Hike to Black Balsam Knob via Art Loeb Trail

Black Balsam Knob Road, Canton, North Carolina, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    1 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    400 Feet

Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Groups
Scenic

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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Reviews

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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.

30 days ago
30 days ago

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.

4 months ago
4 months ago

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!

6 months ago
6 months ago

This hike easily packs some of the best views in all of the Appalachians in such a short distance. The summit of Black Balsam Knob offers 360-degree panoramic views that go as far into the mountains as the eyes can see. Great spot to watch both sunrise and sunset. There are some great tent sites on the trail too, but you just have to hope your tent is sturdy enough in case winds pick up.

8 months ago
8 months ago

This has got to be one of my favorite hikes I've ever done! The view was utterly astounding! Our GPS didn't take us to the right place so just keep driving on the parkway until you hit 420 and you'll see a sign. The trial is narrow and uphill, but once you're at the top it's unbelievable. HIGHLY recommend if you're in the area

10 months ago
10 months ago

Loved this quick and easy trek right off of the Parkway. Do make sure the road is open and best to arrive early. Temp were 20 degrees and the parking areas were still packed. A must do if in the area!

11 months ago
11 months ago

We went in December right before New Years and it was absolutely freezing. The temperature outside was already cold but the wind on top of those mountains was so strong and made it much colder but it was still so awesome! There were a lot of people out braving the cold with us too. An easy hike and is definitely do-able in the winter as long as you bundle up! And make sure the parkway is open. I've tried to get out there before when the roads were iced and you couldn't access these trails.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Short hard hike to the top of the mountain from the parking lot. Clear 360 degree view of the blue ridge mountains with hardly any light pollution. Great for camping and watching stars

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Alyssa Ramirez

I'm a 27-year-old raised in New Jersey, schooled in North Carolina (go Tar Heels!), and now living in Washington, DC. I love to travel, hike, take pictures, eat ice cream, and play with dogs.

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