Sam's Knob and Little Sam Loop is a 9.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Pisgah Forest, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length9.3 miElevation gain1,358 ftRoute typeLoop
BackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsDog friendlyViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeOver grown
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Reviews (55)
Photos (1,632)
Activities (49)
Completed (182)
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Jennifer G
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Hiking

Great overlooks...rocky but good workout!

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Kassia Bolick
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Hiking

Like others had said, it’s muddy. Lots of water that runs through the trail. It was nice overall.

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Andy Korczynski
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Hiking
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Greg Tyree
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Hiking

I modified this trail to include Black Balsam Knob and ended up doing 13.4 miles. The views from Sam's Knob and Black Balsam are just overwhelming in how beautiful they are, and I ended up doing the second half of the loop mostly in the dark. If I were to do it again, knowing this, I'd probably go back down Flat Laurel Creek trail instead of doing the Little Sam and Mountains to Sea sections of the hike. These trails were pretty soggy and without the payoff of Devil's Courthouse there really wasn't a reason to do these versus just returning on the drier trail. All of this being said, this hike is one of the best experiences I've had hiking in North Carolina, and there is something about hiking it in the winter that is absolutely preternatural. The ridges in the mountains were so defined and prominent that it made everything else worth it. My only regret is that I didn't get started earlier so that I could have covered more ground. I'll definitely be back to do this one again.

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Emily McCloy
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Hiking

We accessed off Flat Laurel Creek on a long 12-mi trek. This trail is really wet and muddy (which makes it more fun). The view was really pretty. Continue through the field below the knob to get over to Black Balsam Knob for even better views.

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Andrea Kutyana
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Hiking
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Kevin Click
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Hiking
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Jill Masten-Byers
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Hiking
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Tom D
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HikingMuddy

Nice hike but very muddy. Creek crossings guaranteed wet feet. Very popular hiking area lots of hikers about.

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Sandy Hunter
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Hiking
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Ethan Burroughs
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HikingMuddyRocky
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AD Barnes
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HikingMuddyRocky

I walked from the parking lot clockwise on the trail. Flat Laurel Creek from the parking lot is a stream bed for a big part of the way. Then on to Little Sam which wet but better. To MTS trail and Route 215 to Flat Laurel Creek to Sam's Knob. Laurel Creek on the Sam side is great. Enjoyed the seeing the creek & falls along the way.

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Joseph McKee
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Hiking

Hwy 215 to Sam’s Knob to Black Balsam Knob to Devil’s Courthouse back to 215

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Sara Coplai
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Hiking

An excellent hike for views but the trail can be challenging to find in certain areas.

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John Brubaker
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Hiking

It certainly felt longer than 9.3 miles. Great trail, though. Wonderful scenery. Pack a lunch, as this will take 5 hours or more at a relaxed pace. The MST portion is more challenging than the old road, and the hike up Sam Knob, while not too difficult, requires some care. Poles were a big help.

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Angel Coleman
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HikingMuddyOver grownRockyScramble

This is one of my favorite trails. You will cross over the water a few times, but as long as the water levels are down, there are rocks to help keep you dry. We saw a handful of sites along the trail to camp at next to the water. One had a few trees where bears made their presence known, so keep an eye out. In some areas, the trail is so over grown that you can't really see what's under it, then some areas where it's barely wide enough for a person to make it through without getting hit in the face. We only saw 4 people the whole time on the trail. The trail isn't marked very well, so I'd take a few pictures of the map before heading out. We also went to the Devil's Courthouse and it is well worth the hike up if you have the time. It only added about 35 mins to our time, and 10 of it was taking in the view. It's a little more then 10 miles according to my fitbit. If you have at least half a day, this hike is well worth it.

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Elizabeth Hesson
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Hiking
First to Review

Hike had a bit of everything, wildflowers, views, solitude in certain stretches, even stopped for a dip and lunch along Laurel Creek. Elevation gain was overall mild enough to rate it as Moderate, but it was a long day hike, which we were looking for. Over grown in some spots, but I guess that comes when asking for solitude. FitBit clocked this at closer to 11 miles, but we did have to park down the road and walk. Would consider doing this again and camping at one of the many sites available along this route.

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Rebecca McMahan
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JP Furnas
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Hiking
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Abigail Medlock
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Hiking
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Curtis Hagenau
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Running
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Rick Lawrence
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Hiking
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William Cook
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Hiking
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Vivien Hudson
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Hiking
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Anita Humphries
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Hiking
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