White Hall and Headquarters, a settlement along the Doyles River, Route 810 entered Blackwell's Hollow. A few minutes further down, about 20 or so minutes out of Crozet, I turned left onto the driveway for the preserve and parked in a fairly large parking area with a good view of the mountains across hollow.
|The parking area at Byrom Park|
|Entering the park on the Great Mountains Trail|
|The principal stream of the park|
|Uphill on the Little Flat Mountain Loop|
|Gibson Mountain Overlook|
|Views through the trees towards Cedar, Pasture Fence, and Bucks Elbow Mountains|
|A stream in the western part of the park|