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Shining Rock Wilderness Loop via Art Loeb Trail

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Middle Prong Wilderness

Shining Rock Wilderness Loop via Art Loeb Trail is a 9.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Canton, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,440 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

over grown

rocky

hiking
13 days ago

Really muddy out the first couple miles. The view from shining rock is great, but the trail is poorly marked and overgrown. Wear pants and sleeves if you do this in the summer because half of it feels like bushwhacking.

over grown
rocky
13 days ago

A unique and beautiful loop for sure! We started with the flat part of Ivestor Gap first and ended on Black Balsam right at sunset. The bushes are very overgrown right around 'Shining Rock' itself.

1 month ago

would have gave it 5 stars, but trails are not marked clearly at all. but this place is beautiful! view's in every direction.

Simply spectacular. Go out to Shining Rock via Art Loeb to put all of the elevation at the front of the hike, and return via Ivestor Gap. A terrific hike with a nice mix of challenge and awesome views.

hiking
3 months ago

Bear encounter: 9PM April 2nd, 2020 at Flower Gap along this trail. Sitting around the campsite talking when a bear came with 5 feet of us and grabbed some nuts out of our open bear canister. It walked away, sat down and snacked on them. It came back, went through the canister some more then walked towards the tent, sniffed it, and left down the trail going towards Shining Rock. At one point it looked at us and approached us. We shuffled around the fire and it changed paths and left. Hindsight is 20/20 and we should have probably tried to scare it away but everything worked out! I love this loop regardless of a bear encounter.

hiking
3 months ago

We went in April of 2019 and we had a bear canister but someone we were backing with had a Kevlar bear bag we when to shinning rock to watch the sunset and we got back and there was a large bear ripping into the bear bag we hiked out that night at 8 but the views are amazing and the stars were also. BRING A BEAR CANISTER

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

Great payoffs on the Art Loeb stretch, all the way out to Shining Rock- dramatic ridge line, purple mountains, and sunshine. Shining Rock also delivers, with stunning, stark quartzite out of nowhere. The Ivestor section was a lot more boring and quite a bit muddier to boot, but honestly maybe that’s welcome by the time you summit Shining Rock! Just depends on what you’re after. The first part of this hike has some gain and downhill, so poles may be helpful for folks with sensitive knees and ankles. I went without and it was fine! Really love this section of Art Loeb!

This trail is so gorgeous! So many incredible views 360 degree views in the beginning. It’s challenging enough to get a great workout but nothing too extreme. There are so many changes of scenery along the way, and it was awesome to see the pretty white quartz that makes up Shining Rock. If I didn’t have this app and able to follow along my recording, we probably would have gotten lost. It would be great if the trails were marked a little better.

hiking
7 months ago

Started this hike from parking area near the trailhead for Ivestor Gap Trail. Walked south down Black Balsam Knob Rd to the Art Loeb trailhead. Using a gpx file downloaded from the Carolina Mountain Club website we followed the Art Loeb trail over Black Balsam Knob, Tennent Mountain, Grassy Cove Top, and Shining Rock. Issue others mention with confusing navigation around Shining Rock we not an issue with this gpx file (this is hike #129 in the Carolina Mountain Club database of hikes). We used the Ivestor Trail for our return hike south. We used an unnamed trail (it might be called the Sam Knob Trail) from our original parking spot to hike over to and up Sam Knob and returned the same way.

hiking
off trail
over grown
rocky
9 months ago

Amazing trail with beautiful views all around. Skipped Investor Gap and took the Art Loeb back up Tennent Mountain and Black Balsam. It was a steep climb but the views were worth it. Plenty of great camping spots all the way up to Shining Rock. Some really good looking ones near Tennent Mountain. You hit some overgrown spots near Grassy Knob and Shining Rock, but they're pretty tame if you're used to backcountry backpacking.

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
10 months ago

This was one of my favorite trails I’ve done here in North Carolina. Adventure. Some reviewers Complained about bushwhacking through parts of this trail, however if you are a native of North Carolina and enjoy hiking here, this is no surprise or an issue. Excellent views excellent trail could be better marked.

hiking
rocky
11 months ago

Great hike to get my heart pumped and beautiful over looks

hiking
11 months ago

I really enjoyed the first few miles heading in the opposite direction of the wide ATV trail. Going up the hill to the stunning vistas. So pretty. This trail was SUPER overgrown. Granted I started at 7am after a rain the previous night, but I was drenched the first 6 miles of the hike from waist to sometimes shoulder high brush. The trail isn’t overly difficult, but tested my perseverance. There are little to no trail markings and without the app I’d still be wandering around out there. I did love all the hummingbirds, butterflies, and pollinator bees. Loads of blueberry bushes too.

hiking
over grown
rocky
washed out
Sat Jun 22 2019

This was a beautiful trail but fair warning, the Art Loeb is SUPER overgrown. I was bushwacking for a solid 70% of this hike. I also got lost around Shining Rock and ended up climbing up part it - spoiler alert, that was not correct. A fun day over all, but just be prepared with bug spray, long pants, and GIS and/or a map and compass.

hiking
Sat Mar 02 2019

Always a gorgeous trek :)

backpacking
Tue Oct 30 2018

backpacking
Mon Oct 15 2018

We did Ivestor Gap up to Shining Rock and then came back down the Art Loeb trail and made camp on the grassy meadow at the base of Grassy Cove Top. Spectacular views, but can get crowded on weekends. Important things to note when backpacking in shining rock: 1) bear canisters are now REQUIRED when camping, 2) speaking of bears, there has been a lot of bear activity at the camp sites near Shining Creek so be aware, 3) the weather up there is very unpredictable - we had perfect weather through out Saturday but after we made camp and went to bed a storm rolled in and the wind nearly ripped our tents apart and we woke up in a cold cloud of mist! All in all it was an amazing adventure, just be prepared if you plan to camp and bring a map because as many have mentioned the trails are poorly marked with lots of side trails.

Sun Sep 23 2018

I really enjoyed Art Loeb to Black Balsam and Tennett. Just past Tennett there is a grassy meadow valley. From there you follow Flower Gap to continue to Shining Rock. I would have been happy turning around at the cove. The trail until then was open and airy. Great views. But it far into the Flower Gap portion it was cramped. The trail was narrow and the vegetation was dense. There were a few cool trees along the way. I wasn’t super impressed with Shining Rock. It was a bunch of giant boulders. You can climb on them if that’s your thing but be careful to come back down the way you care. Surrounding the boulders are those curvy wavy trees/ bushes (not sure what they are called but they look like an enchanted forest) so it’s hard to get your bearings. Ivestor back is much easier trail wise. A few great views but mostly just trudging back to your car.

hiking
Sun Sep 02 2018

A great 10 mile hike. Beautiful views from the balds and from Shining Rock. The Shining Rock Wilderness is aptly named. No blazes on any of the trails and parts of the Art Loeb Trail are difficult to find and follow. The trail up to the top is Shining Rock is hidden and overgrown. It felt like we were the first to traverse the trail in months, so we were surprised to pass other hikers. Without the AllTrails Recording function we would have gotten lost for sure, but it kept us on the trail. We ate our fill of wild blueberries and enjoyed the wildflowers. No bear sightings, but plenty of evidence of them along the trail. The loop back to the parking area along the Little East Fork Trail and Ivestor Gap Trail was less scenic, but a wider, easier trail. Overall, one of my favorite hikes of the season. It was quite crowded until we got a few miles away from the trailhead, but that was no doubt due to Labor Day weekend.

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