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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.

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!

Wow. The vistas, outcroppings, and meadows would have been enough. But the wildflowers in addition made the hike surreal! I have never seen such density and variety. If I had to have a groundhogs day and repeat this hike every day, I'd be good with that!!

Amazing wildflowers and views.

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.

Great conditions for the glacier. I did it solo without any issues (2 days hike in, summit day, one day hike out). Due to warm temperatures it is important to start early and be down by noon. Overall, awesome trip, and great views from the summit.

hiking
4 months ago

Just got back from Gannett Peak. We went in on the Glacier Trail. This is a very demanding hike. Two very difficult climbs. One going up to Burro Flats on the way in and coming out of Honey Moon Lake on the way out. This was a good year for snow, which I think makes it a little more climbable. We gave ourselves two days to try for the summit, which turned out to be a good plan. Day one it snowed, rained and the wind was app. 40 mph. Went back to camp and waited for day two. Woke up to beautiful blue skies, no wind and warm temps. Made the summit and it was thrilling.

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!

Awesome even in the rain!!!

Anyone been up to Gannett in late June during an average snowpack via the Glacier Trail? A few friends and I are heading up end of June and trying to decide if we should bring skis or snowshoes.

hiking
5 months ago

Incredible views of the lake! One of my favorite spots in Montana. Take note that even in mid-June there is a ton of snow near the top so if you don’t have snow shoes you’ll be struggling through 3+ ft of snow for about a mile.

backpacking
6 months ago

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

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

A great trail with a mix of sights and terrain. We did Art Loeb to Shining Rock first, then Ivestor Gap back. Beautiful views mixed with quiet forests. We had a great time. I would recommend bringing your hiking poles, the footing can get tricky in parts, especially if your knees bother you like mine do. Also, bring a map! There are several unmarked junctions along Art Loeb.

I love the diversity that this trail has to offer! It starts with a nice uphill climb up Old Butt Knob, as you work your way towards shining rock. The quartz boulders cannot be understated – they are phenomenal and must be seen in person! I didn’t stay past dark, but I hear that they glow for about an hour after sunset. How amazing! The hike back down from shining rock, we walked along the river and there was waterfall after waterfall after waterfall… It was spectacular! Two moderately athletic hikers finished this loop in about five hours.

Excellent, scenic tour of Shining Rock Wilderness. As another person noted, the footing can get tricky, so having poles would be helpful.

Awesome hike, beautiful views

This is a very beautiful hike. I did not do the full loop, but the best part is probably at the top of Tennent Mountain. Coming back at the Balsam it should have a spur trail back to the parking area. It is not marked and I missed it as many I talked to. It mush be the trail that go right before the rock outcropping. If somebody find it maybe a marker on the recording would be helpful.

There are several ups and downs along Art Loeb to Shining Rock, which is a pretty cool point of interest. Starting from end of Black Balsam Road, hike up trail to the right on the Art Loeb spur which takes you to open hills and a grassy area. The top of the first hill gives you the Sound of Music experience. Next is Black Balsam Knob, which is a higher hill. The trail is rocky and uneven with some trail erosion. From there you go down and then back up to the top of Tennent Mountain, past the intersection with Ivestor Gap Trail, then on to Grassy Cove Top and to another intersection with Ivestor Gap and Cold Mountain trails, then on to Shining Rock. The quartz is really white, giving it the shiny appearance. We took the Ivestors Trail back, which ended up being around 9 miles give or take. Nice hike, prepare for lots of sun as the underbrush on the knolls is short and also prepare for rocky uneven and overgrown areas. The views and Shining Rock provided great rewards for all the ups and downs totaling about 1300 ft.

backpacking
Monday, August 28, 2017

Beautiful basin to camp in, and a well maintained trail.

I hiked a shorter version of the loop last month, making it out to the beginning of Shining Rock Wilderness and the area around Grassy Cove Top. The views, the terrain and the wildflowers were all spectacular. I hope I am lucky enough to return soon to complete the full loop to Shining Rock.

A high snow year made the route to the summit completely snow covered even in late June, but an amazing climb with views well worth the work!

hiking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

First things first: This is Grizzly country. We saw a few tracks on the trail on the way in and then saw a sow and her cub on the trail on the way out. They were facing away from us, so we diverted off trail to give them a wide berth. It all worked out ok, but we were well prepared. Be advised. Secondly, bring LOTS of bug spray. They are tons of mosquitos. They congregate around the marshy areas of course, so this may be better later in the season as things dry out.

The trail itself runs through sweeping alpine meadows and pine forests. Lots of opportunities for backpacking and camping. The trail remains between 9400-9600 feet and it's easy to forget your are hiking across the tops of mountains as it seems to be rolling hills and fields. Lots of small lakes and streams, so there is plenty of water around.

All in all, a fun hike and we may go back to backpack later in the year. We have driven by this area many times and always wanted to explore it. Well worth the effort.

This was a great trail with some amazing views of the surrounding table top ranges. The water level was very high so forging the first stream involved getting wet, but the rest of the hike was in good shape. There is still snow in the pass and it is very wet up top so it is a little difficult to navigate the whole top prairie area. It seems very lightly traveled and very serene.

Does anyone have the coordinates of the spring on the AL near shining rock?

We started on the ALT from Black Balsam Road. The views from BBK and Tennet Mtn were spectacular. Some of the best that I have seen outside of the Great Smoky Mtns. We camped at Flower Gap. The stars were amazing. Shining Rock was pretty neat. We came back on the Ivestor Gap Trail. It was much easier than the ALT (lots of standing water) but not as scenic. Would definitely recommend this hike to others.

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