Devil's Courthouse and Black Balsam

MODERATE 95 reviews
#4 of 83 trails in

Devil's Courthouse and Black Balsam is a 0.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Canton, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
0.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
272 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

Devil's Courthouse and Black Balsam are two short moderate to strenuous out and back trails off North Carolina's Blue Ridge Parkway featuring spectacular sweeping views, wild flowers and peregrine falcons. Devil's Courthouse - A moderate to strenuous 1 mile RT climb to a walled lookout above the Blue Ridge. Within the jagged mountain is a cave where the devil holds court, according to folklore. The steep cliffs provide spectacular panoramic vistas and ideal hunting grounds for peregrine falcons. The mostly paved trail starts from the overlook parking area beside the mountain. According to the sign at the overlook, the bare rock profile named Devil's Courthouse is sinister in appearance and legend. In Cherokee lore, this cave is the private dancing chamber and dwelling place of the slant-eyed giant, Judaculla. Devil's Courthouse is also home to rare and delicate high-altitude plants. Black Balsam Knob - The Black Balsam area of the Blue Ridge Parkway includes several trails, including a spectacular mountain bald Black Balsam Knob. This treeless mountaintop offers sweeping views of the Blue Ridge. The summit at 6214' is accessed via the Art Loeb trail while gaining about 400' in elevation. Walk about 1/2 mile through the forest to reach the open, grassy and rocky mountain meadows. Cross Sam's Knob and continue to Black Balsam (about a mile). The first quarter mile passes through a thick Balsam Grove and next abruptly breaks out onto the wide grassy ridge. It passes through open, grassy and rocky mountain meadows. These two hikes are highly recommended!

2 days ago

Quick and easy with great views

hiking
2 days ago

The Devil's Courthouse is a pinnacle rock outcropping at MP 422 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. From the summit you can see Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and North Carolina. I recommend parking in the lot to take a view/photo up toward the outcropping to get a feel for your destination. From the parking lot you'll walk uphill along the road on an asphalt path that then turns right into the woods and ascends very steeply up the mountain. Eventually the asphalt ends at a rocky gully that you'll follow to the top. The viewing area has a rock barricade so it's safe for children. From the highest rocks within the viewing area you can get a pretty nice nearly 360* panorama. Due to the short hike leading to an excellent view that is safe for the family this is a "must do" excursion for those driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.

hiking
3 days ago

Nice, easy path to the top. But super crowded even on the chilly, windy day that I went. Other than the crowds, the views are fantastic! Definitely worth going.

4 months ago

Steep but easy hike to the top. Well worth it

5 months ago

Awesome

hiking
5 months ago

Great views

scenic driving
6 months ago

At first I was like this trail is .9 miles and moderate...whats the catch. It is very steep but well worth the stop along Blue Ridge Parkway. Great views from the top that go for 100s of miles.

hiking
6 months ago

Impromptu stop at this trail to look for peregrine falcons. No sightings, but the view from the top is far reaching and worth the effort.

scenic driving
7 months ago

This was a fun, short hike to the pedestrian overlook from the parking area!

7 months ago

Awesome!

8 months ago

Beautiful overlook but be prepared for a steep uphill climb. Took me a bit longer then 20 mins because I had to stop and catch my breath. But the view.....well worth the work!

hiking
8 months ago

Great little trail, really enjoyed the walk. Was short, a good incline, and stunning views at the top. If you're taking your time and enjoying the Parkway, it's a must stop and see.

hiking
8 months ago

This place is absolutely beautiful!! We packed a picnic and went, the view is lovely and the drive up there is just as pretty! The hike up to the top is a little difficult, I wouldn't recommend if you have very bad knees but they do have benches to stop and rest along the way it's about a 20 minute walk from the parking area. It's a perfect day trip and coming down the mountain there's more trails and a place called sliding rock I recommend going to and bringing swim wear for sliding rock!

hiking
8 months ago

Simple but steep 20 minute hike up to the viewing deck. Beautiful views of the mountains.

9 months ago

Great views, but most of trail is paved.

hiking
Sunday, April 23, 2017

Expansive view of the area after a short, but steep hike to the top. It is worth stopping for the view. I would not recommend going too far out of your way just for the hike. Also, we lost cell service here - make sure to download directions to your next destination before coming here!

walking
Friday, April 14, 2017

Great view

hiking
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Great way to do team building exercises; could not have thought of a better way to start my season off.
Absolutely love being home!! #mtnlife

hiking
Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cold and windy today!!!

hiking
Monday, March 06, 2017

Nice, easy hike to some incredible views.

hiking
Thursday, December 29, 2016

Absolutely breath taking views, worth the steep incline.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

amazing views. definitely worth the incline!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Easy hike! Beautiful views!

hiking
Saturday, October 29, 2016

Great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains,

hiking
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

We hiked up to the Devil's Courthouse this morning. Unusual trail because it is paved almost the entire distance. It is quite a pull but it's only for about 1/2 mile to the top so it is bearable. Great views from the top in every direction!

hiking
Thursday, October 06, 2016

Nice views, steep but easy

hiking
Tuesday, October 04, 2016

A must when traveling on this section of the Parkway. Just 0.9 miles round trip and partially paved, but a nice little climb to a wonderful lookout point. And if you are lucky, maybe you will get to see some of the nesting peregrine falcons flying nearby.

Friday, September 16, 2016

This is not much of a trail at all. It's more like a very steep driveway. We decided to go just because we pass it so many times on the BRP, we figured we would see what all the hype was about. This would be good for tourist,but that's about it in my opinion. You can see much better views from the Cowee Overloook on the BRP and you wouldn't have to walk up a steep incline and end up in the middle of a group of people on a small enclosed overlook. But,it did have nice views for those who do not get to see them very often.

hiking
Saturday, September 10, 2016

Not much of a hike but good views from the top. Recommend for families and tourist.

hiking
Friday, August 19, 2016

The hike was well paved pretty much all the way to the top. The first half is steep but once you get over that leg it's smooth sailing. The hike is pretty short but the view is well worth it. One of my favorite little hikes on the blue ridge parkway.

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