Sam's Knob
Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
hike difficulty
hike difficulty
Duration 2 hours
Elevation Gain 630 ft.
State North Carolina
Park/Forest Pisgah National Forest
Parking Fee None
Blaze None
Nearby City Brevard, NC
Trailhead Coord. 35.325923, -82.882034

Looking to ditch some of the crowds in the Black Balsam area of Pisgah National Forest? Sam’s Knob may be the trail for you. With views to rival those along on Black Balsam Knob and Tennant Mountain, this trail often gets overshadowed by the grandeur and allure of the more famous Art Loeb trail. This also makes for a quick and easy Southern Sixer.

This hike begins at the parking lot at the end of Black Balsam Knob road off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near mile marker 420. For the popularity of this area, the parking lot is rather small, so get there early if possible. The trail begins at the smaller gated path directly next to the restrooms. At intersections, trail posts list this trail as blue blazed, however, there are no actual blazes along the trail.

Immediately after heading out, a side trail to the left takes you to some camping spots. Follow the trail around the hillside, navigating wet muddy areas after rainfall. The trail will come out to an open view, with the imposing double hump of Sam’s Knob directly in front of you. Follow along the rocky, gravel ditch leading downhill, ignoring what looks like side trails going off into the grass. As you make your way out to the large grassy meadow, excellent views are to be had in all directions. Even if you don’t climb the mountain, this short trip is worth it.

As you reach the base of Sam’s Knob, the trail splits with the Sam’s Knob trail continuing downhill to the left toward Flat Laurel Creek and the Sam’s Knob Summit trail to the right. This intersection is well marked. From here it’s all uphill, gaining 410 feet over .65 miles which is a rate of over 600 feet per mile. A set of wooden steps marks the halfway point. Views along the way up are but a taste of the summit. Although the summit contains several side trails, the main deep cut ditch that you have been following will split, each direction to one of the two summits. Look for the large quartz boulder on the way to the north summit. Both offer 3600 views of the surrounding mountains, the grassy meadow, and the Blue Ridge Parkway weaving through the landscape.

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Green MarkerTrailhead   Blue MarkerPoint of Interest   Yellow MarkerDirections
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Trailhead Coordinates
35.325923, -82.882034 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°19.56, W 82°52.92 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 35°19'33'', W 82°52'55'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)

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Most auto GPS units use the Degree Minutes format as the default.

Further Directions
The parking lot is at the end of Black Balsam Knob Road, directly off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Ranger District Information
Pisgah Ranger District
1600 Pisgah Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

Cautions & Warnings
There are a few steep drop offs, so watch smaller children.
Much of this hike is exposed above the tree line. Take extra precautions during inclement weather. Expect strong winds at the summit.