Black Balsam Knob Trail Hike: A Scenic Trek in the Mountains

Looking out over the Black Balsam Knob Trail as it traces the ridgeline in the distance

Looking to embark on a hike that boasts both breathtaking views and a rigorous journey? Look no further than the Black Balsam Knob Trail Hike situated in North Carolina. This particular trail is highly favored among locals and travelers alike, but what sets it apart from the rest? 

Within a span of a little over three miles, the Black Balsam Knob Trail Hike takes hikers to the peak of Black Balsam Knob, standing at 6,214 feet, providing a panoramic vista of the encompassing mountain ranges. While en route, one will traverse through dense forests, open meadows, and jagged rock formations. Despite the arduous trek, it is an expedition that is surely worth undertaking. 

But, do not simply take our word for it. With its awe-inspiring views and multifaceted terrain, it is of no surprise that this trail is immensely popular. Prepare your hiking boots and brace yourself for an unforgettable escapade.

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The quest for a hiking trail that provides an exquisite panoramic view of the mountains ends with the Black Balsam Knob Trail Hike, nestled in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina. This popular trail beckons adventurers with its picturesque mountainous trek. Delving deeper into the captivating beauty of the Black Balsam Knob Trail Hike, this article aims to equip you with all the requisite information for planning your own expedition.

Check Out the Hike on AllTrails!

Trailhead & Parking Area

To initiate the Black Balsam Knob Trail Hike, proceed towards the Black Balsam Parking Area, which acts as the trailhead. The parking area is positioned off the Blue Ridge Parkway and can be accessed with ease via automobile. It is important to know that there is no charge to park at the Black Balsam Parking Area, which remains operational throughout the year. 

In the peak season, the parking area is prone to becoming exceedingly overcrowded, hence it is suggested that hikers make an early arrival to reserve a parking spot. Furthermore, the parking lot may be inaccessible during the winter season due to harsh weather conditions, hence it is recommended to check ahead of time before setting out on your hiking expedition.

The Hike

The Black Balsam Knob Trail Hike commences at the designated parking area and swiftly begins its ascent up the mountain. The pathway is meticulously maintained and consists of a dirt-laden passage that meanders through the verdant trees. During the hike, one will gradually perceive awe-inspiring views of the encircling mountains. It is highly recommended to pause and relish the scenery along the way. 

After hiking for roughly half a mile, one will finally reach the pinnacle of the first peak. From this point, an unobstructed panoramic view of the nearby mountains will be visible. It is crucial to take a moment to appreciate the majestic view before continuing the trek. 

Next, the trail gradually slopes down towards a small valley before ascending once again towards the apex of Black Balsam Knob. Upon reaching the summit, one is greeted with a magnificent 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. The vista from the top is genuinely captivating and is an absolute necessity for anyone touring the area. 

After absorbing the breathtaking view from the peak, the trail then descends back towards the parking area. The entire hike typically requires 1-2 hours to complete, depending on one’s pace.

Best Time to Hike

The Black Balsam Knob Trail Hike is accessible for trekking all year long; however, the optimal time to commence the trek is during the fall season when the leaves change into a vibrant spectrum of hues. During this period, the hike endows unparalleled panoramic vistas of the autumnal topography that photographers hold dear. 

If you intend to embark on the trail during the summertime, it is imperative to brace yourself for scorching temperatures and sporadic thunderstorms during the afternoon. The weather in the mountains is prone to abrupt fluctuations, so it is a good idea to equip yourself with an abundance of water and sunscreen to avoid dehydration and to shield your skin from the sun’s scorching rays. Additionally, it is advisable to carry rain gear to prepare for abrupt weather changes.

What to Bring

When hiking the Black Balsam Knob Trail, it’s important to be prepared for the elements. Here are some essential items to bring with you:

  • Water: Be sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during your hike.
  • Snacks: Bring some snacks to keep your energy levels up during the hike.
  • Sunscreen: Even on cloudy days, the sun can still be strong at high altitudes.
  • Hat and Sunglasses: Protect your face and eyes from the sun and wind.
  • Jacket: The temperature can drop quickly at higher altitudes, so be sure to bring a jacket or other warm layers.

Safety Tips

While the Black Balsam Knob Trail Hike is a relatively easy hike, it’s important to take some safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay on the trail: The trail is well-marked, so be sure to stay on the designated path to avoid getting lost.
  • Watch your step: The trail can be rocky and uneven in some places, so be sure to watch your step to avoid tripping or falling.
  • Check the weather: Before heading out on the hike, check the weather forecast to ensure that you’re prepared for any potential storms or extreme temperatures.
  • Leave no trace: Help keep the trail clean and beautiful by packing out all of your trash and leaving the area better than you found it.


The Black Balsam Knob Trail Hike presents an excellent opportunity to relish the splendid North Carolina mountain scenery. This trail offers hikers of all skill levels a moderate level of difficulty coupled with stunning panoramic vistas.

To ensure that you fully enjoy this hiking experience, it is crucial to prepare adequately by bringing essential items such as water, energy-giving snacks, and cozy layers of clothing to guarantee your comfort and safety throughout the hike. In addition, you should take several safety precautions, including informing someone of your itinerary, staying on the designated trail, and carrying a map or compass to help you navigate in case you lose your way.

By adhering to these simple yet critical steps, you can immerse yourself in a memorable hiking escapade that spotlights the natural exquisiteness of the Pisgah National Forest and the awe-inspiring panoramas of the Black Balsam Knob Trail.


Most frequent questions and answers

The Black Balsam Knob Trail Hike is relatively easy and is suitable for hikers of all skill levels.

The entire hike should take around 1-2 hours to complete, depending on your pace.

Yes, the trail is dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friend along for the adventure.

No, there is no fee to park at the Black Balsam Parking Area.

The best time to hike the Black Balsam Knob Trail is in the fall when the leaves are changing colors, but the trail can be hiked year-round.

No, there are no restroom facilities along the trail or at the trailhead, so be sure to plan accordingly before starting your hike.

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