Meet at Ingles in Arden at 8am, meet and greet, and set up the carpooling. We will leave promptly at 8:15am.
Plan to carpool, there is limited parking. Also if you ride with someone, have cash to give for gas $$$$.
Trails in the loop: #108 Art Loeb Spur (The quickest way to the summit of 6214' Black Balsam Knob itself is via the Art Loeb trail at the gap. This is a walk of about 1/2 mile which gains about 400' in elevation. It passes through open, grassy and rocky mountain meadows and this short walk is highly recommended!) to #146 Art Loeb (This is only part of the Art Loeb trail, it skirts Black Balsam knob, but we will actually go over the knob, and then go over Tennent Mountain. The Art Loeb trail is a narrow, single wide trail that crosses over the tops of the mountains, it is rocky and is the most difficult part of the hike.) to #101 Ivester Gap (which will take us back to the parking area, and is the easiest part of the hike, although the roadbed is rocky.)
Trail Distance: Approx. 5+/- miles (Don't hold me to the mileage)
Type of Trail: Loop
Difficulty: DIFFICULT to easy
We will be stopping frequently to pick blueberries if there are any ready.
The Black Balsam area includes some of the most spectacular mountain balds in the Southern Appalachians, including Black Balsam Knob, Sam Knob, and Tennent Mountain. These treeless mountaintops draw people from afar due to their sweeping views and alpine-like appearance.
Black Balsam Knob, also known as Black Balsam Bald, is the second highest mountain in the Great Balsam Mountains. The Great Balsams are within the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are part of the Appalachian Mountains. It is the 23rd highest of the 40 mountains in North Carolina over 6000 feet.
The top of the mountain is a grassy bald that affords a panoramic view. The origin of grassy balds in southern Haywood county is a result of extensive clear-cut logging and locomotive fires in 1925 and 1942. These fires burned deep down into the mineral-rich topsoil slowing reforestation or stopping it altogether. Examples of this cannot only be found on Black Balsam knob, but many of its neighboring peaks and ridges. These unique features contribute greatly to the area's popularity, but the heavy amount of foot traffic also does further damage to this already fragile ecosystem.
Tennent Mountain in the Great Balsams is a brilliant grassy bald with a rocky summit situated in Pisgah National Forest. The relatively easy hike on the well maintained Art Loeb trail offers some of the most spectacular mountain vistas in the Southeast.
There is a large summit marker at the top dedicated to Gaillard Stoney Tennent [masked]) who, according to the plaque, “established organized hiking in North Carolina.”
RAIN NOTE: The rain chances are 60 or 70%. Bring appropriate gear. I MIGHT CANCEL or shorten the hike if the weather is really bad.