Green Knob Trail from MST is a 7.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Canton, NC that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
I have been wanting to try this trail for some time as my first chance to explore the Middle Prong Wilderness, and this was a beautiful day for it.
The trail starts at the Mountains-to-Sea trailhead on NC 215, and follows a fairly gradual climb along the relatively well maintained MST for a few miles, until it climbs to the top of Fork Ridge. As with all Wilderness areas, there are no trail markings, but the MST portion is pretty clear in most sections. That can't be said for the rest though.
At the top of Fork Ridge, look for a trail leading right (North). This is not very clear, but if you begin descending the other side of Fork Ridge, you have gone too far. This trail continues for several miles North toward Green Knob. It is quite difficult to follow in a few sections, but always stick to the top of the ridgeline.
Along the way there are stunning views from both sides of the ridge. I really enjoyed seeing the views of Sam's Knob, Black Balsam, and from Green Knob you can even see Shining Rock. Not long after leaving the MST, there is a false trail branching left to the West. It's worth it, as it leads to a large cleared overlook with amazing, long-distance views (all the way into Georgia, on this clear day).
The mileage on multiple GPS units was well over 10 miles, round trip, even though the trail is listed online as 9 miles. This was an enjoyable hike, but one we really had to pay attention to keep on trail.