Explore the most popular camping trails near Canton with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Panoramic views atop this knob. Nice place to relax and take it all in at the peak of Black Balsam.

literally my favorite ever. there's absolutely nothing negative thoughts say about this one.

One of the most scenic spots in NC in my opinion. Pretty easy hike to the top of black balsam knob. Love this place for camping! Sunrises and sunsets with a 360 degree view, you can’t beat it!

hiking
13 days ago

Perfect short hike. Typically I'll do this one early morning when fewer crowds and before breakfast. There are some steep areas that are unconsolidated large rocks, but the trail is well maintained. Trailhead is at the end of the parking lot, don't be tricked by the small trail near the overlook at the front of the parking lot

Take this COUNTER-clockwise to minimize trail loss on the infuriatingly vague relentless Southern ascent, the crazy labyrinth of squirrel runs trying to find Shiny Rock, and the super slippy descent through Hobbit sized openings in the brush.

hiking
14 days ago

Beautiful, well-maintained trail with many wild flowers along the way to a worthy summit view - albeit next to a huge broadcast tower. Difficulty level is so subjective, but I’d say this is more of an easy than moderate trail, mainly because it’s just so short. The last bit is a bit steep but no more than being on a stair master for 15 or 20 mins. The rest of the hike is pretty mellow. Took a little over an hour for me and I’m pretty slow.

this one can be quite difficult depending on the path you choose. part of it is very narrow once you get up the first summit. beautiful views though. keep notice of where you are so you know when you turn back to loop back

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.

hiking
18 days ago

Nice hike at the higher elevations and going along some nice waterfalls.

Beautiful and well maintained. Went on an overcast day so the view was nothing but white clouds and a little bit of precipitation was to be felt. Still it was a nice hike. Will be back and look forward to the view.

Flat and rocky. Many other better alternatives nearby to the same locations, but can be relaxing. If it has rained within the week expect parts of the trail to be completely covered by puddles with plenty of dense mud

Really enjoyed this trail! Initial climb, but moderate with some places to stop and check the view. Once you reach the top gorgeous 360 degree views. You can continue on the Loeb trail if you like. Highly recommend.

We did this trail backwards and started at old butt knob, we took the first right in the trail instead of the one 4 miles in. I will say, I think the climb and elevation gain this way was much more difficult than heading to shining rock first. Nonetheless, the Old Butt Knob trail was in really good shape (the weather was cruddy otherwise I think the views would have been amazing too). When we finally made it to Shining Rock, we were both relieved since it was flatter and also astounded by the place. I will say the way back down through the woods and creeks was really nice although the waterfalles were behind us rather than us walking up to then which was somewhat disappointing. All together, I still think I would prefer going down hill that way than down Old Butt as that was much steeper and muddier. I would do this again though!

Amazing hike. I’ve hiked it year round. Especially love the fall. Blueberry bushes abound.

Start to finish
One day hike. Is rough

Absolutely one of my favorite hikes. So many trails to go on in one area, and kid friendly. The views are amazing! I could stay here forever...

I attempted this trail once before but started too late and took the way to the right and realized i would not make t before dark. It’s not safe to do this in the dark as some areas require a bit of rock climbing. We did this hike again in the winter, one of the warmer days. It’s was a difficult hike but fun. I didn’t do a loop and came down the same way I came up. My nephew as cousin took the way to the right and did the loop. The trail is not well marked or always seen so got lost a few time. It was fun but probably will not do it again.

This is a great hike! The leaves aren't on the tress yet so you get some awesome views that won't be there in the Summer. Definitely a heart pumper and several rock gardens along the way. The views from the top are incredible and well worth the hike.

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.

Love this trail! Hiked here 4/2/18, perfect weather, even got a small sunburn. the views and diversity of this trail is amazing.

A great trail with a mix of sights and terrain. We did Art Loeb to Shining Rock first, then Ivestor Gap back. Beautiful views mixed with quiet forests. We had a great time. I would recommend bringing your hiking poles, the footing can get tricky in parts, especially if your knees bother you like mine do. Also, bring a map! There are several unmarked junctions along Art Loeb.

My husband and I completed this hike yesterday with our dog Charlie. Round-trip, the hike clocked in at 8.8 miles per my husband's Garmin Fenix GPS. (It is definitely nowhere close to 12 miles, as another reviewer stated.) Although the trail is not marked, it is fairly easy to follow, with a few spots being trickier at times. Shining Creek trail was beautiful, following the creek for most of the ascent up to the rock. The views from Shining Rock are incredible and well worth the hike up! We also saw spectacular views on Old Butt Knob on our way down. The descent got extremely steep near the end, so hiking sticks would really come in handy on this trail. There are also several very nice campsites off of each trail. We completed the hike in just over 5 hours' active moving time.

This trail gives you lots of freedom to see all the views and explore (in trenches!). It was busy, but not crazy busy by any means. Many cars were parked along the road but there are several trailheads at that starting point. Lots of dogs, too! Like everyone else said, great views. You can go far or not. I do think it should be rated as “moderate” though.

Tough rocky climb. Not recommended for kids under 6. Great views are the reward.

OH MAN- this trail was intense!! We started off doing Old Butt Knob to get to the top of Shining rock and then took Shining Creek trail back down the mountain. I highly recommend doing Old Butt Knob first. That trail was like the ultimate stair master and going down it after a full day on hiking would have been hard. My friend and I are both active people, but we don’t hike too often. It took us about 8 hours to hike 10 miles (the trail was closer to 9 miles but we wandered a bit and that’s why we hiked 10 miles). We just took our time getting up the mountain and had a blast. I know some reviews say this trail isn’t for amateurs, but if you are an active person, you should have no problem completing it. The only problem I had was that there were not a lot of view points along this trail. Any views of the mountain range were blocked by trees. We actually hopped on the Art Loeb Trail for about a mile to get some better views and ended up hanging out at the top of one of the mountains for an hour or so. Also, make sure you bring a trail map and compass. There were no blazes on any of the trails. There were, however, distinctive paths through the forest that were easy to follow. If you are going to venture off on another trail, make sure you know how to get back! Also, if you are looking to camp overnight, there are plenty of campsites along both trails. There were these little paths that we followed off of the main trail and they always lead to a campsite. I think we stumbled upon 4 or 5. Overall, it was a good hike, but I felt it was more for the exercise rather than the views.

This was a wonderful one nighter. Recommend the approach from the MST NEAR Beech Gap
Not a busy place. Once you leave the MST and head up the hill there are no reliable water sources, so pack it in or be ready to hike back into the valley to get water.
Nice ridge hike from MST to green knob. The trail from Sunburst to green knob I thought was horrible:

I love the diversity that this trail has to offer! It starts with a nice uphill climb up Old Butt Knob, as you work your way towards shining rock. The quartz boulders cannot be understated – they are phenomenal and must be seen in person! I didn’t stay past dark, but I hear that they glow for about an hour after sunset. How amazing! The hike back down from shining rock, we walked along the river and there was waterfall after waterfall after waterfall… It was spectacular! Two moderately athletic hikers finished this loop in about five hours.

Oh my!!! The reviews are accurate...no blazes (Except Art Loeb Trail), you will end up leaving the trail and you need to be comfortable navigating your way back, it's a test....a real test-9.1 miles in 6 hours. I know doesn't sound fast but it's a serious incline and the decent it's nothing to discount. We took Shining Creek to Art Loeb to Old Butt Knob. Coming down OBK is work in itself be ready. The trail follows the creek with great flowing water making some beautiful cascades. The views are stunning and there was a lot of ICE today.

Really, really hard trail but glad I tested myself and it is worth the effort.

Just do it. You’ll see why.

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