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Trail i is used for mountain biking so pay attention. Many root systems to watch out for. A very pleasant well maintained trail. Views are normal Forrest views. But I only walked in a mile or so.

Great walk through the forest. Was expecting an overlook view once I got to the top but there wasn’t one. Be careful of the mountain bikers! On a busy day it could be dangerous

Best trail I’ve been on in a long time!

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
1 day 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.

Beautiful hike! Definitely have a map!

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.

Gorgeous views from the top! Worth the climb.

This was a great hike with beautiful views. Trail 12 is not for the faint at heart if you go in the counter clock wise direction because almost every step is uphill. My only issue with this trail is its listed as dog friendly, and I would suggest leaving the dog at home if you want to do the whole loop. The park its self was very dog friendly, but trail 14 (the one with the swing bridge) has several spots where you get to a vertical rock face and you have to climb up or down a ladder. So, I ended up having to carry my 50 pound dog up and down the ladders. The other 3 trails do not have these ladders though.

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.

Great single track in most spots especially after the long climb up Pinnacle road. I missed a couple of turns, some areas lacked markers. Overall, awesome ride.

Amazing!!! One of the best trails we done!

No one is kidding about the view, it's absolutely breath-taking. My fiancee and I chose this hike after seeing it across the valley from Black Balsam Knob. The hike itself starts out slow and gradually gets more difficult, after the gradual switchbacks it starts getting really rocky and the path becomes a tangle of roots, it's gets maybe a little more than a 30° incline at this point but right before you hit the top it suddenly has a downward slope. We went on a Saturday and it was pretty busy, there were lots of dogs including ours and dogs of various sizes. There were people of every age on the trail, it's not too difficult but can be a little hard on the knees. Watch out for the tree roots, they tripped me on the way down. Bring lots of water!

Just a heads up, someone had a Lost Dog notice posted on October 6, 2018. A Brittany Spaniel went missing, by the name of Jake. The number to call if you see him is 303.717.0291.

Just wanted to pass this on!

This was a great hike. Moderate to Hard as it says. It took us about 2 hours to get to the top, with a few stops to drink water and let our 7 yr dog have a break. It was about an hour and half back down. The hike up doesn’t have any views (maybe later in Fall or Winter), but the view at the top is spectacular. Would be an excellent place to bring some food for a picnic.

My only warning would be to watch what time you start this hike. The first time I did it, we started to late, and ended up hiking in pitch darkness. Watching people start the hike at 4pm in Autumn, made me think they would end up hiking in the dark as well. If you start late, just make sure to bring a flashlight or two.

Lots of payoff, clockwise is the way to go. harder than we expected as we're not in prime shape but very rewarding. Beautiful hike with several spots to see waterfalls, the suspension bridge was a huge highlight.

Good day hike close to home...will be back as the leaves turn.

backpacking
14 days ago

Beavers sometimes flood parts of the trail making the area almost “ancient.”

hiking
14 days ago

It’s a tough climb.

My dog and I took the 11 12 14 13 11 route, which my watch measured at ~8.5 miles. Total round trip was about 3:45 (we’re quick hikers). Good hike, but we were fighting through spiderwebs on 12 and 14 was sketchy in parts due to fallen trees and storm debris. 14 has three ladders as well, so it’s not quite dog friendly. Keep in mind that the valley floor is will quite a bit steamier than the overlook, we were hot!

Awful trail. Very very rough, always rains, no camping views at cold mountain, trail is not kept up at all, would not recommend

Awesome hike. I went counterclockwise to the summit and the views were absolutely beautiful. There were a number of stream crossing which were not difficult and many had “bridges”. I definitely plan on doing this hike again later this fall to see the leaves change.

hiking
18 days ago

After walking past the fly fishermen, you’ll cross a wooden bridge 200 yards from the parking lot and then start walking past a half dozen pretty campsites along the river over the next half mile before the ascent begins. If you take the first right turn marked John Rock, you’ll ascend the easier counterclockwise route. If you prefer doing the harder altitudinal changes before reaching the rock face, then continue straight a while longer on the way up, and the turn at the second John Rock sign to make the steeper clockwise climb across the summit and ridge line (and past a few nice campsites up there) before reaching the Rock.

The view of the valley and other hills from the rock face is beautiful, and if you walk down to the right, you can sit comfortably on a broad rock shelf facing Looking Glass Rock across the valley.

I suspect that John (after whom the rock is named) was a yellow jacket because five or ten times many of his family members aggressively attacked several hikers to advertise their displeasure at the trespasses. Be careful!

hiking
18 days ago

The walk up primarily is a set of switchbacks that gradually rise across the face of the same forested slope: pretty and green, but the view doesn’t change for quite a while. When the view does change, though, it is simply breathtaking. I sat on a rock just on the outside of the main exit from the forest to have lunch and to hear people’s reactions as they emerged. Just as I had done, even having read the reviews, truly 100% vocalized some instant, quiet, and genuine, nearly spiritual, version of, “Oh, wow .”

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.

Great hike. Gradual incline due to multitude of switchbacks. Moderately strenuous for a weekend hiker. Incredible panoramic view. Make sure to pack a lunch and plan to stay a while to enjoy the view.

Nice climb. My first goal-oriented hike. Consistent elevation rise.

This trail is one of my all time favs!!♡♡♡

on Looking Glass Rock Trail

hiking
1 month ago

As other reviewers have mentioned, the main highlight is reaching the top and getting the spectacular view of the mountains! I found it to be worth it for a day hike. There are tons of switchbacks but nothing too difficult. The trail was nice and well-maintained. Lots of shade as you are in tree cover 99% of the hike. Even though I did see what looked like a few places to camp not far from the top, I am not sure I would want to overnight camp there. Only saw a handful of people either way. Its a hike worth doing to see it for yourself!

Very clean trail, I love the hike going up. The summit is one of the the best I have seen.

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