6.8 mi - Difficult - The first half of this portion of the Art Loeb Trail is perhaps the most spectacular. Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain both exceed 6,000 feet in elevation. Grass balds provide outstanding views during clear weather, but at this high elevation you can expect cold, rainy weather much of the year. A beautiful 5-mile loop may be made by combining the Art Loeb Trail with the Ivestor Gap Trail (#101). At Ivestor Gap the Art Loeb Trail enters the Shining Rock Wilderness while remaining on or near the ridgeline, so additional views are available as it goes in and out of trees. Be prepared to practice map reading and compass skills, since there are no blazes or signs in the wilderness area. Wood fires are not permitted in the Wilderness, and a group size limit of 10 is enforced. These measures are in place to enhance solitude and protect the primitive character that wilderness areas are set aside for. Please help foster this by staying as quiet as possible; taking rest breaks out of sight of the trail; and, whenever possible, using existing campsites—also out of sight of the trail. This section of the Art Loeb Trail traverses a narrow alpine-like ridge aptly named The Narrows before ending at Deep Gap, where Cold Mountain Trail (#141) can be accessed.
Approximate Elevation Change: 1,000 feet
At a Glance
||Hiking Trail: foot traffic only.
||US Forest Service
Directions: From the Pisgah District Ranger Station/Visitor Center parking lot, turn right (north) onto US 276; proceed 14 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway; travel south to FS 816 at milepost 420. Park at the crest of the hill on FS 816, where the trail crosses the road and paved, roadside parking is available.