Explore Longer Hikes - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Longer Hikes Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Lovely, largely shaded trail evidently recently cleared (only one easily traversible tree fall blocking the path today). The necessity of having to ford 5 knee-deep and fairly fast water crossings along return (or outgoing) portion of Caldwell Fork Trail makes it much more challenging than 4 years ago when bridges were intact.

Great trail, look forward to doing it again.

Easy hike. You need to take the side trails for most of the waterfalls and balds. A lot of day hikers. Many camping sites but only saw one other set of campers that day/night

Fairly heavy traffic when I was out, so don't plan on escaping into natural solitary. Overall a fun hike on the strenuous end of moderate thanks to some steep climbs and scrabbling. I would recommend proper footwear for maximum enjoyment and safety, on a wet day like today I was grateful for the tread.

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!

bear encounter

backpacking
13 days ago

Beautiful!

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.

Half the trail is pea gravel. The other half is over rocks and stumps. It’s intense. Good ride.

The area is nice for mountain biking. There’s quite a network of trails, some harder than others. Good for a day of riding when DuPont is not an option.

Great hike! Took me 3.5 hours to do the Loop and clocked more than 9.4 miles total; certainly more than what’s advertised on the site. Waterfalls, thick rhododendron forests, but very muddy and slick in some places. Going up Art Loeb was great and passing by the campsites was fun near dark.

My son (age 4.5), husband, and I did this trail with one modification in June. It was a great backpacking loop for us. The first day we hiked in about 1.5 miles and started to look for a campsite, which we found 0.6 miles off the loop at the intersection of cat gap bypass and cat gat loop. Not liking to back track, we hiked around cat gat loop to get back to the planned route, which we then finished as defined here. The waterfall on this trail was pretty spectacular-- when you are right up close to it to view, it is REALLY LOUD. The trail is pretty, lush, and varied, lovely for a warm weekend with a child in tow. There are no scenic views on this trail. All in all, a trip worth doing but probably not one to do multiple times unless you live close by. On the second day we hiked from 8 am to 3 pm with plenty of breaks for water play as necessary by a 4.5 year old-- his longest day yet at 7.3 miles, but that just goes to show how easy the trail is.
Trail Rating: * Miserable ** Boring ***Good Hike ****Fantastic Hike ***** National Park Worthy Hike

Great trail for mountain biking! (And, there is heavy bike traffic.) I was walking and trail running. Parts of this trail are on a gravel road. Look at photos so you know what you're getting into. No mountain views. Wooded forest area. What I found most cool is that this trail goes through the Bent Experimental Forest (Pisgah National Forest), and there were interpretive signs explaining various types of forest management: single tree selection, group selection, clear cut, etc. If you are interested in forest management practices, definitely check this network of trails out. The loop I did (see recorded) provided a 4.2 mile walk. In retrospect, the descent at the end was fairly hard (on my knees!), and I wouldn't choose to do it that way again. I should have consulted the topography better before selecting the route.

One of the top five in the park. Many wonderful old trees and other surprises along the trail. Water shoes are useful for Caldwell Fork Trail (5 crossings).

The Boogerman Trail part of this is nothing short of a delicious journey through true old growth forest. The part of this loop that's the Caldwell Fork Trail requires either preparation for creek crossings or a sense of adventure, or perhaps both. If you love the woods and don't mind getting wet, this is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED hike.

Very pretty, loved the small waterfalls and sandy beach areas to chill. Saw a bear cub, luckily momma bear didn't appear. Diverse terrain. Lots of trails that can be confusing. Make sure you have a good map!

Good hike. The kids enjoyed it. Only drawback is the portion that is also available to horses. They make the trail muddy.

lightly marked but the paths are clear. it was an awesome day hike and I was glad to see a bunch of people out hiking the trails aswell.

hiking
1 month ago

My partner and I hiked this trail today. It took approximately 4 hours for the entire loop. There were several creek crossings which slowed us down since we changed in and out of hiking shoes/sandals once we hit the creek crossings (there were 5 of these). The trail is in great shape and clean. We only saw two other couples so we essentially had it to ourselves. There was lots of shade, but no vistas other than the gorgeous forest and creeks. No fallen trees are blocking the path, probably the forest service has been out recently to take care of the downed trees mentioned in previous reviews. This is an excellent trail for a hot summer day when you want to be in the shade, but it'd be challenging in the colder months unless you bring waders. There doesn't appear to be any (established) campsites from what I could tell, although it could be done with some creativity (but not sure if allowed in this part of the park).

The trail through dense woods, did not provide many scenic views, and is mostly used by mountain bikers. The bike traffic made for hiking uncomfortable at times and I expected more views of the surrounding hills.

Did 2/3 of the trail going clockwise before reversing the route to avoid the high water crossings so I ended up going about ten miles by the time I got back to the campground. After talking to another hiker who I passed when I turned around (who did the full loop and wading through four water crossings), we ended up taking the same amount of time. This hike was done in April 2018. Nice adventure.

Our family favorite

We went today and the trail was closed on both sides of Warren Wilson Rd, with signs that said a long term closure is expected. I went a bit of the ways up the trail, past the closure signs, just to see, and there are lots of tree falls. According to a friend at WWC, parts of the trail were eradicated when they slid into the river during very bad flooding recently. Not sure what their plans are as far as restoring the trail. :-(

This trail takes you through a beautiful forest. It is easy, quiet, and lovely.

trail running
1 month ago

Sweet and mellow run along the river. Quite a few downed trees in the path. The obvious parking area is currently closed, and had I need been before, knowing where to park prob would have been confusing.

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!

hiking
2 months ago

Great loop, started thunder storming about 2/3 of the way through. Going clockwise the the trail climbs a decent bit before coming down and remaining level. Had to ford the creek 7 times, once by choice because the bridge looked more dangerous. Plan to go on a dry day after a couple more dry days or the water will be quick and high. My only complaint is a lack of viewing spots, you're in dense trees the entire time.

Very easy trail for the most part. Very enjoyable walk by the Swannanoa River.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a go-to when I want to take my pooch for a hike near where we live.

I’ve been three times, and there’s been very little traffic any time. Nothing much as far as views (at least in the section from Arboretum to intersection at Blue Ridge Parkway). But if you like an uncrowded hike where you can let your dog off leash, this is very solid.

Load More