Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

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!

I would rate this as moderate not easy as it is pretty steep with mud and uneven path. The view would have been great if it were not so cloudy.

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

The Art Loeb Trail is heavily eroded from all the foot traffic, but the views from Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain are outstanding. We took our kids and even though the sign post near the parking lot states that the Art Loeb Spur is rated difficultit's a difficult, they had a great time. Once you reach the Investor Gap Trail head back to the parking lot (about half way point) it's pretty flat and wide. Lots of little springs along the Ivestor Gap section.

Beautiful trail. Great views along the ridge line at the top. This is a moderate hike, so prepare to be a little challenged, even though it is short.

Nice views. Lots of dogs and what dogs leave behind.

I fell in love with the blue ridge on the art loeb trail.

Amazing views all around

This is a great trail for hikers who like crossing through fields of wildflowers and high grasses. Watch out for snakes, of course, and don’t worry about the bees everywhere because they’ve got plenty to focus on other than you. The top of the hill provides nice views from flat rocks (again, snakes on warm days), so bring a camera and a snack for the summit.

We did the loop from Looking Glass overlook in an anticlockwise direction, and omitted Black Balsam for a total of 11 miles and 2300 ft of rise. Very nice moderate walk with a variety of scenery. The trail is quite overgrown by Ivestor Gap but not so much that you loose it. Watch out for the stream crossings on Greasy as the rocks can be slick but the water depth is usually low.

so I have to give my daughter a shout out she is only 5years old and she hiked from Daniel Boone boys scout camp to the summit of Cold Mountain and back in one day. We hiked it as a family I carried our 2year old in a pack on my back and the wife carried all our food and water. We started at 9:15am and made it back to the truck at 7:25pm. it was tough and we had to take plenty of breaks but I don't know how many other 5year olds can say they have done it. Next time I believe we will camp though.

Beautiful!!! Would rate as moderate to get to top but well worth the trek!!! Beautiful panoramic views at the top!!

This is a short hike in and out. There’s at least two different trails you can take to get to black balsam. One is very steep and rocky with roots sticking up everywhere, and the other is not so bad. ;). Very open and airy hike with wonderful views! Views aren’t as good in the summer because of haze though. But like all of our beautiful hikes here, it’s over crowded. You’ll have a hard time finding a parking spot on the weekends and the same goes for a camping spot. And no you can’t just make another spot somewhere. “Leave no trace” please.

Very nice loop if you like a challenge! We did it without modifications. Sometimes the trails are hard to find. Two unexpected river/creek crossings. Dicey and some got wet boots. Did this August 23. Trails were completely overgrown in places and covered with grasses. It moved slow. It took us 10 hours. Our total miles were 13.8 instead of what AllTrails said. I would not have rated this hike moderate with a total of over 3000+ elevation gain. Very diverse and the river and falls were beautiful. I could not have done this without the AllTrails GPS helping me find the right trails. Many are unmarked and confusing.

Amazing views, multiple peaks, and an easy to follow trail. Highly recommended.

Awesome trail. Trails aren’t marked but easy to navigate and all trails was spot on. Did this hike after a few days of heavy rain. Art Loeb was wet but easy to avoid dunking your feet. Investor Gap was a creek as others reviewed. Felt longer than 3.9 miles, but maybe due to the extra steps over the rain runoff. A great variety of terrain and views were amazing; will do this again for sure.

The first half of this hike was amazing. However, then the trail becomes incredibly overgrown and at some point the trail didn’t seem to follow this at all? We are experienced hikers and it took us longer than we expected. So, go at your own risk.

Hiked this with family in November 2017. It remains my favorite hike. The views at the top are amazing. So clear views for a long ways away. Great photo ops. Can’t wait to return.

2 months ago

First mile of the trail was very wet, but luckily more rocky than muddy. Views are spectacular as you reach the first intersection with the Art Loeb trail. Saw a three-foot long timber rattler as we were leaving, near the Art Loeb trailhead!

2 months ago

Well maintained partially paved trail with numerous stairs, would imagine this is fairly doable by most fitness levels. Dogs on a leash can traverse the trail easily. The falls were beautiful after a week of heavy rain.

Felt like coming home

Beautiful 360 view of the Blue Ridge, wow!

360 degree panoramic views, butterflies, blueberries-great hike.

Beautiful hike, moderate difficulty, amazing ridge top views. There are latrines in the parking area, but you don’t want to use them. Combine with Art Loeb trail to make a nice 5 mile loop.

Don’t be fooled by the number of cars parked along the road at trailhead. Many people are just there to camp. Not exactly easy trail as many parts have rocks to scurry up or step through. Meadow at the top with a hum of bumblebees on the many wildflowers. Amazing views in every direction. We’ve done it twice this trip.

3 months ago

Good fishing. Rough trail not marked well but won’t get you lost.

Beautiful views. Lots of wildflowers. A nice, enjoyable outing.

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