Black Balsam to Tennant Mountain Loop Hike

A DEFINITE favorite hike of ours along the Blue Ridge, hands down!  Something that makes this one so unique is being surrounded by mountains throughout- most hikes provide dramatic views at the top, but Black Balsam provides the entire time.  This post will be separated into two sections, as some people do the Black Balsam out and back, and others continue to Tenant Mountain and hike the loop.

Black Balsam Trail Head begins on Art Loeb Trail

The Details

Location: Off Blue Ridge Parkway, just under an hour from Downtown Asheville, North Carolina

When to visit: Depends what you’re looking for- dry season has a smaller possibility of rain but is notably more expensive.  I visited during the rainy season and loved our afternoon hikes (dodging storms)

Parking: Depends on your accommodation and where you visit.  Our hostel was street parking only but there were always plenty of spots.  This did make for some unhappy

Black Balsam Hike

Black Balsam

Park at the Black Balsam parking on the street next to the start of the route.  There was only one other car here at 8:30am and about 14 cars at noon.  It took us about 40mn from the bottom of the parking lot to the top of Black Balsam, with many photos and stops to enjoy the beauty in between.

Black Balsam Hike

Most of the hike is a moderate incline as you gradually make your way higher up the mountain.  Trail is easy to follow.

Black Balsam Hike

Tennant Mountain

As you approach Tennant Mountain, there is some high brush and trees.  You pass more of this until you hit a fork in the road.  Take a left here onto Investor Gap Trail in order to continue the loop.  You’ve got about 40mn to go from this point.  The rest of the trail from here is wide with dirt, and surrounding trees.  The mountain views are about done.  Look closely for a mini waterfall or two nestled indiscreetly.

Tennant Mountain Loop on Blue Ridge Parkway

The full loop ends at Sam Knob trail head.  There is parking and a bathroom here.  You can technically do this trail reverse and start from Sam Knob and end at Black Balsam.  From this point, you have about a 10 minute (half mile) walk back to the Black Balsam parking lot.

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As a full time employee who loves her job, learn how I honor my wanderlust while working a 9:00-5:00 (because I want to!) This blog welcomes all, and specifically provides resources for those seeking travel intertwined into a busy schedule (3 days to 5 weeks).