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This trail delivered just what I was looking for as far as being a bit challenging but nothing crazy and the payoff at the top was amazing ! I went on a Sunday morning , on the way up it was only minimally busy, the rock itself was pretty crowded and on the way back down around 1pm was very heavily trafficked and SO MANY off leash dogs, which would have been fine as long as you don't have a dog reactive dog with you, as my friend did . I would not suggest bringing a dog unless it is extremely well trained and non dog reactive because it appears that off leash dogs on this trail is a big thing .

I would totally do this hike again but probably on a weekday or a colder day to avoid the crowd.

not horribly difficult. it's is almost completely uphill on the outward leg. lots of springs so the trail gets pretty wet. We did it in tennis shoes and had no issues. amazing view at the end.

Well worth the drive. But the gravel road is very bumpy and barely wide enough for two cars. Without an SUV, that road takes a lot longer to drive. It took us an hour to drive it. But it was a beautiful hike with great views.

This hike is much longer than stated. we clocked almost 14 miles. This is difficult and very strenuous! The view is worth it, but make sure you begin early enough and bring snacks!

If you don’t want to spend all day hiking this trail...you can drive to the summit and enjoy the same views. The hike wasn’t worth it after finding this little tid bit out. Also...almost got mauled by a bear.

This is a really nice 1/2 day hike. The payoff at the end with the view is really beautiful, especially in the fall. Definitely would suggest making that your lunch spot. I would rate this moderate not hard, at least when comparing it to some other hikes in the region such as table rock. That being said however, it is overall an upwards gradient just about the whole time, but the switchbacks in the first half are generally pretty smooth and gradual which is why I rate it more moderate (I saw young children making it to the top...albeit it took them extra time). Lots of dogs in the trail. It took us 1 hour 20 minutes to get up with one short water break, stayed at the view for about an hour, and then took 1 hour 10 minutes to come back down. Trail was pretty busy, but did go on a Saturday.

Hiked this with my 7 year old; took about 3 hours. We both loved it! Got a little nervous go be up so high at the summit with just the kiddo, dog and me; but a good opportunity to teach safety. It was beautiful, especially during leaf season. I would not rate this trail as hard; more moderate than anything. My son and I even trail ran the last mile.

hiking
10 days ago

Short hike with great views.

hiking
10 days ago

Hiked this trail November 1st just before cold front came through. 3 things about this trail-rocky , rooty and windy, well marked and maintained.. Need good hiking shoes at a minimum, poles optional, and bring layered clothing with wind breaker , gloves and hat a must as it gets nippy at top . Can be a challenge if not in at least average shape. Plan on 5-8 hours round trip. Well worth doing and you get the pleasure of knocking off the highest peak east of the mighty Mississippi.

hiking
11 days ago

Question: the 10 miles it says it is, is this total? or each way?

Amazing view as everyone said. Took me 2hr 50 min out and back. I'll take it considering I'm a bit out of shape. lots of dogs and can be very muddy after rain.

Beautiful. Moderate walk with superb views, especially at the top. Bring a lunch and a camera.

hiking
18 days ago

The hike itself is beautiful. Steep and definitely kinda difficult, but short enough that it's not a problem. HOWEVER, only go if you have a car that can handle a bumpy gravel road! You'll be on a dirt road for about 15-20 minutes before you hit paved road near the very top, and the dirt road was difficult to navigate for our VW Beetle. If we had a sturdier car it would've been totally fine, but instead it was quite nerve-racking!

Oct 20 18: leaves at the summit view were 10-20% turned to their fall colors.

Great hike. Relentless climbing over roots and rocks. The summit is freezing cold with winds, fog, drizzle. Reminded me of Clingmans Dome Make sure you bring a jacket to enjoy the summit without freezing to death. The most incredible thing: The hot apple cider available for purchase next to the gift shop, it was like a cup of unicorn tears mixed with liquid gold.

Excellent trail. Took 3 hours and 10 minutes to summit. About 3 even coming down. Some things you should know: there’s no internet access from about 30 min before getting to Black Mountain Campground and no signal. No signal all the way up the mountain. I did find very weak and spotty signal in the museum at the summit. Good enough for a few text messages.
The trail is very, very well marked. Or at least the blue diamond trail is.
Climbed on 10/21. It was at most 50 degrees at the base. Had to be below freezing at the summit. Much colder than expected so be prepared. There was crazy wind at all exposed points so bring a wind proof jacket.
All else: great hike. About as nice as a 7 hour hike could go. (Spent some time warming up at the top). Highly recommend this trail.

We started at Pine Gap and hiked as far as we could south. The first night we camped right before Spence’s Ridge would meet up with the Linville Gorge Trail. Hiked about 10 miles including some spurts to Babel Tower and the end of Pine Gap. The second day we hiked as far south as we could but there were two major landslides and we couldn’t find the trail after the 2nd one. We were probably a mile from where it ends. We turned around and hiked past where we spent the night before, probably 1.5 miles south of Babel. Hiked out from there the next day. There are plenty of campsites on the south end, especially around the Conley Cove access. Plenty of water stations! It is a beautiful hike and wasn’t as bad as we were expecting. It is very rocky and there are lots of down trees! Probably could cross the river at the south end but would not rely on crossing near Devils Hole or Spence’s Ridge unless you are prepared to swim against a raging river and get entirely wet!!

Beautiful short hike to the waterfall with little boulders perfect for the kids to climb along the way. We hiked up past the falls to get a good look from up above.

After driving down a gravel road for a while it will turned paved again and follow it until you reach the parking lot. Takes roughly 25 minutes to ascend. Great view

Don’t miss the climb up the Babel towel rock, about 1/3 of the way down. Spectacular views, especially in the fall.

hiking
24 days ago

The hike is SO worth the view, especially in the fall with all the changing colors. I went on a Wednesday in October and the parking was full, but the trail wasn’t nearly as full of people as I thought it would be. The trees kept me shaded almost the entire way and it took me about 2-2.5 hours to do the entire thing. Highly recommended hike!

Great hike. Was challenging at points but nothing crazy, was able to hike the whole thing going up without stopping. Very narrow at points so you will have to move to the side if someone is coming. Parking gets tight but you can park on the street. The only place to go to the bathroom is at the visitors lodge fyi which is at the start of the park.

hiking
27 days ago

this Trail is listed as hard but I imagine it's because there's a gradual incline most of the hike. Periodically there are sharper climbs with quicker elevation and some Slippery Rock When Wet. this hike is it should be listed as heavy moderate. when you do reach the summit and you step out onto the looking rock it'll make every one of your steps worthwhile. The view is absolutely Majestic.

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.

Perfect for a quick yet not easy hike with awesome views!!

Gorgeous views from the top! Worth the climb.

Super short and easy walk through the woods for an awesome view under the falls. I went mid-week while it was raining after the tropical storm came through and the falls were beautiful. Only saw 2 other people mid-week. Highly recommend after a good rain if you’re close by or for a slight detour. The path only had a minor amount of flooding that was avoidable.

I definitely think it is longer than marked, although it is not as difficult as some hikes I’ve done. All in all a magnificent quest, ending with a very cold summit which adds to the wonder. My heeler, 12 year old, 8 year old, and two year old in my pack did it with only minor difficulty on Monday. My only complaint is that we didn’t get the views once at the top due to the weather, but can’t control that. It was more like 7 Miles according to my Garmin.

Tough but manageable 3-mile upward climb with an awesome view at the top. We are 51 and 62 in average shape and had no difficulty, but it did wear us out! It took about two hours to get to the top, where we stayed about 30 minutes, then another 90 minutes or so to get back down. Take lots of water. Don’t wear sandals as there are lots of tree roots and rocks to trip over. Hiking poles were useful.

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