View – the trail ends at the Green Knob Fire Tower which is now closed, however the summit area at the base of the tower provides a good view of Mount Mitchell, the Black Mountain Range and the South Toe River Valley. The trail to the summit has a couple of good view spots of the same views plus a view of the area north and east.
Hike Profile – the out and back hike follows the Green Knob Trail from the Black Mountain Campground to the summit of Green Knob at 5052 feet. The Green Knob trail runs along a rolling ridge line that has several very steep ascents. You have the option of making the hike an easier end to end hike by descending from the summit on a short trail that goes to the BRP just east of the Green Knob Overlook. That will require a second car parked at the Green Knob Overlook, of course.
Trail Surface – the trail up the ridge over the several knobs is mostly dirt and leaves. However the climb to the summit of Green Knob is more rugged with a few rocks that need to be scampered over.
Environment – the trail is through an open forested area with some quite large trees that have great color in the fall. Areas of rhododendron and mountain laurel occur on the knobs. The trail to the summit of Green Mountain is through thick bushes. However there are openings in the foliage to provide views back down the trail to the campground.
Navigation – the early part of the trail has a couple of switchbacks and there is a fork where the Mountains-to-Sea trail goes left and the Green Knob trail takes a sharp right. Farther along there is another fork where the River Loop Trail goes to the right. Make sure that you stay on the trail to the left of the fork to continue on the Green Knob Trail.
As you make the summit of Green Knob, you will intersect a trail coming from the left. Take a right to go to the fire tower. The trail to the left is the one that makes a short descent to the BRP near the Green Knob Overlook.
Directions to Trailhead – go to BRP milepost 352 to South Toe Road (FS 472). Follow that road for about 4 miles until you enter the Black Mountain Campground area. Park at the first parking area on the right near a sign board. The trailhead starts behind the sign board in the parking area.