Hike Details

Related Info

Trail Map

Printed Trail Map

Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wildernesses by USDA Forest Service

Hike Stats

Opt 1 = 3.3 m, 770 ft   M 

6200 ft max elevation

Opt 2 = 4.7 m, 770 ft   M 

6200 ft max elevation

Seasonal Accessibility

This area is closed when the BRP closes late fall through early spring.

Trailhead Coordinates

N35 19 13.02 W82 52 32.88 (DMS)
N35 19.217 W82 52.548 (DM)

Google Maps and other cell phone and car navigation systems generally accept destinations in the above lat/long formats

Download All Black Balsam GPX Files

View – An unconstrained panoramic view of the entire Black Balsam area from two grassy balds: Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain.

Hike Profile – the hike mostly follows the Art Loeb III Trail from the trailhead along a moderate ascent up to Black Balsam Knob, 6214 ft. elevation. After descending from Black Balsam Knob, you leave the Art Loeb trail and take a right on a crossing trail. This trail is a more direct route that descends to the base of Tennent Mountain where it connects again with the Art Loeb trail. Continue on the Art Loeb trail to Tennent Mountain summit at 6040 ft.

There are two options for the return: you can return on the same route for an out and back hike, or you can continue north on the Art Loeb trail from the summit of Tennent Mountain until you descend to a grassy gap where the trail intersects the Ivestor Gap trail. Take a left on the Ivestor Gap trail to go to the parking lot at the end of the Black Balsam access road or to the Art Loeb spur trail. The spur trail ascends to the Art Loeb trail at the top of the Black Balsam ridge.

Trail Surface – Mostly an easy dirt trail. In places the trail is quite worn with
erosion causing a deep rut. The Ivestor Gap trail is an old roadbed and is covered with loose rocks.

Environment – Grassy knobs with thick blueberry, rhodo and mountain laurel bushes in places. Exposed rock occurs in places on the balds.

Navigation – The Mountains-To-Sea (MST) Trail and the Art Loeb III Trail start out together from the trailhead, but after 30 ft. the Art Loeb goes straight and up to Black Balsam Knob while the MTS goes down and off to the right. As the Art Loeb Trail descends from the summit of Black Balsam Knob, it swings around to the left of the ridge. A prominent crossing trail leads to a more direct route to Tennent Mountain. Take a right on this trail to descend to the base of Tennent Mountain where the trail intersects again with the Art Loeb trail.

If returning via the Ivestor Gap trail, you can proceed to the parking lot and then walk along the road back to the Art Loeb trailhead or you can take the Art Loeb Spur trail that branches left off the Ivestor Gap trail just before reaching the parking lot. This trail is a short, moderate climb up to the top of the ridge and the Art Loeb trail. Take a right at the top and return to the Art Loeb trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead – At BRP mile post 420 turn right onto FS 816 and drive about 0.8 mi to a pull off on the right side of the road. The Art Loeb III Trail starts on the right.

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