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

Shining Rock Map

Nice hike! We decided to go to Knobby, it was a steep climb! took is longer than anticipated. The way down was fun, the trail followed the stream, often crisscrossing or becoming the stream itself! several nice campsites along the way too!

Campsite right on trail with small fire pit. good for small tent or two.
35°21'54.0"N 82°49'54.2"W

Very nice camp site good for small group with several tents, places to set up hammock s, large fire ring. it's right next to the water. Very pretty!
35.3581195, -82.8441671

Hiked on 12/29.

Terrain: Trail was rockier than expected. Combined with the trail conditions, this made for a technical hike. Elevation gain per mile is much milder than similar hikes, so it probably balances out.

Conditions: Wet. You cross creeks that feel like rivers (including a quite treacherous crossing at 1.9 miles) and there are several sections where the trail becomes a creek. After we made the final right turn to get on the ridge, we saw a significant amount of snow/ice. We didn't have microspikes and were fine, but it did make for slightly slow walking.

Views: Once you get on the ridge, there are amazing views.

Parking: Drive through the Boy Scout camp. There is designated parking for hikers at the far end of the camp. It feels like you are going to get on a government list somewhere, but if you keep going through the camp you will end up in the right spot.

on Skinny Dip Falls

18 days ago

The falls are absolutely beautiful! I am an amateur hiker and did not think this trail was difficult. I went back with some friends who have never hiked before and it was fine for them also.

24 days ago

Because it's off the Blue Ridge Parkway, this is a very heavily trafficked trail. It gets so much traffic, in fact, that at some parts the surface of the trail is more than a foot lower than the surrounding ground. That means that there are some wet and muddy sections. The trail has a nice variety of environments, from the creek shore to mountain laurel forests. The section of the trail that leads up to Upper Falls has some steep climbs and you have to scramble over rocks and roots. But if this fat, old man can do it, so can you. Both the waterfalls are beautiful. Despite the name, there is no graveyard. The area got the name after a fire in 1925. All the charred stumps reminded people of gravestones.

My happy place!

Fun trail with great panoramic views! I do feel you can get similar, awesome views simply driving along Blue Ridge and utilizing the overlooks, however this trail offers up to experience both sides of the ridge at once. BE CAREFUL when it's windy out!

This trail is easy to moderate depending on your fitness level and weather conditions. We went the day after raining and there were still plenty of puddles and mud. It was also cloudy so the views weren’t all there. Every once in a while the clouds would separate and we would see some goodness, but limited. Made for a great morning. Took my wife and I 3 hours starting with Black Balsalm, then to Tennent, ending with the long leg back to the car. We stopped for many pictures and rested for about 20 min at Tennent to eat lunch.
It is still worth the hike and definitely the drive along Blue Ridge Pkwy!

I hiked from the trail head to shinning creek path, camped and then came back. This was an extremely strenuous trail but the views were incredible.

Such a quick trail to a fun and freezing swimming hole.

Exceptional views. Try to go while it is dry or be prepared for some muddy, wet areas for a long stretches on the bottom Ivestor Gap portion.

Hiked in early November just after two days of rain. Amazing views. Will return in spring.

Yes, better views than Clingman's Dome!

One of my favorite trails. It is a bald, so you have beautiful unobstructed views. It is easy and short enough to bring a great picnic and set up on a rock outcrop. There are two other balds a short hike from the first of you want some extra adventure.

2 months ago

This is a fun, moderate hike! Great for our family with kids ages 14, 12and 4. Some technical parts (rocks, mud, lots of roots) but my 4 year old managed just fine! Gorgeous views at the top. We could have spent all afternoon up there.

Just as a heads up, it took us a few minutes to find the trailhead from the parking lot. It’s the trailhead just to the right of the bathrooms, it’s not well marked.....several trailheads to choose from.

2 months ago

This was a beautiful, challenging hike! The drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway is gorgeous & has many lookouts. Once you get there, the trail is through the gate to the right of the bathrooms. I didn't find the trail all that well marked throughout, but fortunately, we passed many friendly people. There weren't that many forks in the trail & of the times we choose the wrong fork, the trail became overgrown. So choose the path most traveled, haha. I found the hike to be on the difficult side of moderate. I'm in my early 30s, work out every week & found it challenging. The beginning is pretty flat, then there's a boardwalk that brings you down to a lovely field, then you see the mountain ahead. The trails on the mountain could be steep, narrow, muddy, & tricky to navigate boulders with a steep dropoff. So just go slow. The lookout is well worth it! We went on a clear, fall day & could see really far. Truly gorgeous!

Very easy hike but too crowded with people.

2 months ago

We only had a short window of time for this hike and it was perfect length to enjoy some great views.

Hiked this on 10/21 with my husband. It was definitely a challenge for both of us, but the views at the top made it absolutely worth it. There was a lot of temperature change on the way up and down so packing layers is a must. Give yourself at least 6 hours for this hike. The trail itself is straightforward and easy to follow on the way up, but on the way down it is easy to take the wrong trail when passing by campsites as there are sometimes multiple trails leading off. I’m surprised this trail isn’t more popular because it was definitely one of my favorites, but no complaints because we had the summit to ourselves for over a half hour!

Great views not a terrible hike good camping areas!

Took the longer trail that connects with Mountain to see trail. It is an awesome hike.

Trail was pretty muddy in spots possibly due to the rains from recent storms. There are lots of alternate routes to get around the mud without too much problem. I liked the challenge of finding the path of least resistance. Otherwise it’s nicely packed with roots and stones for steps and bridges when necessary. Plenty of shade and cross winds for a pleasant temperature. To get to the very top of the falls one must climb a short path which is very steep but worth it. This is a technical trail due to some of its hazards but they are only a small part of the overall hike which allows you to keep going.

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.

3 months ago

I don’t know what kind of joke y’all are trying to play but this trial isn’t easy or moderate. This trail is one that you have to be an expert hiker in order to climb it. Not to mention the directions in order to get there are terrible...cause there are none. Best of luck to whoever attempts this trial.

We went on a Friday and the parking lot was full but most people stop at the lower falls. There was a lot of water on the trail so it was a little slippery at some points but the views were well worth it!

Great views at the top! Also very windy! Paved until close to the top, rocks could be a little slippery.

I love the view from this short hike. It is paved up most of the way. A little upward but go slow if you need to, not strenuous. I would suggest a clear day to see the wonderful views from here.

Enjoyed the hike! Was just right for my 1st hike. Beautiful view!

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