Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Shining Rock Wilderness Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

7 days ago

Used the Ivestor Gap Trail to return to the Sam Knob Trailhead/Ivestor Gap Trailhead on Black Balsam Knob Road, after having used the Art Loeb Trail to hike Blalck Balsam Knob, Tennent Mountain, Grassy Cove Top and Shinning Rock. Ivestor Gap Trail is a flat trail/unmaintained jeep trail, that follows the same contour around the sides of Grassy Cove, Tennent and Black Balsam. So, it's a quick and easy way back from Shining Rock. This trail/road can and usually is wet and in the winter icy.

14 days ago

Excellent camp sites 3-4 miles in on right. Trail falls apart a little at creeks. Just bear right in both spots. Also tricky on rock along river but picks back up easily.

Hiked this one after deciding against climbing nearby Mt. Pisgah (due to a thick blanket of slippery, wet leaves). Turned what could have been a disappointing day into a lovely one!

over grown
washed out
16 days ago

If I'm rating the trail, it's a 3. The views are a 5 though. We hiked this trail plus more, going to Shining Rock. None of the trails are well marked. The trails were very washed out. We encountered several long stretches of "creek" hiking and massive puddles. Many parts of the trail were hard to navigate with 40 pound packs - steep, narrow, rocky. We also encountered bear hunters just off of the trail - always a buzz kill when you're trying to enjoy nature. We camped on Black Balsam Knob and luckily had all the right gear, because it was a brutally cold and gusty night. The views are great, but the trails need a lot of maintenance.

20 days ago

Absolutely beautiful! Plenty of places for dogs to get into water. Only walked about 50 minutes and then came back. Would love to go further with company. Not much incline but pretty wet and rocky in places. Also some odd side trails so use GPS or just stay close to river. Did this on a Monday in October so only 2 other couples seen.

Investor Gap Trail was very wet, rocky and muddy. The first 1.25 miles was more like hiking in a shallow stream, which surprised me as I didn’t think it had rained within the last few days. Tennent Mt. was dry with 360-degree views; wow! Slightly soggy on the way to Black Balsam Knob. Surprised to see so many people on a Monday at Black Balsam Knob, but it is leaf-peeping season... Muddy on the Art Loeb Spur Trail but more manageable than Investor Gap. Took 2 hours moving time and about 30 min for lunch at Tennent Mt. Great hike!

It was cloudy with zero visability today but it was still a fun easy hike.

This is one of my favorite all time hikes. Sometimes you don’t want a challenge and you just want to soak in the views. You hike up a couple of switchbacks through a small forest and BAM 360 degree views all the way past black balsam knob to Tennant Mountain. This hike is a must do. I did see signs of bear activity, so hiker beware. Especially when berries are around.

Breathtakingly beautiful trail with views the whole way up. Easy to moderate with parts that get your heart pumping so you feel accomplished plus you see some incredible 360 views!! Not heavily trafficked when I went and can start to see some color change! One of my favorites in this area!

Easy hike with great views! Parking was scarce, highly trafficked area but do not feel that took away from the beauty.

Great loop hike with amazing views. Start out going up the art loeb spur trial. Trees are just starting to change up in elevation.

I wouldn’t call the whole trail moderate. Just the entrance to the art loeb trail through the Forest was a bit rocky. Then you come out to a clearing and WOW!!!! 360 degree views from Balsam Knob to Tennant mountain. It took me forever because i stopped to set up my tripod so much. I only did half the trail before I had to turn around before dark. I’ll come back and camp for sure!

Awesome trail that had amazing views all along the trail, but the view at the end was gorgeous! Our 3 going on 4 year old was able to accomplish it with relative ease and was excited the whole way. Make sure to park near the trailhead if you can as most people will accidentally park at the parking lot at the end of the road. Trail can get narrow at points but there is always some kind of space to step off to the side to let oncoming or faster hikers pass. This is a hike we will continues to do as a family tradition for sure!

Nice out and back. Great views along the way.

Awesome trail. Views most of the way. Short.

We started via the Art Loeb Spur trail near the parking lot and made a circle. It was extremely foggy but made for some really cool pictures. The spur trail is a little challenging and slippery.

I hiked this trail in foggy conditions so I can not give much about look out views. The hike it’s self was easy. Watch your feet because there are a few loose rocks. The path it pretty well maintained there are parts where the vegetation is over grown into the narrow path, so would suggest not wearing shorts. The hike was a lot of fun and the flowers, trees, and birds were beautiful. I brought my dog and she had no problems doing this hike and she had a blast!

Nice hike.. unfortunately cloudy wet and windy. Views would have been awesome if clear...will have to do again. Fairly over grown in many places but not horrible...but late summer and before killing cold expected when trails are narrow. The All Trails red route on the ridge, separate from the dotted line, was heavily eroded, narrow, very rocky but would have great views to the east. the dotted line trail would have views to the west. Overall a moderate hike. Oct 5, 2019

Very good hike, we hiked from where the map said but went up towards Tennent Mountain past it to investors gap trail which is for off roading. You can take a small trail that will take you back to the start or you can hitchhike for a tiny bit back to your car using the road. Bring a hat.

Beautiful views. Could not discern the Black Balsam Knob Trail (overgrown) so just did an out-and-back.

Great trail for folks just getting into backpacking. It’s not blazed the best but a little pre planning will take care of that. Highly recommend. Great views all around.

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