Black Balsam Knob via Art Loeb Trail

EASY 63 reviews

Black Balsam Knob via Art Loeb Trail is a 1.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Canton, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
1.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
351 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

12 days ago

Great, quick trail. Needs a sign at the intersection on the other side of the knob (heading towards Tennent mountain).

hiking
1 month ago

This is sort of long so here's the run down. I am a 30 year old guy and like to backpack/camp or hike for the relatively quiet and peaceful experience away from the city (Charlotte) and all that. This trail was absolutely slammed with people. I have never seen anything like it. Used to love this trail. Would not recommend now....

Art Loeb starting at Black Balsam and venturing in to Shining Rock used to be my favorite hike in NC. I hadn't been back here in about 2 years until this past weekend. Black Balsam Knob Rd. used to be sparsely populated with cars and the trail was generally a pleasantly quiet experience.

That said, this past weekend, I have never seen so many people at a trailhead. I am from Charlotte so I will relate it to Crowders. It was like the Crowders parking lot on steroids. We arrived at about 9 a.m. on Saturday to hike up Art Loeb over Black Balsam and then take Ivestor Gap back to Black Balsam Knob Rd as a sort quick loop. First, there was hardly a place to park. Once we actually got on the trail we essentially hiked in a single-file line (behind some guy with a portable speaker blasting music from his backpack) and topped Black Balsam Knob to find a crowd of SnapChat/Instagram girls taking group selfies and the like. People drop their dog poop bags on the side of the trail. Tons of people venturing off trail in to vegetation and such for that "perfect photo."

Once we hit Ivestor everything chilled out a bit until we got back to the road where it looked like the parking lot exploded with people and cars. There were so many people walking around seemingly lost, dogs running around off leash (we have a dog and brought her and luckily she is very friendly with other animals), cars frantically trying to find a parking spot, etc. We parked maybe .25 miles down the road and I was stopped maybe 7 times in about 5 minutes to ask what I thought the people should do or where they should go and what to look for.

The trail is beautiful and if you can experience it during the week or something when it would be a lot less packed I would highly recommend it. Also, maybe I am just being a jerk. If you don't mind the noise and like that sort of trail mentality then go for it.

I just prefer being out in nature to get away from the noise and distractions of people and to enjoy (seemingly; thanks Leave No Trace) undisturbed places. If you are like me, I would suggest you try somewhere else.

1 month ago

Epic Views !

1 month ago

This trail was my favorite in the Blue Ridge. You can keep going for a day if you really wanted to. You hike from peak to peak over looking graveyard fields. Great hike to see mountains and the leaves.

hiking
2 months ago

Holy Smokey Mountains! I know balds are usually known for their amazing 360 degree views, but this place was stunning in the dense fog. I bet I wouldn't even recognize it if I went back on a clear day. It made for fantastic pictures and a crisp hike. Loved seeing everyone and their puppies just grinning ear to ear. Don't pass this one up!

hiking
2 months ago

Easy trail with panoramic views!

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this trail on Sunday along with 16 septillion other people! That said, we went back today and enjoyed a significantly less crowded hike. The weather was comfortable and the constant breeze atop the bald refreshing.
Parking was at a premium Sunday, but plentiful Monday (we arrived around noon both days).
Recommend this hike to anyone interested in majestic 360° views, hiking with little to no gear or packing in and staying the night.

hiking
3 months ago

Start at the Art Loeb trailhead about half way down Black Balsam Road from the Parkway and ascend to a grassy knoll and up to Black Balsam Knob with sweeping 360 degree views from the top - the Shining Rock Wilderness does not disappoint. Great bang for the buck and this popular hike can get crowded.

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

Fun trail, avoid on the weekends (LOTS of people)

hiking
3 months ago

Not to be missed!
Gorgeous panoramic views as you ascend the balds.
A few cons:
You have to parallel park at the trailhead and parking is scarce.
It's a short walk through the woods, but the path is paved with rocky stones (kinda wears your shoes out). Also wear good hiking shoes or sneakers for solid footing as you go up the hills.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome trail with great views. Must be spectacular in the fall.

hiking
4 months ago

Not a hard trail, but the vistas are stunning! You start in the shady balsam forest and gradually go uphill into an opening and continue to gradually climb to the top where you can see 380 degrees! I felt like I was in The Sound Of Music!

hiking
4 months ago

Good hike for the entire family - ages 3 thru 69. Went on a Tuesday to avoid the crowds. Views from the top were spectacular, despite a bit of summer haze. Beware a few spots with large exposed rock that must be climbed, tricky footing for some people in our group. Planning to come back to this spot again with my wife to continue on the ALT to Tennent Mtn and Ivester Gap.

hiking
4 months ago

Really enjoyed this walk. Easy hike, awesome panoramic views from the top, and nicely defined trail. It's a heavily traveled trail and area, but a great place nevertheless. Easy parking, great camping and backpacking all the way through on the trail. Outhouse bathrooms about 1.5 miles down the road.

hiking
4 months ago

Short, easy, crowded and spectacular. It does not take long to break out of the trees after leaving the trailhead at Black Balsam Knob Road. It is then a quick climb to the ridge, with tremendous 360 degree views the rest of the way to the top of the Bald. An early start is best. And don't stop there...definitely worth continuing on to Tennent Mountain (at least)!

hiking
5 months ago

Pretty easy Ridgeline hike with incredible views about 80% of the time. We parked in the designated parking along the side of the road halfway down balsam Road. The trail starts with unpleasant rock gravel for about the first 2/10 of a mile. Once you're out of the forest you're onto a normal trail and can start to see the beautiful views all around you as you ascend to the summit of Black Balsam Knob. The long waving grasses and short shrubs are a welcome change from the mostly forested trails that we have been on, allowing constant views as you hike. Once you hit the summer you can stop and enjoy the views or if you have some spare time I highly recommend you continue on to mount Tennent which, from the parking, is a 1.9 mile hike to get there. After a little work on the Ridgeline you will start a bit of a descent through some higher bushes and you'll have a choice between two main options; on the left is a .7 mile trail that is very gradual descent and on the right is a .4 mile steeper narrower descent to the gap between both mountains. We chose the longer one on the way down in the shorter one on the way back. Both trails have higher shrub so you don't have the same views but there are areas where you have small Lucketts. Once you get to the gap then you start ascending to the summit of Mount Tennent and once again you have views all around you the entire time. At the top we stopped on the rocks and had our lunch with the 360° view. It was absolutely gorgeous. We really enjoyed this hike due to the extensive views you have for the majority of the time that you were hiking. It is a fairly easy hike with some rolling ascents and descents.
You could make a loop trail out of this by taking the investors gap trail from the bottom of Mount tenant. Where we turned around you would continue and go to the left on the investor gaps trail which would actually probably be easier, and it will bring you to the parking lot at the end of the road. Then you would need to walk the maybe half mile road back to your car which would be an easy walk.
There are very basic restroom facilities at the end of the road. Only go if you're desperate if not go back on the parkway a little bit to Mount Pisgah visitor center and picnic area for nicer restroom facilities.

6 months ago

Quick hike with the option to extend your out-and-back to Tennent Mountain (totally worth it!) Hike up to Black Balsam is pretty open but if you decide to continue to Tennent, you walk through very high vegetation in a washed out trail, makes for a fun change of scenery until it opens up again.

hiking
6 months ago

Very pretty views. Lots of people and lots of dog poop. Good hike with kids, but the dog poop really takes some of the enjoyment away.

7 months ago

One of a kind terrain and awesome 360 degree view.

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