At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Crews search for three missing hikers at Black Balsam

UPDATE: Searchers made contact with the hikers around noon Tuesday, July 7. They were able to walk out with search and rescue personnel. 

Search teams are looking for three hikers in the Black Balsam area of the Pisgah National Forest in Haywood County who have been missing since Monday.

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office 911 Communications Center received a call at 8:42 p.m. Monday, July 6, reporting the overdue hikers. Two adults and one child had parked in the Black Balsam area around noon that day for a day hike in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area but then failed to return. The group had a day pack with them, the caller reported.

Personnel dispatched to the area located the vehicle, and several agencies responded with search teams to coordinate, manage and initiate the search. The search operation continued through the night with four search and rescue teams covering the area. Tuesday morning, multiple agencies arrived on the scene, with dozens of searchers covering the area in two, three and four-member teams.

The search is considered urgent due to the hikers’ lack of rain gear and lack of preparation for adverse weather.

The parking lot for the Black Balsam area is closed to visitors while the search continues.

Go to top