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

hiking
3 days ago

A quick simple hike along the Blue Ridge Parkway (park at the Looking Glass Rock Overlook and access is right across the road). Pathway was easy to navigate with stone steps on the hilly portions. An easy hike with the reward of a very beautiful natural waterfall and swimming hole. I went late morning mid-week and met only one other couple. Explore the banks downstream and you can easily find a quiet area to have a picnic and enjoy the sound of the water.

hiking
4 days ago

great short hike to a beautiful series of falls and pools. very refreshing and very cool water after you work up a sweat.

only downside were way too many dogs on the trail and there skat.

love dogs, but really? not the place...

the trail was great and the falls were great

Great hike! Short and sweet, has a really great waterfall and pools. Has rocks and steps so going can be slick in the rain.

Good hike with varied scenery. Spectacular views on the ridge.
Heavy traffic along the bald around Black Balsam and around the falls in the valley (due to parking areas).
Lots of areas to camp past the falls just before you go back into the Wilderness Area.
The river is spectacular. Lots of places to swim.

Recommendations:
Replenish water just before the Shining Creek Path ends (When you get into the pine trees after about 4.5 miles look for water. It is shown on the map). Very little water on ridge line (there is some). Plenty of places to get water from Black Balsam onwards. There were no bugs in Apr/May.
Loop the direction of the Shining Creek Path being the first day. A little strenuous but better than going the opposite way. A good two night trip if you want to take your time. Can easily be an overnight trip.
Detour up to Shining rock - the view is worth it.

I would consider this a relatively well used trail. Definitely saw a fair amount of people hiking and camping even though the weather called for an overnight storm.

Great little swimming hole included with scenic falls

hiking
23 days ago

Great trail! Pack light and enjoy this hike. Each section has its own feel and challenges. Spurs to shining rock and cold mountain are well worth the time and effort. Evenings still cool so prepare accordingly if you are going soon. Once your at elevation the wind can be a factor at night so keep an eye on that as you plan your hike. Check my recording for campsites and springs/water sources.

backpacking
1 month ago

Just got off the trail a few days ago, and it was awesome!! If you are looking for a challenge with some beautiful views, then this trail is for you.

We did this loop over 4 days 3 nights it was a nice easy rewarding trip. Hitting some of the best sections of the art loeb. Navigating was not to difficult, some sections are not marked at all. MTS section of course was well marked. Graveyard fields were closed to camping due to bear activity. So we avoided staying near that area. Bear canister is required and spray is recommended.

backpacking
1 month ago

Art Loeb trail kicked my butt. Be prepared for Pilot Knob, it’s killer. Beautiful views, killer hike. Very difficult but awesome.

Been hiking here for 20+ years. One of my all time favorite trails

hiking
3 months ago

Art Loeb was a real trooper, I find it amazing that Art built this trail the old fashion way by bushwhacking his way through the forest. Art chose the tallest five peaks he could find to climb, and when that wasn’t strenuous enough for him he decided to fully descend into the bottom of the canyon before hiking up to the next mountain summit. My wife, son and I hiked the Art Loeb trail in late fall and while the days were just beautiful the nights had fierce winds which made it nearly impossible to have a fire and enjoy the evenings. We only allowed 2 ½ days to hike the whole 30 miles which was a mistake because it didn’t allow us enough time to enjoy the views, next time I’ll provide 3 ½ days. We started the hike from Davidson River Campground and the first half of the trail is through dense forest but shortly after you cross the Blue Ridge Parkway the trail opens up. I have hiked dozens of impressive peaks in the Rockies but when you are carrying a 40-pound pack and trying to complete this trail in 2 ½ days its quite difficult, even for the most experienced hiker. We drove up a day before we started the hike and hid water near different road crossings that ended up being a really smart choice. We only had one car, so we rented a car from Hertz just outside of the park. Then drove up to the Boy Scout camp (where the trail ends) and dropped our car off. Then drove back to Hertz and they dropped us off at the Davidson River trailhead where the trail begins. They didn’t even charge us and the car only cost us about $30 for the day. Because of the grand views at the summits I would definitely hike this trail again but I can’t stress enough that I would allow for at least 3 ½ days to complete the hike.

Very easy trail that anyone could hike (my 80 yr old grandmother did it). The swimming hole is gorgeous the only reason I cannot give 5 stars is because of how crowded it can get (we went in the summer). If you can avoid the crowds and go on a weekday morning I’m sure it would be beautiful and relaxing.

Great hike, beautiful sunsets!!!

This trail is a whopper. Make sure you have some water and snacks packed. I did this in just under 6 hours and it ended up being 12.5 miles–a mile longer than described. This loop is also unmarked, so I found it helpful to follow my progress on the app.

The first 4 miles are pure ascent, with the first 2 being especially grueling. Be prepared. Once you reach Shining Rock, you can hop on Art Loeb from the 4-way intersection; the preset connecting trail is overgrown! Once you reach the Greasy Cove trail, the descent is gradual. Once this trail converges with Greasy Cove Prong, I believe the idea is to cross the river and continue the trail. However, I must have lost sight of the trail or perhaps it was obstructed due to fallen trees, because I couldn't find a connecting path. So I did what I had to, and hopped down the river on the rocks until I arrived at the Big East Fork trail. From here on, you walk alongside the river until you reach US 276. If you're like me, you'll be so relieved and take off your shoes to drive off barefoot.

Beautiful falls and wonderful weather.

Great trail. Hiked to flower gap from shining creek trail head on night one. Then found a spot along the Yellowstone prong on MTS trail night two.

hiking
6 months ago

Very nice and easy to get to.

trail running
7 months ago

super fun trail!!! love it!

hiking
8 months ago

Really fun spot for swimming. Lots of people, noise, kids, and dogs. Lots of trash laying around unfortunately. Relatively short distance, the up/down uneven surface to get there makes it moderate. Careful with wandering little ones, there are some areas where if they fall from the trail it's certain death. You can explore a little to either side of the main area if you're into rock hopping. Super slippery. There are a few smaller swimming holes if you look around.

hiking
9 months ago

Easy trail. Quiet view. Only negative is the trash and debris people leave behind.

Short but great!

hiking
9 months ago

One of my all time favorite hikes!

Tiresome but well worth it!!

I wish I had the all trails map downloaded when I started.
highly recommend you download it before you start just in case.

I had to back track in a few areas as they didn't lead anywhere besides hideaway campsites. As there's not a lot of markings after you start you just need to pay attention to what looks like the main trail.

The first 2 -3 hours of the hike are no joke, literally all up hill. At one point I got sick and to crawl under a rock to nap. My advice don't be a dumbass like me and drink a red bull before you start.

I didn't touch all bases of the trail but a good majority.
I do recommend starting in the early morning so you can get a glimpse of everything and bring lots of water and good snacks.

9 months ago

One of the best waterfalls for us. Short but hard hike from the parkway. Swimming, exploring and jumping off of rocks into the cold pools. Fun!

hiking
10 months ago

Short hike was perfect for the two year old. Great picnic at the falls but very, very crowded. Would recommend!

Great trail! Shaded and not a tough walk. Definitely worth it!

10 months ago

Really cool Falls area and swimming hole.

11 months ago

Annoyingly crowded. Very pretty but full of children screaming.

Unbelievable trail. Heads up, the ascent up is brutal with or without a pack. My girlfriend and I (and our very in shape German Shepard) took on this ascent with full pack. Our legs were toasted after the first 3 miles. The views are serene, but you earn every one. We camped after about 4.5 miles on the Art Loeb.

Day 2 was a blast. Downhill or flat for the remaining ~10 miles. You get a taste of all the different retain NC has to offer. Rock formations, green pastures and a long section along the creek with white water and swimming holes. There are two creek crossings, pack appropriately.

This is one of my all time favorites, but this is not a beginner trail. The uphill is brutal and the downhill gets very technical. The trail is completely unmarked so navigation skills are a must. The app is very helpful. Even so we had to backtrack a couple times.

Lightly trafficked and gorgeous, but not for the faint of heart or inexperienced backpacker.

hiking
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Very nice short hike. Bring a swimsuit in warmer months.

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