CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Graveyard Fields Loop Trail North Carolina BRP Highlights Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

Art Loeb

Black Balsam Knob, Tennent Mountain, Shining Rock,
Stairs Mountain, Cold Mountain, Pisgah National Forest
and Shining Rock Wilderness



The 30.1 mile Art Loeb Trail is one of the longer and more difficult trails in North Carolina, and it's also one of the more popular. This trail is a memorial to Art Loeb, who was an activist from the Carolina Mountain Club. The trail travels mainly along peaks and ridges rather than in the valleys. The trail offers many spectacular views along the way. It skirts along the southwestern rim of the Davidson River valley, then skips across some of the highest peaks in the area before descending Cold Mountain to the Daniel Boone Scout Camp.

Along the way, you'll see some of the finest scenery to be found in Pisgah and you'll view or cross many of the landmark mountains in the region. Many hikers use this trail for an extended backpacking trip (at least 2-3 days) and there are plenty of campsites along the trail that will help facilitate that kind of trip. Others use shorter sections of the trail for day hikes, or use connecting trails to form loops. This is one trail not to miss, even if you hike just a short section.

Starting at the Davidson River near the Davidson River Campground, close to Brevard, NC, the trail climbs generally west-southwest and curves around Cedar Rock Mountain down to Butter Gap.  There is a shelter located here.  The Butter Gap Trail goes 3.4 miles to a parking area near John Rock, passing Grogan Creek Falls on the way.  Next, the trail climbs Chestnut Mountain and then moves on to Brushy Mountain.

The trail crosses FSR 471 and then FSR 475 as it skirts Pilot Mountain descending toward a shelter at Deep Gap.  There is a parking area close by on FSR 471.  After Farlow Gap the trail makes its steep ascent toward the Blue Ridge Parkway along the Shuck Ridge.

The Art Loeb Trail crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 421.2 and ascends above the Parkway to the 5978 foot summit of Silvermine Bald.  Soon the trail crosses FSR 816 and climbing to the very popular Black Balsam Knob.  At Black Balsam, the trail's high point at 6214 feet, is a plaque commemorating Art Loeb as well as the Trail. 

FSR 816, aka Black Balsam Road, is located at milepost 420.2 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The road is paved for part of the way, at least to the main Art Loeb Trail crossing.  This makes the 6214 foot summit of Black Balsam Knob an easy to moderate 0.4 mile hike with a slight elevation gain.  The views once you enter the grassy fields are spectacular and some of the best along the whole Parkway.  This is the short section of the Art Loeb Trail that is a must do while traveling on the Parkway.

This is the most famous and most popular section of the trail, for good reason. The views and uniqueness of this section of trail are unsurpassed in the region. The trail travels across 6060 foot Tennent Mountain, then passes through Ivestor Gap.  The trail crosses the 5940 foot summit of Shining Rock and then 5869 foot Stairs Mountain.  Many loop options available in this area.

This is the premier hiking trail in Shining Rock Wilderness.  The trail climbs up Cold Mountain, before descending steeply to end near the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp on the Little East Fork Pigeon River. A spur trail leads to the 6030 foot summit of Cold Mountain.  Some of the Art Loeb Trail is featured in the hiking guide book Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Art Loeb Trail at FSR 816

Art Loeb Trail on Black Balsam Knob

CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Graveyard Fields Loop Trail North Carolina BRP Highlights Blue Ridge Parkway