Black Balsam Knob is a point of interest on the Art Loeb Trail in Pisgah National Forest. The trailhead for this hike is on Forest Service Road 816, around milepost 420 on the Blueridge Parkway. There are two places to access the trail from this road. Park where the Art Loeb Trail crosses the road and take the trail to the right for a short 1/2 mile hike up to the top. You will gain about 400 feet in elevation. The trail winds over ridge lines and several grassy mountain balds to the knob. From the top enjoy views of Cold Mountain to the north, Looking Glass Rock to the southeast, and Shining Rock and Mount Pisgah to the northeast. On very clear days, Mount Mitchell can be seen 45 miles northeast. The balds and knobs along the Art Loeb make great places to fly a kite. I can’t think of a better way to spend a breezy spring day!
The Art Loeb Trail continues on into the Shining Rock Wilderness beyond Black Balsam. The trails aren’t marked and get tricky from here. Make sure to take a map, compass and a friend!