I’ve been to Silvermine Bald Overlook a few times. The first time was during my first Art Loeb Trail thru-hike when I randomly stumbled upon it. The leaves were changing and I was stunned at the unexpectedly alpine landscape.
I’ve since spent break time there on various loop hikes. Ironically, It’s close to Black Balsam Knob, Shining Rock, and Graveyard Fields, some of the most popular day-hiking attractions along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, but almost no one knows it exists.
I’m categorizing this as both an attraction and a hike. There are two ways to access the overlook—the easy way and the hard way. Both ways involve little hiking, but one trail is strenuous while the other is just a walk in the woods.
This attraction can be pieced together with myriad trails to form all kinds of loop hikes.
The easy way
Park at the Black Balsam Knob Road access area on the map below—marked as Silvermine Bald Overlook (Easy). There is limited GPS available, so start your navigation when you’re still in civilization. This is a paved parallel parking area on the side of the road.
Most people will be walking up to the summit of Black Balsam Knob. That trailhead is on the same side of the road as the parallel parking. You will cross the street at that trailhead and follow the white, circular blazes for the Mountains To Sea Trail (MST). You’ll take this mostly flat (but muddy, rocky, and full of roots) trail for over a mile. You’ll eventually reach an intersection with the Art Loeb Trail that descends steeply on the left. You’ll continue on the MST past this intersection for about 20 feet and you’ll see the overlook on your left. You can’t miss it.
The hard way
Park at the Deep Gap trail shelter access area on the map below—marked as Silvermine Bald Overlook (Hard). There is limited GPS available, so start your navigation when you’re still in civilization. This is a dirt pull-off on the side of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There’s only enough room for a few cars, but I’ve never seen more than 2 cars parked there. Just across the street, you’ll see the trailhead for the Art Loeb Trail. It’s a staircase that goes straight up the mountain.
This climb is no joke, especially if it’s wet or there are freshly fallen leaves. Once you get to the top, the trail intersects with the Mountains To Sea Trail (MST). You’ll take the MST to the left and the overlook will be about 20 feet ahead. You can’t miss it.