Sam Knob Trail and Lookout

Sam Knob Trail & Lookout article featured image showing Sam Knob from the trail

Address: Black Balsam Knob Rd, Canton, NC 28716

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  • Beatiful, rugged hiking terrain
  • Stunning views from the top of Sam Knob
  • Several different trails to explore
  • Extremely strenuous hike to the top of Sam Knob
  • None of the paths are wheelchair or stroller friendly


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Sam Knob Trail is a rugged hiking area located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, just over 20 miles west of Hendersonville, North Carolina and on the eastern edge of Nantahala National Forest. You can park in the lot at the trailhead and the hike to Sam Knob Lookout is roughly 1.25 miles (2.5 miles round trip). The hike to the summit is a very strenuous one as the path up is a steep one and the trail is mostly dirt tangled with roots and large rocks.

The view from the top, though, is magnificent. You can see quite far in almost all directions and can get some really great photos of the Blue Ridge Mountains all around. There are several other trails in this area, including the Art Loeb Trail, so you’ll have no shortage of exercise and discovery opportunities here.

The parking lot was pretty full when we went (a beautiful cool and sunny Thursday afternoon in April), but we only encountered a couple of people on the trail. There’s enough space here for lots of people to hike without having to congregate, but keep in mind that this isn’t a loop so there’s a greater likelihood of heavier traffic both directions.

If you’re up for something more than a simple stroll, this is well worth the stop while traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway. We would call it an On-The-Way place.



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