Black Balsam Knob Loop Pisgah National Forest, NC
miles
LENGTH 4.8 MILES
DIFFICULTY 6.1 Easy
Medium
DURATION 2-3 hours
ELEVATION GAIN
710
feet
TRAIL TYPE
Loop
Black Balsam Knob Loop

Hike across some of the Southeast's highest mountains on this 4.8 mile loop in North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest. Journey just off the Blue Ridge Parkway to the summit of Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain for sweeping 360° views. It doesn't get better than this with a low effort to view ratio that makes this a must hike.

Parking half way down Black Balsam Knob road off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near mile marker 420 where the Mountain-to-Sea and Art Loeb Trail (ALT) cross or continue to the end of the road and begin at the parking lot. Restrooms are available at the parking lot. If beginning at the parking lot you can either walk the road to the ALT or walk down the Investor Gap Trail a short ways to the Art Loeb Spur Trail on the right.

Beginning the loop from where the trail crosses the road, immediately begin the most difficult climb on this hike, which is just 250 feet over .4 miles. This gets you up on the ridgeline where you'll get unobstructed 360° views over the next couple miles. Look back toward the Blue Ridge Parkway to see it weaving through the hilltops. Continue along the trail toward Black Balsam Knob, passing the Art Loeb Spur trail on the left that leads back to the parking lot at the end of the road. Several side trails lead to the right up and around the summit of Black Balsam Knob. Explore around this exposed bald with some of the best views in the southeast. Make your way to the opposite side of the mountain and take either trail down to the base of Tennent Mountain. The two trails criss-cross each other but arrive at the same point.

Continue straight to the summit of Tennent Mountain where more amazing view abound. This is another short moderate climb of 150 feet in .3 miles. Again, none of the climbs on this hike are difficult or very long. Head down where the trail joins the Investor Gap Trail, a much wider old road bed. Turn left here to head back to the parking lot and back down Black Balsam Knob Road to complete this loop. This last section is less strenuous without any major climbs. If you're up for a longer hike, continue on the ALT to for the longer Art Loeb Trail Double Loop.

Read More

Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Terrain Map Click to control map
Details
length4.8 miles
difficulty6.1 Easy-Medium
duration2 - 3 hours
trail typeLoop
blazeNone
elevation gain710 ft.
park/forestPisgah National Forest
ranger districtPisgah Ranger District
1600 Pisgah Highway
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
828-877-3265
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 35.320623, -82.876271 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°19.24, W 82°52.58 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 35°19'14'', N 35°19'14'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
35.320623, -82.876271 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°19.24, W 82°52.58 most GPS units use this one
N 35°19'14'', N 35°19'14'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
Either park along the road where the Art Loeb & Mountains-to-Sea Trails cross or you can begin the loop at the parking lot at the end of Black Balsam Knob Road.
Notes
Review all the yellow markers on the map as these are directional markers and point out the major navigational hurdles. Zoom in with Satellite view to see side trails.
There are too many side trails to name them all. It is highly recommended you bring a map and know how to read it. Maps are available at the Ranger office. The drawn maps listed on this page to not replace bringing a real map.
Much of this hike is exposed above the tree line. Take extra precautions during inclement weather.
Nearby Hikes
Similar Hikes
Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
5 (1)
hikethesouth-7 months ago
Crazy Views
Expect to be blown away by the amazing views that take such little effort to get to. This is a must hike if you're anywhere near the area. One of the best and the surrounding area has quite a few other fantastic hikes from easy to difficult.
Easy-Medium | Hiked Summer 2013
New Comment
Username   
Email
Email will only be used to send a verification link for first time use with this username and to authenticate the username for further reviews/comments.
Comments   2000
New Review
Username
Email
Email will only be used to send a verification link for first time use with this username and to authenticate the username for further reviews/comments.
Rating
Difficulty
Last Hiked
Review Title
Review   2000