The duel summit of Sam’s Knob is perched above a high country meadow and surrounded by towering Appalachian peaks. A beautiful drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway leads visitors to the Sam’s Knob Trailhead for a day of high country adventure.
Sam’s Knob stands tall above a high country meadow. The 6,050’ summit is located near the confluence of the high country’s holy trinity; The Pisgah National Forest, The Middle Prong Wilderness and The Shining Rock Wilderness. Views from the top of this semi-heath bald are expansive and interrupted only by the surrounding giants of the Great Balsam Mountains. The Sam’s Knob Summit Trail leads hikers through a charming meadow before winding its way up the sides of the peak and rewarding ramblers with panoramic views.
What Makes It Great
Begin your journey on the Sam’s Knob trail which will gain 570’ in elevation on its way to the summit. The first mile of trail brings you through a small patch of fragrant Balsam Firs and then gently down-hill to the edge of a pristine mountain meadow. Spring and fall offer spectacular color shows through this section of trail with wildflowers, and fall color abound. Saunter through this section, taking your time to enjoy the views, and to appreciate the aromatic wonder of a high country meadow. After 1.1 miles the Sam’s Knob Summit Trail will branch off to your right. Wind your way up the Summit trail through a series of switchbacks and a set of fortuitously placed wooden stairs. As you reach the summit plateau the trail will split in two directions. If you choose left you will be rewarded with views of the Middle Prong Wilderness and the Nantahala National Forest. The trail to the right offers views of the Shining Rock Wilderness, Black Balsam Knob, and a birds-eye view of the meadows below.
Who is Going to Love It
Want to embark on an overnighter in the high country? Bring your camping gear to enjoy a night amongst the stars on the summit. A few prized camp sites can also be found near Flat Laurel Creek on the lower edge of the meadow. These sites have easy access to water and ample trees to hang hammocks.
Love is always in the air in Appalachia. Bring a blanket, some nourishing food and that special someone for a picnic in the picturesque meadow blow Sam’s Knob. Take along all the goods but take extra care to pack them out!
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Asheville catch the Blue Ridge Parkway near Diamond Brand Outdoors’ new location. Stop in and pick up your last-minute supplies and then head south on the Parkway. Your path will wind up a beautiful mountain grade until the Parkway begins to parallel a towering ridgeline with expansive views of the Pisgah National Forest below. Just after mile marker 420 there will be a sign on your right, for the Black Balsam area. Take a right on this road (816) and follow it two miles until you reach the trailhead for Sam’s Knob.
There is no fee and rudimentary restroom facilities are available at the trailhead. The ecosystem around Sam’s Knob is highly visited and extra sensitive. Leave No Trace principles should be followed at all times in this fragile environment.