The hike to the summit of Blackstock Knob from the Glassmine Falls overlook is a moderate 6 mile journey into a world of dense Balsam forests, fragrant stands of Fraser firs and solitude. For some reason people on the east coast do not seem to hike our comrades in the West. Most people that visit the Blue Ridge Parkway limit their visit to short stops at one of the many overlooks or pathetically short hikes often up paved trails to spots like the Devil’s Courthouse or Mt. Mitchell. Blackstock Knob is like most of the other 40 Southern Sixers in North Carolina and Tennessee. Because of its close proximity to its more popular neighbors on the Black Mountain Crest, Blackstock Knob is seldom visited. Rarely will you run into any other hikers/peakbaggers, even on the most spectacular of days. If you seek a solitary adventure into the southeastern wilderness there is no better place to find it than Blackstock Knob.
The well-maintained Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) runs right over the summit of Blackstock Knob. There is no summit marker to mark the top of Blackstock Knob. Ron Tagliapietra states in his book The Southern Sixers
that in the early 1990s there was a six inch metal post with a sign that read “McMahon & Reece” located about 125 paces east of the summit. However, when I visited the Blackstock Knob in July 2006 there were no markers anywhere on the summit. Tagliapietra also reports the existence of a benchmark on Blackstock Knob’s subpeak which is aptly named “Benchmark 6,031.” I scoured Benchmark 6,031 for the benchmark in question but was unable to locate it. The summit is obvious because the MST descends sharply on both sides. Like so many of the Southern Sixers, this summit consists of a relatively thick balsam forest rising out of a tangle of rotting blow-down. There are no views from the summit. In the summer the views from the MST are restricted by the dense foliage. During the late fall and winter months, however, spectacular views of the Black Mountain Crest (Mt Mitchell, Mt. Craig, Big Tom, Balsam Cone and Cattail Peak/Potato Hill) are available.
From the Craggy Gardens Visitors Center at Pinnacle Gap (mi. 364.6) on the Blue Ridge Parkway (near Asheville N.C.) follow the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Glassmine Falls overlook at mile 361.2 & park. During the spring thaw and after heavy rains one can view the spectacular 300 ft. mountain waterfall from the overlook. From the Glassmine Falls overlook follow the MST east to the summit of Blackstock Knob (for more specifics see routes section).
Parking at Glassmine Falls Overlook is free.
Make sure you hide you valubles and lock your car. Even more importantly, make sure no one is watching you stash your stuff. Thieves have been known to case hiker's cars and strike after the hikers are long gone. Several thefts have been reported in the area.
There is camping available in in the mountains surrounding Blackstock Knob.
Established fee areas include:
You can also low impact camp in the backcountry along the MST. I you choose to take the route, make sure you notify the rangers office of your intent.
What's in a name?
Originally called Black Knob in the 19th century, Blackstock Knob was later named after Nehemiah Blackstock, a farmer and surveyor from Buncombe County. Blackstock is credited with completing the most accurate survey of the Black Mountains including the identification of Mt. Mitchell as the high point.