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On June 8 hiked up with my daughter, sil to be, 7 year old granddaughter and a photographer to take pics of the kids on their wedding day. I’m not sure I’d say this was easy, lots of loose stones, steep switchbacks and narrow areas and being out of shape! However, I did it! The vista from the top was spectacular. The greenery, tall forest trees, dainty flowers and a distant stormy sky brewing (and the steepness at times) made this breathtaking. Do it, I’m glad I did. Some of the most beautiful NC pics I’ve ever taken were here.

Great hike with beautiful views. Our 2-year-old was able to handle it (with some help).

I’d been to Black Balsam Knob several times before taking this specific hike and you get many more great views. The trail itself is rocky with lots of shrubbery, but once you get to the high points, the sky goes on for miles. Be sure to pack bug spray and sunscreen, or at least a hat. The trail isn’t blatantly marked, so having a map of the trail (like the one included on this app) is super handy. Black Balsam and Tennent Mountain are each breathtaking. The views are amazing, they’re perfect spots to take a break, and it’s super rewarding once you complete the loop. I’d suggest going on a day when there hasn’t been a rainstorm the day before or isn’t currently raining because the trail gets slippery and the loop on the way back becomes more creek than trail (waterproof/resistant shoes are useful). Overall, I had a wonderful time hiking and exploring nature and definitely recommend it for future hikers!

Breathtaking views.

this hike exceeded all expectations!!!! veryy rewarding! stunning and endless veiws, you're going to want to allow a lot of extra time to enjoy them. heavily trafficked. also I read some reviews prior to my trip and one mentioned the bathroom being pretty filthy-- quite the understatement actually I was blown away and disturbed buy how disgusting they actually were. strong warning- Beware!!!

Did a sunset hike here the views were amazing! I highly recommend seeing a sunrise or sunset here.

Hiked May 30-May 31 after and during intense rain. Trails here have the tendency to become gushing streams, and the Ivestor Gap trail and Art Loeb section between Flower gap and Cold mountain were both flooded for significant parts of the trail. We turned back after Flower Gap after conditions worsened. That being said, it was quite deserted and extremely scenic! Hope to be back in drier weather

I did this one on June 2, 2018. There was plenty of water (I filtered), including a spring close to the summit, but it has been quite rainy this Spring so your mileage may vary.

It's tougher on the way down than it is up. I made it up in three hours, including longish stops to drink and filter water. Coming down, the ligaments in my knees hurt bleddy awful.

I got on the trail about 8 a.m. and there was no one there. By the time I got back around 2 p.m., cars were lining the road.

I'm going back to do it again when the leaves are off the trees.

Hiked Black Balsam Road to Shining Rock, then to Cold Mountain along the narrow ridge, after two weeks of rain. Many flowing water sources with streams down the trail and several ponds in the trail. I did my best to keep my feet dry. I gave up on the Ivestor Trail on the way back. Saw a clump of 12 Pink Ladies Slippers, a few trilliums, bristly locust and Chicken of the Woods mushroom past Shining Rock. As said in other reviews, beautiful views, especially at sunset. When I was at Cold Mountain, I wished I had a car at the Boy Scout Camp, for a 4 mile hike to the car, instead of almost 10 miles back to Black Balsom Road.

Panoramic views atop this knob. Nice place to relax and take it all in at the peak of Black Balsam.

literally my favorite ever. there's absolutely nothing negative thoughts say about this one.

One of the most scenic spots in NC in my opinion. Pretty easy hike to the top of black balsam knob. Love this place for camping! Sunrises and sunsets with a 360 degree view, you can’t beat it!

Take this COUNTER-clockwise to minimize trail loss on the infuriatingly vague relentless Southern ascent, the crazy labyrinth of squirrel runs trying to find Shiny Rock, and the super slippy descent through Hobbit sized openings in the brush.

this one can be quite difficult depending on the path you choose. part of it is very narrow once you get up the first summit. beautiful views though. keep notice of where you are so you know when you turn back to loop back

hiking
1 month ago

Good trail not marked at all and a lot of side trails

Flat and rocky. Many other better alternatives nearby to the same locations, but can be relaxing. If it has rained within the week expect parts of the trail to be completely covered by puddles with plenty of dense mud

Really enjoyed this trail! Initial climb, but moderate with some places to stop and check the view. Once you reach the top gorgeous 360 degree views. You can continue on the Loeb trail if you like. Highly recommend.

Start to finish
One day hike. Is rough

Absolutely one of my favorite hikes. So many trails to go on in one area, and kid friendly. The views are amazing! I could stay here forever...

I attempted this trail once before but started too late and took the way to the right and realized i would not make t before dark. It’s not safe to do this in the dark as some areas require a bit of rock climbing. We did this hike again in the winter, one of the warmer days. It’s was a difficult hike but fun. I didn’t do a loop and came down the same way I came up. My nephew as cousin took the way to the right and did the loop. The trail is not well marked or always seen so got lost a few time. It was fun but probably will not do it again.

This is a great hike! The leaves aren't on the tress yet so you get some awesome views that won't be there in the Summer. Definitely a heart pumper and several rock gardens along the way. The views from the top are incredible and well worth the hike.

This trail gives you lots of freedom to see all the views and explore (in trenches!). It was busy, but not crazy busy by any means. Many cars were parked along the road but there are several trailheads at that starting point. Lots of dogs, too! Like everyone else said, great views. You can go far or not. I do think it should be rated as “moderate” though.

backpacking
3 months ago

Did this as a 2 night backpacking trip. Well established trail but NOT marked. Tough, rocky terrain that can be slippery after rain but elevation gain isn’t bad. We had intended to continue on to Greasy Cove Trail and loop around Shining Creek Path back to the trailhead but we could not find the trail after 2 hours so we made an out and back of Big East Fork.

All in all a good first time trip for this novice backpacker. Campsites were nice and flat with easy access to the creek for water.

Just do it. You’ll see why.

We started and took shining Creek and had planned on coming back old butt. However the trail is NOT 3.4 miles, as it states on the map. It is more close to 6 miles one way so be prepared. It was getting dark on us so We came back out the same way We went in and do not get to do old butt. This trail was very pretty with lots of water Cascades. We tracked The trail to be around 12.5 round trip. The trail is NOT marked and is very confusing to what is and is not the trail. This trail even with a map would be super easy to get lost. we ran into other hikers and they were just as confused as we were and some had done the trail before. It would be nice if they could have some small makers at least on some of the places.

Kevin, email me caronj@gmail.com

The views speak for themselves. Absolutely loved the scenery I highly recommend for anyone. If you drive past Graveyard Fields parking area, you can drive up the road and a side road to the right (if you are passing graveyard fields on the right) will take you to an area where you can park and take the easy way up.

This is more of an inquiry as myself and a few friends would like to plan this hike in June, but reading reviews causes some concern. We are in pretty good shape and have hiking experience, but don't wish to get lost for hours. Anyways, I think that we would be willing to hire someone who has made this trek and could guide us to the summit. If anyone can offer some insights and suggestion, I would be most appreciative.
I have a vacation home in Asheville and used to live there, and actually tested the hike for a half mile or so out of Canton, so have some insight. Looking at second weekend in June. Thanks, Kevin

One of my favorite trails. You will have breathtaking scenery around you every second of the hike.

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