By now, you’ve probably heard of (or maybe even ridden!) the City of Norton, Virginia’s Flag Rock Area Trails. The FRAT system is the mastermind of local resident Shayne Fields and is just an awesome piece of trailbuilding: miles of singletrack crisscross their way between the Flag Rock overlook in Norton and High Knob in Jefferson National Forest. The trails are on Norton’s property, but this isn’t your average city park. Towering Appalachian forests, tumbling high-elevation streams, and scenic views abound on and near the system, and more miles of trail are in the works. It’s an idea that will play a big role in the region’s efforts to diversify local economies.
One of the biggest challenges with the FRAT system so far has been navigation, since the system has been under development for some time and lacks infrastructure (signs and maps) as trails are built and plans solidified. That, though, is now a thing of the past. Norton has been installing new signage on parts of the system, and the signs themselves are excellent. Check out an example below.
The new signs not only denote trail junctions but also give vital information on trail distances and the direction of the system’s “core loop.” Numbers to call for help are also provided – an important feature in the rugged backcountry above the City.
While there’s still work being done to complete the system’s core loop in its entirety, the new signage is a great step in making the FRAT system one of the best- if not the best – trail systems in the Cumberland Mountain region. Go check it out for yourself and get info on the system at our overview post.