Another Blue Ridge Parkway Hike!
August 25, 2022
One of the natural wonders of Western North Carolina is the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway. Pinecrest, our Asheville bed & breakfast, is conveniently located for a day trip north to Mount Mitchell. This peak is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Equally impressive is a drive south to Sam Knob with panoramic views. Great rewards for just 2.5 miles out-and-back with a little over 500 feet of elevation gain.
Pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway south at the North Carolina Arboretum. Numerous pull-offs and tunnels dot the drive. While there is a strenuous trail to Mount Pisgah, we prefer a lazy stop at the Mount Pisgah inn with its easy-to-navigate viewing platform. With a restaurant, this is one of the few places serving food on the Parkway. Back in the car, continue south to Black Balsam Road, just past MP 420 then turn right.
Parked cars will line the road near the Black Balsam Trail. Continue until the road ends and park. During popular times, there is an overflow gravel area too.
The trail for Sam Knob begins by the toilets ( crude pit but might be a necessary stop.) Follow the old gravel road bed which eventually descends down a wooden boardwalk. Soon you will find yourself in a large meadow and the trail transitions to dirt. As the meadow ends, take the fork to the right and begin the ascent.
Here the trail enters a hardwood forest that is cooler but also quite rutty and rocky. Numerous switchbacks make for a gradual climb. Catch a glimpse along the trail of surrounding mountains. There is another fork near the top. South views include Shining Rock Wilderness and Black Balsam. The north fork is the highest elevation at 6, 045 feet and it’s all worth the hike!
Heading Back to Asheville
While you can retrace your drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a loop is available. Continue south on the BRP to NC 215 and travel this route north. The route meanders through the mountains and can be quite stunning in fall. Look for the roadside waterfall, Sunburst Falls, and Episcopal camp Lake Logan on the way.
Thirsty? Hungry? Bearwater’s Brewing (Riverside) is a local craft brewery in Canton. The deck and patio overlook the Pidgeon River, a good place to fill up on beer and bar food for the trip back to Asheville.
Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast offers historic charm with modern amenities. Of course that includes breakfast…it’s in our name! Free wifi, parking, beverages, and snacks round out your stay. Book today!