backpacking
2 months ago

Unquestionably the most menacing hill I've done in the combined Shining Rock / Middle Prong wildernesses.

The trail begins unceremoniously just a few yards past the bridge coming from the campground..

Once you manage to top the ridge, the trail frequently vanishes, but is recoverable by remaining on the ridge-line while favoring the left side.

I actually went down it coming up from the MST to loop back via the Fork Ridge. My toe nails were black for months afterward. Looked like I was trying to be a Goth or something!

A brutal trail, but worth a tale!

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.

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.

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

Hiked this trail over 2 years back. Absolutely loved it! However, use extreme caution, this trail isn't marked and the way up is steep at first. Also, because there aren't any blazes, I didn't know it was a loop trail, so I ended up hiking back the way I came.

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.

Great weekend/ overnight trail to enjoy nice and slow. It would also be a great trail to take friends or kids who have never been backpacking before. We went up the investor Gap trail and back down the Art Loeb. Once you get into the Shining Rock Wilderness, it does get confusing as there are trails that are unmarked and do not appear on any maps. When you get to the big intersection with the shining rock wilderness sign, keep walking past that sign to stay on the Investor Gap trail. This can be an easy place to get on the wrong trail, as there are more trails branching off than appear on the map. All in all a awesome hike with incredible views from Shining Rock at the turnaround point, As well at the two other 6000+ peaks you get to stand on. The views all along the trail are awesome too. Great hike, good distance, not too difficult. There are plenty of places to camp along the Art Loeb. All the water sources are on the investor Gap trail or up around Shining Rock.

Take heed when it says "very experienced adventurers." We weren't aware that this pieced together a couple of trails, and we needed GPS to trail blaze to stay with this route. I'm glad we did it, but won't do it again!!! Haha!!