Black Balsam Knob Engagement | Ben and Mads

June 9, 2020

Where do I even start with Black Balsam Knob? Stellar views, easy access, and a camping favorite? Black Balsam is an Asheville favorite for good reason.

Black Balsam’s iconic views are reminiscent of those found out West (think Colorado) and unlike other mountain views found on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Along the hike, your eyes can follow the mountain ridges miles into the distance and the knob’s unique balsam trees are dotted all along the trail.

You’ll easily find yourself slowing down your hike to take in the breathtaking views.

I can’t begin to tell you how stoked I was to photograph my best friends, Ben and Mads, at Black Balsam Knob the other week. Amongst the pandemonium of the world, we decided we needed a hike to decompress and relax. 

That meant an afternoon hike to the top of the bald to build a campfire and watch the sunset! I will say it was pretty gusty and a little cold, but watching the sun dip behind the mountain ridges and paint the sky with all shades and tones of purple and pink made it worthwhile. It seems like every time I hike Black Balsam Knob I see the most beautiful sunsets.

You’ve just gotta come check it out for yourself.

But before you do, here’s some information you might want to know beforehand.


The hike itself isn’t difficult, depending on your version of difficulty. Personally, I find it pretty easy to hike since I’m not scrambling over large boulders or scaling a mountain. But don’t just take my word for it- check out these recent reviews of Black Balsam’s trail.

From the trailhead, the hike is pretty flat with a steady and gradual incline. You start off the hike in the woods, and then near the middle it opens up into a wide open knob with tall grass and spotted with balsam trees. 

About halfway through the hike, the trail switches from primarily a flat, dirt trail to an inclined and rocky one. I’m not talking boulders though, this is actually the rock you find under the grass. This is just one of my favorite features of Black Balsam Knob that makes it unique. 

Overall, the trail is super accessible and dog and kid friendly. I highly recommend the Black Balsam Knob hike if you’re looking for a short hike with some of the best mountain views around.

Trail Information

There are a couple of hiking trails found on Black Balsam Knob, but the most popular one (that is conveniently found next to the parking lot) is the Art Loeb Spur trail

It’s only a 1.5 mile round trip hike and it’s roughly a 15-20 minute hike to the peak. Not too shabby for engagement sessions or rushing to catch golden hour!

And of course Ben and Mads and I (and my boyfriend, Alex) had to make a campfire while we were there so we snagged the best one with a view.

There are fire rings spotted all along the trail so if you do decide to have a campfire make sure you do so in a designated area! Please make Smokey the Bear proud and respect Mother Nature. 

Directions & Map

Getting to Black Balsam Knob is pretty dang easy. 

The only way to get to get to Black Balsam Knob is from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Keep in mind that the Blue Ridge Parkway sometimes shuts down during severe inclement weather or government shutdowns, so make sure you have a backup location ready to go (just in case!) Better to be over prepared than not.

Click here to open google maps for directions to the trailhead and parking lot. 

In Short…

Black Balsam Knob engagement photos are magical in their own way. The mountain views from Black Balsam are unique to this particular section of Pisgah National Forest and are loved by all. 

If you’re looking for 360 degree views of the Blue Ridge Mountains close to Asheville, check out Max Patch! Max Patch is tucked away in the mountains of Hot Springs, roughly an hour drive from Asheville. The drive may seem lengthy, but when you see the views from the top you’ll quickly see why everyone makes the trek.