Tennent Mountain via Black Balsam Knob and Art Loeb Trail

MODERATE 136 reviews

Tennent Mountain via Black Balsam Knob and Art Loeb Trail is a 3.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Balsam Grove, North Carolina that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and nature trips.

Distance: 3.7 miles Elevation Gain: 784 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

running

forest

views

wildlife

Beautiful hike. Definitely difficult on some parts. Lots of people so arrive early. There are a couple of sections were you're scaling short but moderately steep exposed rock faces, but there are sufficient ridges and steps built in that they are easily manageable. Once you reach the knob there's a nice outcropping for sitting and taking in the views. There's a plaque at the knob commemorating Art Loeb. You'll notice that the summit of this mountain is actual several yards beyond the knob.

Beautiful hike. Definitely difficult on some parts. Lots of people so arrive early.

Best hike I’ve done in this area!

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

This was a great hike. I would say this has the best view payoff for the effort of any hike I've done; it reminds me very much of the Mount Rogers (VA) hike from Massey Gap in terms of the landscape and great views, but was much more enjoyable for me than that hike because the views were better, the length of the trail, and the location (the only down side is that there's no ponies here!). I started at the Black Balsam trailhead from Black Balsam Road, which has great paved roadside parking. You start out by going through a fir forest for about a tenth of a mile or so, and this setting in itself is pretty cool. Not long after you emerge from the forest you'll see Black Balsam Knob rising up directly in front of you. Then you start climbing moderately and reach a series of rock outcroppings, each of which has just breathtaking views in all directions. You'll reach something of a minor summit, then descend for a short bit before the last little climb to Black Balsam Knob. There are a couple of sections were you're scaling short but moderately steep exposed rock faces, but there are sufficient ridges and steps built in that they are easily manageable. Once you reach the knob there's a nice outcropping for sitting and taking in the views. There's a plaque at the knob commemorating Art Loeb. You'll notice that the summit of this mountain is actual several yards beyond the knob; someone had pitched a small tent right up on the summit area. For this hike I chose to continue on to Tennent Mountain since it is nearly a three hour drive for me to visit this area. Once you get past BBK and start to ascend again slightly, you'll notice the trail forks. The right side appears to go straight up and over the next apex, while the left fork kind of goes around the ridge on the left. I chose to go to the left because it was much more worn and appeared to be the main trail. Despite that, the trail rounded a bend and quickly entered dense thicket. The trail was clear, but wildflowers and other vegetation tightly lined the trail (leaving a width of about 18-24") and ranged from waist to shoulder height for me (5'5"). This lasts for a good half mile or so, just be aware. It made me very glad I had worn pants! There were literally hundreds of bees but I had no trouble so long as I passed peacefully and tried to disturb the vegetation as little as possible. When you finally emerge from the vegetation, you'll see Tennent's summit rising sharply right ahead. It is a quick and somewhat steep jaunt up to the summit; there is a really nice outcropping area a few yards before the true summit that makes for a great resting/lunch spot and gives true 360 degree views. I thought of continuing on and making a loop by meeting up with Ivestor Gap trail to head back to Black Balsam Road, but I couldn't pass up another chance to take in the scenery and returned on the BBK trail. The views were just as spectacular, if not moreso, on the return trip. Be aware that this trail is 95% sun-exposed, save for the brief start in the fir forest and a couple of quickly passes under vegetative canopy if you go on to Tennent Mountain. It was a nice day in the mid-upper 70's but I was scorching by the end just from so much direct sun. The trail was in great condition, but there hadn't been much rain in a while. I could already see the beginnings of leaves changing colors in the upper elevations, too! You can easily spot Looking Glass Rock, Mount Pisgah, Sam Knob, Frying Pan Mountain/tower, Cedar Mountain, Shining Rock, and countless others along the way if you go all the way to Tennent; in my opinion, however, Black Balsam is the cream of the crop all on its own. This would be a great trail in spring/early summer for plant and wildflower enthusiasts.

Great hike with amazing views (even with the blanket of mist below). Beautiful flowers all along with lots of bumble bees. Blueberry bushes throughout as well, great for foraging!

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Beautiful views and not too long of a hike! Really great if you want to have a quick lunch hike. I would continue on to Tennett mountain for the full adventure. I know they say leave no trace, but I left a “trace of hope” up there :)

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recorded Recording - Oct 4, 11:14 AM

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