Hike to Black Balsam Knob via Art Loeb Trail

Black Balsam Knob Road

Pretty easy hike on the treeless balds gives beautiful views of surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains

The parking area for Black Balsam Knob is at mile marker 420.2 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's free to hike here.

Take the Art Loeb Trail a half mile until you reach the knob. Along the way you will be walking almost entirely on the bald which is a very pleasant experience. You feel like you're dancing through meadows and you can see the mountains all around you. There are a couple of large rock steps that I clumsily fell on and scraped my knees but the trail is pretty easy.

Make sure to bring sunscreen since you're not covered by trees most of the time. There's plenty of good flat areas to have a picnic near the top.

I've marked this as spring/summer/fall, but it could probably be done in winter as long as you check weather conditions.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
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RT Distance 1 Miles
Elevation Gain 400 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Groups
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Best Place to Backpack in WNC

The section of the Art Loeb Trail that runs up to Black Balsam is by far and away my favorite place to camp in all of Western North Carolina. The views up top are unparalleled in both beauty and scope. While the trail can sometimes get crowded in the general vicinity of Black Balsam, if you continue on the Art Loeb trail for a while longer, you will begin to escape the crowds and find some more secluded yet equally beautiful campsites. As others have mentioned, the wind can be rather intense, so make sure you have stakes and rope to secure your tent at night. If the stars are out, prepare for some of the best stargazing in the Southeast. As of the last time I was there (2017), bear canisters were required for all campers, no matter how long your stay might be.

Beautiful place.

I hiked up here on a pretty rainy and foggy day so sadly I didn't get to see the amazing views. However, it was still absolutely beautiful with the fog settling everywhere. I'll be going back soon, though, to catch the panoramic views.

Incredible Views

Hike was beautiful & challenging enough for me! It was the highlight of our trip to the area. We couldn't get enough of the 370-degree views. It was very windy & cold at the top - so be more prepared than I was for that!


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