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Great Balsam Mountains

Range TypeMountain range with well-recognized name
Highest PointRichland Balsam (6410 ft/1954 m)
CountriesUnited States
States/ProvincesNorth Carolina
Area671 sq mi / 1,738 sq km
Area may include lowland areas
Extent27 mi / 44 km North-South
40 mi / 65 km East-West
Center Lat/Long35° 22' N; 82° 54' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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Map of Great Balsam Mountains
Click on red triangle icons for links to other ranges.


Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.
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Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the Great Balsam Mountains.
Central Blue Ridge RangesLevel 4 (Parent)
         Black MountainsLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Great Craggy MountainsLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Newfound Mountain RegionLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Plott BalsamsLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Great Balsam MountainsLevel 5
         Cowee MountainsLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Cheoah MountainsLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Nantahala MountainsLevel 5 (Sibling)



Major Peaks of the Great Balsam Mountains

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NameftmRange6
1.Richland Balsam64101954 
2.Black Balsam Knob62141894 
3.Mount Hardy6120+1865+ 
4.Reinhart Knob6080+1853+ 
5.Grassy Cove Top6040+1841+ 
6.Tennent Mountain6040+1841+ 
7.Sam Knob6040+1841+ 
8.Cold Mountain60301838 
9.Shining Rock6000+1829+ 
10.Chestnut Bald6000+1829+ 
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.



Photos of Peaks in the Great Balsam Mountains

Richland Balsam
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Contrary to what you see on the USGS topo, the Haywood-Jackson county line runs east and north of Richland Balsam, according to the Jackson GIS map (boundary marked by angular green line). If this is correct, the peak is entirely in Jackson County. The curved brown line is the Blue Ridge Parkway property line. The Haywood GIS map shows the boundary higher on the mountain but still not on the summit (1998). Photo by Tom Layton.
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Black Balsam Knob
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Plaque on the summit (2019-04-07). Photo by Cory Dee.
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Tennent Mountain
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Plaque on summit (2019-04-07). Photo by Cory Dee.
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Cold Mountain
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The USGS benchmark at the peak of Cold Mountain should say "6030 FEET" but instead it says "COLD FEET" (2014-07-14). Photo by Jay DeKing.
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Shining Rock
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Still one of my all-time favorite vistas (2014-03-15). Photo by Seamus Allman.
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Green Knob
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View east from the summit of Green Knob. Sam Knob on the left, Little Sam Knob on the right (with dense evergreen forest on summit). (2020-01-09). Photo by William Sanderson.
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Little Sam Knob
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Blue pin = falls on Flat Laurel. White pins = my bushwhack route to summit (green pin) (2020-01-12). Photo by William Sanderson.
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Mount Pisgah
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View from the top of Mount Pisgah, with iconic Cold Mountain in the background (2012-10-23). Photo by Bruce Hicks.
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Buck Knob
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Rock cairn at Buck Knob high point (2020-01-01). Photo by William Sanderson.
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