Shining Creek-Old Butt Knob Loop Trail

HARD 45 reviews
#27 of 132 trails in

Shining Creek-Old Butt Knob Loop Trail is a 8.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Canton, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
8.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3064 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

This loop is not blazed because it is located in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area. Some trail junctions are very difficult to recognize. Begin on Shining Creek trail (old roadbed) from the Big East Fork Trailhead. Ascend along the creek most of the way to the Art Loeb Trail at the top of the ridge (approximately 4.1 miles). Turn right. You'll see Shining Rock after about 0.5 miles. Stay to the right and ascend uphill near the rock. Just past the trail on the left that leads to the top of the rock for spectacular views look for a faint trail on the right. Turn here on Old Butt Knob Trail. This junction may be difficult to recognize. Continue down this trail to rock outcrops with great views. Continue descending until you intersect with Shining Creek Trail again. Turn left to return to the trailhead.

camping
1 month ago

Bring your oxygen. Starting out on the old butt knob trail you'll experience a rapid elevation gain. Previous posts stated this leg is a "fitness hike" and I couldn't agree more. The trail only provides two or three open views of the valley until you reach shining rock. The trail is easy to follow with just a map (no gps used). The trail head is the most difficult location to navigate to find the start of old butt. Shining rock is epic but can be a little confusing to find. The trail comes to a "T". To the right will be a tight narrow overgrown path into shining rock. Once you are up on the rocks it can be a little confusing finding the path out. Wouldn't hurt to leave the pack as a marker for the trail. We did not hike the shining creek trail to finish the loop. Instead we took the investor gap trail and camped at investor gap (about 2 miles) from shining rock. Enroute to investor gap there are a series of springs that provided ample water for filtering. The views from investor gap are spectacular. There are 5-6 well established camp sites just outside the wilderness area that allows for open fires. I would highly suggest an overnight camp at these sites.

backpacking
1 month ago

My wife, my dog, and I did a 3-day backpacking trip on this trail. We took 3 days because we just wanted a couple extra nights in the wilderness, but it can be done as a day hike or an overnight. We ascended Old Butt Knob and descended Shining Creek. IMHO, The only reason to hike OBK is for the personal challenge – maybe you’ve been doing a lot of cross-fit and you want to see if there has been a noticeable change in your fitness. OBK trail is steep, fraught with leaves covering acorns, is close enough to the Blue Ridge Parkway that we heard the rumble of Harleys all along the ascent, has a scarcity of campsites, only 2 scenic views, and offers no place to filter water. The trail was not difficult to follow, but I was carrying a GPS with the tracks to follow. The split to Shining Creek trail is marked by a sign so it was not difficult to find. Camping along OBK is sparsely available around the 3-mile mark, but then there is nothing obvious again until after 4.5 miles. The best tent campsites on the OBK are near where the Art Loeb trail intersects the OBK. Even hammock-camping is nearly impossible on the OBK. Hammock camping is much more abundant on the Shining Creek trail, but tent camping sites are available as well. Water can be filtered along the Shining Creek trail, especially when the trail crosses tributary streams. Counter-clockwise, the first chance to filter water is at about 5 miles. There are some springs closer than that, but the water was very brackish – probably just easier to walk the additional half mile to where it can be filtered easily. Shining Creek trail was phenomenal. I would not recommend doing the trail clockwise with a backpack as the descent of OBK would carry a significant risk of injury due to its incline and acorns/sticks/rock hidden by leaves. Imagine carrying a backpack downhill on marbles. We started on a Thursday, and we were the only people on the trail. By Saturday, we encountered about a dozen other hikers/backpackers. We would readily do the Shining Creek Trail again, but not the OBK. Trekking poles on the ascent of OBK are probably pointless as your hands are needed to grab roots, trees, and rocks as you climb up; however, they are helpful on the descent of Shining Creek.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

tough!!!! well worth the climb up old butt! old butt connects straight to shinning rock. shining creek is the less steep than old butt. but i love climbing old butt. some awesome vistas off old butt if you know where you are. 6 hrs including a 1hr sunset dinner at the top. not blazed. recommend being acclimated to navigating mountains. Only trail marking I saw was for shinning creek off of art loab.

hiking
3 months ago

5 months ago

Old Butt sucked. Super hard for no payoff. Shining Creek was phenomenal though. Steady descent/ascent so it may be hard on your knees, but follows a creek with amazing waterfalls. Great creekside campsites along the way. Easily find your way up to Shining Rock mountain and rock face for some great vistas.

5 months ago

backpacking
5 months ago

Shining rock creek gets a 5 star. Old butt trail sucked so hard. Tips: don't do old butt, there's some really nice off trail camping near the beginning of shining creek. Old butt has tons of cob webs too, so much I had to wear a bug net and I've only ever used that thing twice ever. It was too unbearable. Whatever you do, don't ascend old butt trail either, it's extremely steep. Like straight climbing steep. The paths are also not well kept either and theres like maybe two scenic views on the entire trail. As for shining rock creek, I loved it. So many springs, rapids, waterfalls, and basins where you can swim or dip your feet. It's extremely humid in there though. If you are adamant about doing the entire loop, at the intersection take a right when you leave shining rock creek, then go straight, then at a rock clearing with some tall trees go right up the hill and you'll find old butt trail. Don't follow signs for cold mountain. Again though, I highly recommend you just stay on shining creek trail, just omit old butt because it sucks. One of the worst trails I've ever been on and I hike and backpack every weekend.

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

I would rate this loop as moderate. The Shining Creek trail is nicer than the Old Butt Knob trail. It runs mostly along a creek is is quite scenic. The Old Butt Knob trail is rather boring in comparison. There are no great scenic vistas on this loop. It's a pleasant hike, but not spectacular.

6 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

The nothern segment to the top is challenging and has limited views. The southern segment along the creek is beautiful with numerous waterfalls. We did the whole loop but the way down was difficult with rocky footings and deep areas covered in leaves. There are several areas where it is quite easy to lose the trail.... There are no markers. Overall it is worth it... Just wish we had more time to enjoy the falls on the way down.

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

This trail loop is not for the faint of heart. Depending on your physical condition and age is for the strong of heart or foolish of heart. We took the loop to right, this is a rugged climb, 2500 feet in a little over 2 miles. There are some spectacular views if you take the side trails off the loop. On the main trail itself, the views are sparse, and we hiked in winter when leaves are at a minimum. Continuing on past Shinning Rock there is an option to take a trail to west of the main trail. It looked more traveled, so we took it. It lead through a rich white quartz forest. Huge boulders of quartz and large rocks to hike through, absolutely beautiful. There are no trail blazes on any portion of these trails and we lost the trail in the quartz formations, so be cautious. After 15 minutes of using the Alltrails app to guide us back to the trail, we did locate it and continue on our way. The return along Shinning Creek Path is 3.4 miles of relentless downhill, filled with many obstacles, fallen trees, small creek beds, and leaves that were as much as a foot deep, making footing a guessing game. Once again no trail blazes so there were times the trail was difficult to follow, we looked for evidence of fallen trees cut by chain saws, small patches gravel not indigenous to the area, or well worn roots to help. Overall a good hike with plenty of adventure.

hiking
9 months ago

10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
Sunday, November 13, 2016