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We did Ivestor Gap up to Shining Rock and then came back down the Art Loeb trail and made camp on the grassy meadow at the base of Grassy Cove Top. Spectacular views, but can get crowded on weekends. Important things to note when backpacking in shining rock: 1) bear canisters are now REQUIRED when camping, 2) speaking of bears, there has been a lot of bear activity at the camp sites near Shining Creek so be aware, 3) the weather up there is very unpredictable - we had perfect weather through out Saturday but after we made camp and went to bed a storm rolled in and the wind nearly ripped our tents apart and we woke up in a cold cloud of mist!
All in all it was an amazing adventure, just be prepared if you plan to camp and bring a map because as many have mentioned the trails are poorly marked with lots of side trails.

We attempted this loop last winter. After reading how much work, and not a lot of payoff the Old butt knob portion was, we decided to take the Shining Creek Path up to the Art Loeb trail, and finish the loop back from there. First off, either way you cut it, that trail was absolutely NO JOKE. As a pretty seasoned hiker and recent Army vet with tons of rugged terrain and rucking under my belt, that first stretch to the Art Loeb absolutely destroyed us. We had every intention of taking 2 1/2 days and doing the full loop, after the 1st day of getting my butt handed to me from almost sun-up to sun-down, we decided to turn around and call the trip early and hiked back down and out the next day. Will not be attempting this one again without better conditioning.

Really easy hike on a well maintained trail. Georgia knows how to take care of the AT

We had intended to do the raiders camp portion but decided to stay on harpers creek to connect with yellow buck mainly because of the amount of creek crossings. Harpers creek has 8+ significant creek crossings. Not a hop and a skip. More like “time to break the water shoes...again...” I love playing in the water and a major crossing here and there is fine, but hiking a quarter mile and changing shoes again and again gets old fast. Yellow buck kicked our butts! Granted everything was still in a state of disarray due to hurricane Florence the week prior, the trail had been cut into deeply by the water from the storm. Taking 2-3’ high steps on an already intense incline was simply not enjoyable. Personally I’d stick with hiking around harpers creek. Plenty of views and TONS of great camping sites.

I really enjoyed Art Loeb to Black Balsam and Tennett. Just past Tennett there is a grassy meadow valley. From there you follow Flower Gap to continue to Shining Rock. I would have been happy turning around at the cove.
The trail until then was open and airy. Great views. But it far into the Flower Gap portion it was cramped. The trail was narrow and the vegetation was dense. There were a few cool trees along the way.
I wasn’t super impressed with Shining Rock. It was a bunch of giant boulders. You can climb on them if that’s your thing but be careful to come back down the way you care. Surrounding the boulders are those curvy wavy trees/ bushes (not sure what they are called but they look like an enchanted forest) so it’s hard to get your bearings.
Ivestor back is much easier trail wise. A few great views but mostly just trudging back to your car.

A great 10 mile hike. Beautiful views from the balds and from Shining Rock. The Shining Rock Wilderness is aptly named. No blazes on any of the trails and parts of the Art Loeb Trail are difficult to find and follow.

The trail up to the top is Shining Rock is hidden and overgrown. It felt like we were the first to traverse the trail in months, so we were surprised to pass other hikers. Without the AllTrails Recording function we would have gotten lost for sure, but it kept us on the trail.

We ate our fill of wild blueberries and enjoyed the wildflowers. No bear sightings, but plenty of evidence of them along the trail.

The loop back to the parking area along the Little East Fork Trail and Ivestor Gap Trail was less scenic, but a wider, easier trail.

Overall, one of my favorite hikes of the season. It was quite crowded until we got a few miles away from the trailhead, but that was no doubt due to Labor Day weekend.

On 8/15/2018 at 1700hrs my wife and I saw an adult black bear on the Art Loeb Trail just below Shining Rock.

Someone had left a day pack on the ground there between the junction for the Cold Mountain trail and Shining Rock.

The bear WAS NOT scared away easily.

Also the blueberries and blackberries are now mature and we saw bear scat on the trail in multiple places.

Exercise caution between Grassy Cove Top and Shining Rock as the crowds fall off and it seems people are being reckless with their food.

Other than the bear this hike is great.

Also be careful to avoid the side trails around Shining Rock. It’s really easy to get lost up there!

The 1st part of the trail all the way to where Art Loeb connects with Catheys Creek Rd. From there its walking on gravel road for a long time.4 miles about and Then the Davidson Trail was bush whacking the entire time, we got off and walked the road.

Beautiful. Loved the views. Multiple snack encounters. Each with copperheads and very large rattle snack. Otherwise lovely!! Haha!

Good exercise but that’s about it

This was one of several hikes I’ve taken during two consecutive summers of visiting these mountains and this trail is by far my favorite! The trail is relatively flat until the last 3/4 of a mile, but even the steepest parts were manageable. The whole trail offers beautiful views or surrounding peaks, with the best views coming from the top of shining rock itself. I’m an extreme novice hiker and not at all in great shape but I loved this hike and did not consider to be difficult.

Completed a backpacking trip on this trail in late July - trail was diverse, views were amazing, but the reviews that mention the lack of markings are definitely not lying. Downloaded the AllTrails map but would not recommend trying to tackle Shining Rock without a paper map of Pisgah. Footing tricky in places but overall a moderate trail that delivers in all the important ways.

Old Butt Knob? More like Old Ass Knob. Literally and figuratively. All the little whoas saying this trail was great literally need to go to the doctor because they are still delusional from the exhaustion this trail induced. This trail is actually utter ass and disappointment, with 2 miles of the most grueling ascent I’ve ever seen and no payoff for it what so ever. Just my opinion tho, this was day 3 of a 40 mile hike and was quite possibly the worst thing to come across after the exhaustion I was already under. Old Ass Knob, you will not be missed, This is a warning to anyone that has any sense at all, except the trail joggers, by all means trip and fall

I hiked this section the first full weekend in July 2018 with a great group of young boys from TrailLifeUSA troop NC-0834. The first portion was uphill and the second portion had a large downhill grade. It was a great hike and would take another patrol through this section.

Wow! What a hike. Definitely take a good map and a compass. We took Old Butt trail to Shining Rock and then back down Shining Creek. We went in mid July and there was so much vegetation the trail was almost unrecognizable in places. Old Butt trail is no joke and this is no easy stroll.

hiking
3 months ago

Did a short hike on the southern portion of the trail but going back for an overnight backpacking trip. Trail was marked well. Nice elevation change, not too drastic. Lots of great areas for camping. Went on a Saturday morning and was on the trail for about four hours. Ran in to trail runners every 20-30 min. Not too crowded. Had a great time with my wife, 5-year old and dog.

I’ve never given a 2-star trail review before, but you will not miss much if you skip the Uwaharrie trail loop. If it’s summer and you aren’t wearing long pants, long sleeves, and coated in permethrin or deet; you may want to find another trail.

There is nothing to see other than variation in the composition and maturity of the forest as you pass through areas that were burned and/or timbered. There are no overlooks or rock formations. About a mile of the trail borders private property which has ‘No Trespassing’ signs stapled to nearly every tree - sometimes 2 or 3 signs on the same tree. That is arguably the most exciting feature of the 9.5-mile hike.

The trail follows a creek which does not flow in the summer. The standing water is a haven for mosquitoes and the elevation of the trail is low enough that wind is blocked. I was literally swatting at mosquitos the entire hike. A couple sections of the trail are over-grown with poison ivy and brush. Watch what you touch and keep an eye out for Lone Star ticks.

If you are planning on camping (hopefully not in the summer), please be aware that the campgrounds are all less than 30 feet off the trail. In some cases, the trail runs through campground.

The trail may be okay from October to March when the water is flowing in the creek bed mosquitoes are less of an issue. However, there are better trails in the Charolette area. Crowder’s Mountain has far more to offer even in summer: well maintained, great views, no standing water with mosquitoes, nice breeze along the ridges, etc.

This was one of the best hikes I’ve done in the Southeast!! I will definitely be going back in the fall and spring. The 360° views at the top of Tennent Mountain are unbeatable and you walk through a sea of wild blueberries and blackberries to get there (those will be ripe in the fall. Watch for bears!). I will say that for a pretty active hiker like myself, this trail was difficult not moderate. The trail through Shining Rock Wilderness gets pretty narrow and there’s bad footing everywhere. I would say the hike to Shining Rock is worth it, it’s pretty insane to see quartz boulders the size of houses! Next time I will wear long pants and bring more bug spray. Take care to bring lots of water and if you’re hiking alone make some noise every now and again since I saw bear scat!

Cool in the heat, the trail has multiple water sources and some great back country campsites. There's more elevation gain than I originally thought. Great trip, I'll likely do it again.

The DRT portion of this loop (approx 4 miles) is just walking on the road. Please let me know if I’m missing something.

Awesome even in the rain!!!

Backpacked the loop and camped for 2 nights along the trail. Several great camping spots with fire rings, most along the river for easy water access. I will say, there are several spots we had to pull out our map because there are several forks that are not well marked. Definitely make sure you’re looking for the color coded blazes, and look for the pink flagging to see where to cross the creek. GET A MAP BEFOREHAND!! Lots of roots and stumps to trip on so watch your footing!

Kind of a boring hike, lots of geckos and snakes. smelled very good!

this trail doesn't exist in the Wilson Creek or WNC trail maps, the map seems to be a combination of yellow buck, harpers creek and raiders camp. That being said i love this area and these trails. but...stop at the visitor center, get a real map, have the right info and a plan before you go out. then go out and get lost proper lol.

I need to mention that the directions on this trail description are not correct. If you do choose to come in via the Blue Ridge Parkway,,, you will not turn right onto SR464. You will actually turn left onto SR464. You will know this road because it has a small church at this junction. Long Ridge Baptist Church. If you are approaching this area on Hwy 181 from Morganton,, you do not need to go all the way to the Parkway,, but instead when you reach Jonas Ridge,, make a right onto Mortimer Road,, which happens to be SR1518, and right across the road from the Marathon station, go about 2 miles and then right onto SR464. Hope this helps someone not add extra miles onto their navigation as I did.. You will likely not have the benefit of a phone signal for gps navigation. Great trail,, Beautiful waterfall, great camping spots. Enjoy!

backpacking
5 months ago

Amazing hike. I’ve hiked it year round. Especially love the fall. Blueberry bushes abound.

Start to finish
One day hike. Is rough

My buddy and I cans out from Ft. Bragg and we actually bit off more than we can chew. We opened with the 11 mile hike, ran out of water, then took the green south then merged into another trail that took us back to my car. Bring extra water. It is very challenging but amazing!

Love this trail! Hiked here 4/2/18, perfect weather, even got a small sunburn. the views and diversity of this trail is amazing.

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