Ivestor Gap Trail to Tennent Mountain and Black Balsam Knob Trail is a 3.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Canton, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.9 miles
688 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




nature trips




wild flowers



over grown


From the Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 420.2, turn right on FS 816 and drive to the end of the road where you can park, its approximately 1.3 miles

22 days ago

The Art Loeb Trail is heavily eroded from all the foot traffic, but the views from Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain are outstanding. We took our kids and even though the sign post near the parking lot states that the Art Loeb Spur is rated difficultit's a difficult, they had a great time. Once you reach the Investor Gap Trail head back to the parking lot (about half way point) it's pretty flat and wide. Lots of little springs along the Ivestor Gap section.

1 month ago


2 months ago

Amazing views, multiple peaks, and an easy to follow trail. Highly recommended.

2 months ago

Awesome trail. Trails aren’t marked but easy to navigate and all trails was spot on. Did this hike after a few days of heavy rain. Art Loeb was wet but easy to avoid dunking your feet. Investor Gap was a creek as others reviewed. Felt longer than 3.9 miles, but maybe due to the extra steps over the rain runoff. A great variety of terrain and views were amazing; will do this again for sure.

3 months ago

Beautiful views reward you after a pretty steep incline to the top of the summit. The trails at the top are not very well marked so have your AllTrails map out and ready. We accidentally took the art loeb trail back halfway before we realized we were headed the wrong direction. Still, despite incoming rain, we got gorgeous views and only a little bit wet. Will def come back here.

4 months ago

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!

4 months ago

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!!!

10 months ago

This is an awesome hike. My only complaint is they need a sign at the intersection (where the hike up to Tennent is on your left and the hike back to Balsaam through the bushes is on your right).

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Great hike with a great payoff on top of Tennant Mountain. The views offer shining rock to the west, looking glass to the east and everything in between. Great day hike. Highly suggested. If you want to change the perspective up a little take the Art Lobe out to Tennant Mountain and the graveyard ridge trail to the mountain to sea trail back to the trail head. Some waterfalls and views of the graveyard flats on this route. There is a little more elevation gain on this route on the way back to the trail head.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Awesome trail. Great Views. Some water on the start of the trail. Well worth the hike to the summit.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Starting from end of Black Balsam Road, Ivestor Gap trail is the flat trail to the right of the rest rooms that looks like a fire road. It can get water logged after a good rain. The trail is pretty flat until you get to the intersection with the Art Loeb Trail. Take a right uphill to Tennent Mountain through small trees and blueberry bushes. The trail is rocky and becomes a stream bed during heavy rains so watch your step going up. On the roof at Tennent Mountain, the world opens up with awesome 360 degree views of the Shining Rock Wilderness - quite a spectacle with all the hills, small mountains and far reaching views. From there you descend along the ridge line and then back up to Black Balsam Knob and then down again to the grassy knoll that intersects with the Art Loeb Spur trail which will take you back to the parking lot at the end of Black Balsam Road. Or you can proceed down the Art Loeb trail to the other parking area, but will have to walk down the road to your vehicle. Great loop and very popular on weekends and holidays.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Great! We did the loop from Art Loeb Trail
(Halfway up the road between the pkwy & parking lot) over Black Balsam Knob and Tennant Mtn., then took the Ivestor gap trail back towards the car (a nice 5 mile loop). There's an uphill Art Loeb spur trail nearby the parking lot that is def more fun than walking back on the road. Take it too. Very doable. Enjoy!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Easily one of my favorite hikes in the WNC region. Cool landscapes with consistent elevation gain to make the views even better.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I arrived with high expectations for this long anticipated hike and they were definitely met. The views while traveling along the lengthy exposed balds are unbelievable. I parked in the lot at the end of the road and walked back a little over half a mile to start on the Art Loeb Trail. It is only a few short minutes before you break out of the trees on the way up to the summit of Black Balsam Knob, the tallest in the immediate area at 6,214 feet. I think I enjoyed Tennent Mountain even more though, with its slightly more challenging climb and descent and, if possible, even more sweeping views (plus fewer people while I was there and a more remote feeling). I turned back after reaching the Ivestor Gap area. The return on the Ivestor Trail was easier with a much more level grade. Be sure to allow more time than usual for a hike of this moderate length so you can take in as much of the undulating scenery as possible!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

If you start on ivestor gap, I would recommend taking a right at the beginning to get up black balsam mtn. then descend from tennet mtn. At the intersection take a sharp left and you're back on ivestor to the parking lot.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Majestic views! Moderate hiking conditions due to narrow rock laden trails. While hiking it's often necessary to look down instead of forward to a solid tripping. At the summit the views are incredible making it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I'd definitely like to return on a clear day. Hike was easy, low impact in spite of trail erosion.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Good hike for almost anyone. Take water.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Great trail

Monday, April 03, 2017

Had to get back up to my favorite trail in the East. Picture perfect day, got to the trailhead at Graveyard trail and ascended upwards from Sam's Knob > Black Balsam Knob > Overlook to decent and climb to and from Tennent Mt. Temps in the mid 60's, light winds and surrounded by roaring mountains.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

The wind was ripping up here today. It was sunny and in the low 30's. Amazing vistas from bald to bald. One of my most enjoyable hikes in a long time. I'm adding pics as well, Happy Trails!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Amazing trail with great views along the whole thing. Moderate trail, with a few strenuous parts. Busy by the Black Balsam portion. Weather changes very quickly, so pack appropriately.

Friday, September 16, 2016

This is a beautiful trail. There are plenty of wide open views and the hike is a very enjoyable hike. It's best to go during the mid day,sometimes the fog is heavy and the views become obsolete. We really enjoyed this hike. Black Balsam Knob is one of our favorite places to go to,it has many trails to explore.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gorgeous views and a very enjoyable hike

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Beautiful views from top , go early to avoid thunderstorms, parts of trail going to top are badly eroded.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Wear waterproof footwear/boots if you have them. Part of the trail is overgrown and you can't see your footing. It's easy to roll your ankles. The old road is like a creek bed and was pretty wet. Amazing wide open views, what an amazing hike! Go early and avoid crowds and afternoon rainstorms. We parked in parking lot which by the way has awful-horrible bathroom facilities. From the parking lot we back walked uphill down the road we drove on to the art loeb trail, (where all the cars are paralleled parked), ascended to black balsam knob first, then Tennent mtn then followed trail back to parking lot. After which we did Sam knob trail which shares that parking lot.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Absolutely fantastic hike. Beautiful views and wide open! I adore this trail.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Amazing views. Get there early to avoid people.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Breathtaking views. Love Black Balsam and can't wait to hike it more thoroughly again.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

This wonderful hike starts on the Ivestor Gap trail,your elevation is 5800 feet, this is an old rocky road that is quite easy to hike, enjoy the magnificent views of Sam's Knob and many other very high mountains. You will follow Ivestor Gap for about 1.7 miles until you come to the Art Loeb Trail. Make a hard turn to the right on Art Loeb, your hike has immediately become moderate as you will ascend the mountain in a rocky trench, continue your climb for about a half mile and you will arrive at the summit of Tennent Mountain. Be sure to check out the plague dedicated to Gaillard Stoney Tennent , who according to the plaque, "established organized hiking in North Carolina", after checking out all of the summit views you will descend Tennent, continuing on Art Loeb, you will then start climbing again in some pretty rocky trenches, then descending and then climbing again until you get to the summit of this fantastic bald! The views are incredible!Be sure to see the benchmark medallion on the summit. You can now head on down Black Balsam and in about a half mile you will arrive at a dense balsam forest, just a short walk through the woods and you are back at the forest service road, follow the road downhill to the parking lot

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