Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide - Black Balsam

  • Parking can be an issue. At 9 AM on Memorial Day, it was almost unavailable; by 11 AM, even the extra pull-offs about 1/4 mile before the trailhead were full.

Drive Guide - Black Balsam Knob from Green Knob

  • Duration: 0:15, ? miles
  • Google Maps URL from Ashford Dunwoody Rd and I-285 at 33.91998, -84.33898:
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: Blue Ridge Parkway closed in winter. KI4SVM says “often access from the side Hwy 215 is available… BRP’s infoline… is highly recommended - 828-298-0398.” Check the BRP Closure Map.
  • Directions:
    • West on BRP (right, from the trail coming down from Green Knob) and go 5.7
    • R on Black Balsam Rd (Road #815) at BRP mile 420.2 and go 0.7. Paved but many potholes.
      • Trailhead is on the right.

Drive Guide - Black Balsam Knob from Atlanta

  • Duration: 3:15, 173 miles
  • Google Maps URL from Ashford Dunwoody Rd and I-285 at 33.91998, -84.33898: http://goo.gl/maps/A8P0g
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: Blue Ridge Parkway closed in winter. KI4SVM says “often access from the side Hwy 215 is available… BRP’s infoline… is highly recommended - 828-298-0398.”
  • Directions:
    • I-285 E
    • I-85 N and go 16.6
    • I-985/GA-365 N and go 52
    • US-441 N and go 44
    • R on US-64 E and go 20
    • Ramp for 64 E and go 13.1
    • L on BRP access rd and go 0.5
    • L on Blue Ridge Parkway and go 23.3
    • L on Black Balsam Rd at BRP mile 420.2 and go 0.7
      • Trailhead is on the right.
  • Food
    • Last McDonalds: 7512 Skyland Dr Sylva, NC (About 1.4 miles from exit); exit 85 (US-23 Business) on US-64.
    • Penultimate McDonalds: 329 Franklin Plaza, Franklin, NC (poor service)
    • Before that: Clayton, GA (busy on Saturday mornings)
    • Before that: Cornelia, on Level Grove Rd (just BEFORE Cornelia)

Drive Guide - Black Balsam Knob to Atlanta

  • Duration: 3:15, 177 miles
  • Google Maps URL from Ashford Dunwoody Rd and I-285 at 33.91998, -84.33898: http://goo.gl/maps/6RhMP
  • Directions:
    • Drive SE (back toward BRP) and go 0.7
    • R on BRP and go 23.3
    • R onto exit for US-23 and go 0.5
    • R on US-23 S and go 13
    • Ramp to US-441 S and go 20.5
    • Ramp to US-23 S and go 21.8
    • R on US-23 S and go 11
    • R on US-23 S and go 40
    • S on I-985 S
    • S on I-85 S
    • Ramp to I-285 W

Trail Guide

  • Duration: 0:30 up, 0:25 down, 0.7 miles
  • Navigation
    • Follow the heavily eroded Art Loeb Trail about 1/2 mile through the forest to reach the alpine meadows. Cross the first Knob and continue to Black Balsam. Deeply eroded dirt trail plus some walks on exposed granite.
  • Trailhead altitude: About 5895’
  • Summit altitude: 6214’
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Trailhead: 35.320654,-82.876193 (along the road - not at the parking for the restroom)
    • Summit: 35.328, -82.8746

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree: no
  • Space to guy mast: yes
  • Cell coverage: 2014: No cell; APRS OK. 2016: AT&T Cell + internet
  • Unique features: a bald bald.

Plan-B Candidates