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Green Knob Trail is a 5.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Burnsville, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.5 miles Elevation Gain: 2,437 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

Awesome day hike and pretty views from Black Mountain Campground trailhead.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
scramble
washed out
11 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

We liked this trail. I clocked 6 miles there and back to the fire tower with 2400 for total climbing. It was about 2100’ to get up there with an extra 300 on the way down. Steep at times, but doable - hard is accurate from the steepness perspective. Not very technical with some rock scrambling at about 2.5 miles. There was a washed out section 1/2 mile in, but it had some logs put there by the trail maintainers. Very well marked with white diamonds. Nice to have trekking poles for the way down and bring your baskets as it is a bit soft. We went on a dreary and cloudy day and there was 0 vis at the tower. Not much to see on the way up. A couple of openings with some views but basically walking through the woods.

hiking
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

This trail was great! Well marked and easy to follow. It was a trek though, so unless you feel like you are 7 on the good shape scale (best being 10), this is not the trail for you. Also, I have no idea who marked this as 5.5 miles. I started the trail with .78 miles on my Fitbit and then ended with about 7.4, so way more than 5.5. For those looking for something to do during quarantine, this trail is perfect though! Saw about 8 people the whole time and there is space at the top for most people to space out 6 feet apart. Have fun adventuring!

hiking
muddy
scramble
3 months ago

Nice drive to start trail. Enjoyed the river, small towns, etc. Mt Mitchel is so dominant as you approach! Green knob trail was quite the hike! Lots of steep inclines. Cardio city! Loved viewing the mountains ..... must remember to look up occasionally we took numerous breaks . The weather was perfect, I believe around 59/60. Got to fire tower less then 2 hours.... I think . May have been just a little under that. I feel that anyone with some physical ability could do this just remember it’s OK to break..... breath , and look around. It was nice to see people out on trail..... but of course we gave everyone their space

hiking
4 months ago

Tough but a rewarding hike! It’s steep for some ways up but the view at the top is beautiful. Unfortunately, we got up there just before sunset so the fire tower was closed. That didn’t matter much we were able to catch a fantastic view. However, be sure to go up earlier please. On any hike, the way back down is much more difficult in the dark.

hiking
6 months ago

I hiked this trail on a warm Christmas Eve and did not see one other person on the whole trail. This trail is tough due to how steep it is and because it was wet and covered in leaves, very slippery in some spots. Near the summit, the trail forks and if you go to the right, you’ll see the observation tower. As others mentioned, it is locked but you can still get good views from the steps. If you turn left at the fork, the trail takes you down to the blue ridge parkway. I thought the descent was more difficult than going up, because of the slippery leaf cover (it rained the day before I hiked it). Also it was hard on the knees, I would suggest a walking stick or trekking poles. Very tough hike as far as the workout you’ll get, I found it tougher than mount Mitchell even thought it’s shorter in length. If you are looking for a good workout and less crowds, this is the trail for you, however, if you want views I would probably skip this one.

hiking
snow
7 months ago

Definitely one of the steepest trails I’ve ever done. Roughly 3 miles to the outlook at the top but it feels longer. Went in mid-November so there were plenty of leaves on the ground and some snow towards the top that made it tricky especially on the way down. Took about 3.5 hours round trip. Great leg workout if that’s what you’re looking for. View from the top is beautiful, but the observation tower door is locked which is a bummer but you still get a great view from the stairs leading up to it. Only passed two groups of people the whole time. One group did have a dog (big German Shepherd) that seemed to have no problem with the trail but if you bring a small dog or one that is not used to rough terrain you’ll likely have to carry them for at least part of it. Overall great hike that I would definitely do again.

hiking
7 months ago

There were a couple fell trees over the trail but nothing you can’t climb over. Great views near the top but the door to the observation tower was locked. When your almost to the summit the trail splits...right to the tower and left to the blue ridge parkway. Both have a great view!

hiking
7 months ago

We certainly agreed with the hard rating for the last ~0.75 mile. Took us about 4 hours, but there was significant slippery leaf coverage that slowed us down. Great views at the top! Nice quiet trail if you want a good leg workout.

hiking
Fri Jun 21 2019

Steep, bring plenty of water. Great views from the top. Hiked on a Friday afternoon and did not see another person the entire hike. Nice contrast to the traffic on the Mt. Mitchell trail.

hiking
scramble
Thu Jun 06 2019

Steep but worth it. Used to be able to enter the overlook tower (previously a fire tower). Bring water. Bring lunch. Bring layers. Likely to be alone unless you see someone coming down from the Parkway side, and you wonder why you didn’t do this. Nice renovations going on at the start at the Black Mountain Campground.

hiking
Mon Feb 18 2019

This trail is steep and a couple up hills on the way back. It was really great. We didn’t see another person on a Saturday. Pretty views at the top. Took about 2:45 with a long break at the top, but we were cruising. Great trail.

hiking
Sun Nov 18 2018

Just spending the day at Black Mountain campground hiking all the trails! Magnificent day!

Thu Nov 08 2018

We parked a car on the BRP and hiked down to campground. Very enjoyable and relaxing since at 75 not trying to set any new records for endurance. Sorta gone past that and like to stop a lot and check out wildflowers, views and take pics.

backpacking
Wed Sep 05 2018

It was magnificent!! An all day adventure for sure and the views are amazing. We started out early on a February morning, the air temperature was 26 degrees, no clouds in the sky, and we picked the perfect day. 200 yards into our hike we were already taking off our jackets and trying to cool off, the trail is nearly straight up. Take lots of water and snacks and enjoy this one, it’s an experience you’ll never forgot... we loved it!!

Tue Sep 04 2018

I underestimated how steep this trail would be. You can also access this trail at the head at the campground on S Toe Rd. The hard rating is true, but I loved the challenging hike. The tower at the top was a highlight. Would love to come back to this trail again!

hiking
Tue May 08 2018

Bummed the lookout tower was locked! Very steep climb up, def felt it in my legs the next few days, but overall the views were nice.

hiking
Thu Apr 19 2018

You can’t go into the lookout!! Major bummer. One of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done, all uphill the whole time. If you want a good workout this is it. Go prepared a lot of water and give yourself a lot of time to complete

hiking
Sun Aug 20 2017

We took a trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway to get to the tower, it was a short 1.1 mile round trip, easy. Check out my full review with directions and pictures. http://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/greenknobfiretower/

Sun Jul 16 2017

Such a hard trail! Great hike overall. We didn't make it to the to because of a thunderstorm. Getting struck by lightning isn't my idea of a good time. We may try it again sometime.

Fri Jun 16 2017

Tower is closed but you *can* climb up the side if you're feeling bold ;) Otherwise the long trail is not worth it. Take the short mile trail from BRP to check it out.

Wed Jul 13 2016

Hard

hiking
Thu May 29 2014

I am surprised by the reviews which call this hike grueling or brutal. We hiked it on a warm day from the campground to the tower, 2 hours, 12 minutes. The trail has lots of stumps and some rocks, but I only used my hands once. A few views of Mt. Mitchell and the other hills along the way, and an excellent view at the top. really nice woods full of rhododendron and mountain laurel in bloom, There are some steep climbs coming and going, but if two elderly New Yorkers can do this, maybe you could, too.

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