Sam Knob Trail

MODERATE 50 reviews
#24 of 125 trails in

Sam Knob Trail is a 2.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Canton, North Carolina that features a waterfall 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.

DISTANCE
2.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
587 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

You can also do Sam's Knob Loop by combining the Sam Knob Trail, Little Sam Knob Trail, Mountain-to-Sea Trail and finally the Flat Laurel Creek Trail passing several waterfalls and creeks along the way. Take the short spur off Sam Knob Trail to the top of Sam Knob reaching 6068 Feet.

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
30 days ago

Great hike! Awesome views!

1 month ago

Short easy hike with spectacular views throughout

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great day hike featuring stunning overlooks, a cool creekside section, and plenty of places to explore off trail. Be sure to get started early. The hike begins at one of the busiest trailheads in the area, and its often impossible to park on summer and shoulder season weekend afternoons. Fortunately most of the visitors head the opposite direction towards Black Balsam Knob and Tennant Mountain, and for good reason. That section of the Art Loeb Trail may be the most awe inspiring trail section in the state, and I highly recommend it for your first introduction to the Shining Rock Wilderness. If you have already checked Tenant Mountain off your list, Sam Knob is a great place to start your next adventure. This hike never drops below a mile in elevation, so be prepared for chilly mornings even in the depths of summer, and with exposed rock faces and high elevations always be prepared for sudden turns in the weather. Bring a rain Jacket and sunscreen.

This is probably the easiest hike of any significance in the Shining Rock Wilderness. Still, this is a wilderness area so trail markings are few and there are muddy sections and overgrown areas, especially in the summer. The trailhead is located to the right of the bathrooms at the main parking area. Follow it for a quarter mile, then down the stairs, for your first stunning vista, an open meadow surrounded by peaks and full of wildflowers. Find an intersection on the opposite side of the meadow. Take a right towards Sam Knob. You will return here and follow the trail to the left after the summit.

Climbing to the summit is the most strenuous section of the hike. I would rate it moderate. In the summer the vegetation greatly limits the views early on, but don't be discouraged. As you near the top sight lines clear and provide terrific views of surrounding ridges and peaks. Sam Knob is a grassy heath bald covered with head high grasses, blueberries, and blackberries. Trails are numerous across the knob leading to camp sites and a few rock overlooks with stunning views to the West and North. Take time to explore, but the vegetation is high and thick so long pants are a good idea and be careful to keep your bearings.

Head back down the same way you came up and reach the intersection with Flat Laurel Creek Trail near the meadow. Continue strait and head down the wooden stairs towards the creek. The vegetation changes as you head into the cool shady watershed. Be prepared for some muddy hiking even in dry weather. The Creek is gorgeous, and campsites abound. After you cross the creek the trail comes to a T, with the Flat Laurel Creek Trail continuing to the left. You cross back over the creek about a quarter of a mile up, then continue through a Balsam grove. The trail opens up the last half mile with blueberries and blackberries bordering the rocky incline. This is the most boring part of the hike, with a steady incline and a couple of views of where you have already hiked. You finish on the opposite end of the parking lot from where you started.

hiking
1 month ago

We started our hike in flat laurel creek then cut across to go to the top of Sam Knob. The views were great. Our dog loved this hike. Trail was a little overgrown near the top, but based on other hikes this has been fairly common as you reach "peaks".

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1 month ago

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2 months ago

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2 months ago

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2 months ago

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3 months ago

3 months ago

Short hike with great views the whole way. Some stairs and big steps from washout. Great place to catch a sunset!

hiking
3 months ago

This is a spectacular short hike...from the walk down to and across the beautiful meadow with Sam Knob and Little Sam Knob in front of you, to the climb up through a couple interesting switchbacks (while at times hearing the water cascading in Flat Laurel Creek far below), to reaching the exposed 6,040 foot summit area with amazing views in all directions. I was fortunate to have a beautiful day with puffy clouds and only a little haze, as well as a number of blooming rhododendron bushes and a few colorful flaming azaleas. The trail starts just to the right of the bathrooms in the Black Balsam parking lot at the end of the road. Get there early if possible...spots go fast with all the wonderful nearby trails.

hiking
3 months ago

Short hike

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

3 months ago

Great short and relatively easy hike. Fell in love with the views.

3 months ago

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4 months ago

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4 months ago

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4 months ago