The Best Day Hike You Can Take With Your Dog In North Carolina

Art Loeb Trail
Pisgah National Forest - Black Balsam Knob • Blue Ridge Parkway MM 420.2

“Balds” - where trees fail to grow - are found primarily in the Southern Appa- lachians, where the climate is too warm to support an alpine zone. Why some summits are bald and some are not is a mystery to scientists. There are two types of balds - heath balds with blankets of evergreen shrubs and grassy balds covered with dense swards of native grasses. Black Balsam Knob, at 6,214 feet, is the highest grassy bald inthe Blue Ridge Mountain.

How good is the canine hiking here? There are some who will tell you the three miles of unobstructed views on the Art Loeb Trail across Black Balsam Knob and neighboring Tennant Mountain comprise the best hike they have ever taken with their dog. A short and scenic fifteen-minute climb brings you to the ridgeline and wide open high country is on the canine hiking menu for the next hour. Parkway poster child Looking Glass Rock is in near-constant view from the trail.

Dropping off the ridgeline the loop closes with the Investor Gap Trail, an old logging road with springs pouring across it for refreshment; backpackers can continue on to the Art Loeb terminus at Cold Mountain of literary and Hollywood fame that is admired in the distance to the north.

Matching canine hiking on Black Balsam Knob stride for stride in “wow” moments is the moderate climb to the Sam Knob summit, a heath bald found on the opposite side of the trailhead.

HIKING TIME: 3-4 hours

(from the book 300 Day Hikes To Take With Your Dog Before He Tires You Out: Trails where you won’t be able to wipe the wag off your dog’s tail)


National Parks with Hiking

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Dogs are allowed on the trails and the beach except in the wildlife refuge

Cape Lookout National Sesahore
Dogs are allowed on the trails in this park but not in the cabins and on the beach

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
Dogs are welcome in this park except in the buildings

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
Dogs are allowed on the trails in this park

Kings Mountain National Military Park
Dogs are allowed on the trails in this park

Hiking With Your Dog in North Carolina