Explore the most popular dog friendly 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.

A moderate hike but still a nice place to stretch my paws.   

We've had a lot of rain this spring and summer.   Consequently the trail was a little muddy and slightly overgrown.  Still a nice walk to a panoramic view at the top with cell service.  For my two legged friends who don't live in these parts, cell service should never be taken for granted.  Download before you go.

My nose must have been off on Tuesday, I couldn't find a waterfall.   Is it on a connecting trail?

Four woofs for the view.  

Wow! What a hike. Definitely take a good map and a compass. We took Old Butt trail to Shining Rock and then back down Shining Creek. We went in mid July and there was so much vegetation the trail was almost unrecognizable in places. Old Butt trail is no joke and this is no easy stroll.

backpacking
12 days ago

6/30/18-7/1/18 WOW! This was our first backpacking trip. Amazing hike! Loved how the first 5 miles and last 5 miles were along rivers! We loved it...and so did our white German Shepherd pup! Even though the weather called for some storms, it only rained at night while in our tent. It was very cloudy in some areas, but do not be fooled! Those foggy clouds move quickly! What looked to be a cloud covered evening turned into a beautiful sunset and sunrise the next morning! Same up by Tennent Mountain...cloudy but within 5 minutes it cleared! Before I get to my tips and tricks, I just want to say I’d do this exact same route again someday. Loved it and worth it!

Tips:
*download this app so you can track where you are while offline! Not all the trails are clearly marked. We added a couple miles after going the wrong way. And we ended up veering off Mountain To Sea Trail onto the graveyard trail ... which ended up meeting back up with mountain to sea eventually, but that part was very confusing. If you have this app and look at where you are shortly after each fork, you will be fine...we happened not to look early enough on this turn.
(Grab a trail map at the very least! There is a Pisgah National Forest Ranger station you can go to prior to getting to the hiking place...google map it)
*keep phone in airplane mode and bring an extra battery pack and the correct cord hookup for your phone-we took pictures and ran out of battery at the last 5 miles where the pigeon river is so amazing! (Plus Bridges Camp Gap Trail can be tricky)
*Bring hiking poles. Our $20 amazon ones worked great! We are athletic people and couldn’t imagine doing this without poles. So much better on your joints
*bear canisters required-rented one at Pura Vida Adventures Pisgah Forest NC. Keep it in some brush ~100 yards from tent...eat there too
*Want to see black bears? Keep very quiet. Don’t want to see black bears? Clank poles together here and there and sing a song. We saw none (I didn’t want to see any our first trip! But people along the trails did see them. Don’t eat by or in your tent, don’t feed bears, bury your poop, because even if you don’t see a bear, don’t let there be a chance your area attracts bears for the next people. I also carried some bear spray.
*Don’t watch the Netflix movie “Backcountry” before going. ;)

*Start on Shining Creek path and end on Big East Fork. Wouldn’t want to go the other way -easier to climb up fast than the other way around!
*Watch your river-fill up before the ridge (around 4 miles in! Water is scarce till getting past the ridge. On map it looks like you cross the water a few times at the end of Shining Creek but those water sources are much less ... it’s not a true river site.
*we used Sawyer filters off amazon-took 6 normal plastic water bottles plus the 2 pouches that cane with our two sawyer filters. (Keep a couple designated clean bottles and just keep pouring the bottles into the pouches and squeezing them into the clean ones.
*at 6.2 miles you’ll see the Shining Rock Wilderness sign by a meadow. Many camp areas up that way ... some not covered, some up by the woods. There were 5 other couples up that way. Beautiful sunset and sunrise there! We stayed by the trees because we heard the wind and rain can get crazy if rain is called for up there-and it was, but the couple in the meadow were alright.
*we left late but wanted to make it to 8miles...there was another place to camp by there but not a bunch of options like at 6.2miles.
*We went on the wrong trail for about a mile and turned around to go on the correct trail up to black balsam...if you aren’t going up for a while check where you are!
*off the ridge, where Mountain To Sea Trail starts, there was a forest with big White Dots on some trees or rocks helping you keep course.
*Like I said we someone ended up on the graveyard trail which met up with Mountain To Sea so it was ok, but that was very confusing.
*after Mountain To Sea comes Bridges Gap Trail. Our phones died and this trail leads you right down to a large boulder on the river! That must be the Gap ha! You have to walk down the boulder (for us a large tree trunk was sticking out where the trail continued) but you have to walk to the boulder a ways to see where the trail continues (it’s on the same side of the river)
*THEN you ARE ON BIG EAST FORK. We saw no sign that said we were suddenly on Big East Fork! It was a beautiful hike by the Pigeon River! Places to camp and swim here as well.

I think we were somehow at Skinny Dip Falls (not sure) where there were a lot of people swimming. There’s a bridge you cross that us pretty high up..watch your dog.

Hope this helps and does not deter!! It truly is SPECTACULAR!

Very nice!

Hiked May 30-May 31 after and during intense rain. Trails here have the tendency to become gushing streams, and the Ivestor Gap trail and Art Loeb section between Flower gap and Cold mountain were both flooded for significant parts of the trail. We turned back after Flower Gap after conditions worsened. That being said, it was quite deserted and extremely scenic! Hope to be back in drier weather

Took old butt knob up the mountain, as most everyone stated, it isn’t easy. It is doable, but we had to stop a few times to catch our breath. Definitely pack more water than you think you need. Once you get past the first major climb the rest seems easy, relatively speaking. There are a couple nice views along the way up, and once you get to the top of the trail, be sure to explore some of the side trails for other great views. Trails are not marked, but you shouldn’t have too much trouble staying on them. Wouldn’t do this without gps or trail map. Took shining creek trail back down to complete the loop. Two entirely different trails that gave the best of both worlds. Shining creek trail was a very muddy and wet trail, not sure if it was because of all the recent rain or if it always like this. This was one of our favorite hikes.

I did this one on June 2, 2018. There was plenty of water (I filtered), including a spring close to the summit, but it has been quite rainy this Spring so your mileage may vary.

It's tougher on the way down than it is up. I made it up in three hours, including longish stops to drink and filter water. Coming down, the ligaments in my knees hurt bleddy awful.

I got on the trail about 8 a.m. and there was no one there. By the time I got back around 2 p.m., cars were lining the road.

I'm going back to do it again when the leaves are off the trees.

Hiked Black Balsam Road to Shining Rock, then to Cold Mountain along the narrow ridge, after two weeks of rain. Many flowing water sources with streams down the trail and several ponds in the trail. I did my best to keep my feet dry. I gave up on the Ivestor Trail on the way back. Saw a clump of 12 Pink Ladies Slippers, a few trilliums, bristly locust and Chicken of the Woods mushroom past Shining Rock. As said in other reviews, beautiful views, especially at sunset. When I was at Cold Mountain, I wished I had a car at the Boy Scout Camp, for a 4 mile hike to the car, instead of almost 10 miles back to Black Balsom Road.

Hiked in to the southern end of GK via MST from Lake Logan Road near the BRP, over Green Knob to the norther terminus at Lake Logan Road and then up the forestry road to buckeye gap and back to MST for the return. AllTrails crapped out about 1/4 of the way through but we marked it somewhere between 19 and 20 miles - a fun and full day hike. The trail can be a challenge to follow at times due to lack of use and/or tree falls. We found map, compass, and GPS useful at times. A coupe of good river crossings - be cautious when the water is high and use those hiking poles. Tons of nettles on certain portions of GK and some steep portions to keep you working. Also lots of berry bushes of various sorts. Looks like heaven for the bears! Plenty of water access for those filtering along the way. Enjoy all the challenges this trail has to offer.

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

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
2 months ago

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

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!

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.

backpacking
3 months ago

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.

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.

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:

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.

We started and took shining Creek and had planned on coming back old butt. However the trail is NOT 3.4 miles, as it states on the map. It is more close to 6 miles one way so be prepared. It was getting dark on us so We came back out the same way We went in and do not get to do old butt. This trail was very pretty with lots of water Cascades. We tracked The trail to be around 12.5 round trip. The trail is NOT marked and is very confusing to what is and is not the trail. This trail even with a map would be super easy to get lost. we ran into other hikers and they were just as confused as we were and some had done the trail before. It would be nice if they could have some small makers at least on some of the places.

Kevin, email me caronj@gmail.com

This is more of an inquiry as myself and a few friends would like to plan this hike in June, but reading reviews causes some concern. We are in pretty good shape and have hiking experience, but don't wish to get lost for hours. Anyways, I think that we would be willing to hire someone who has made this trek and could guide us to the summit. If anyone can offer some insights and suggestion, I would be most appreciative.
I have a vacation home in Asheville and used to live there, and actually tested the hike for a half mile or so out of Canton, so have some insight. Looking at second weekend in June. Thanks, Kevin

Great hike, beautiful sunsets!!!

12/15/17 it’s still heavy covered in snow. There were tracks in the snow up until the split, then it was guessing my way in the snow for the remaining 1.4 miles to the top. I’d recommend wearing gaiters or snowshoes. Much of the trail had 6-12”. +12” near the top made it a difficult hike. Tough hike in general. 3 hrs up and about 2 1/2 on the way down. Great hike, especially doing it in the snow!

Excellent views and pretty mild hike

Old Butt is not an easy trail, with or without a pack. We did an up and down of old butt knob.

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.

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.

Loved this hike! Did it yesterday 11/3 and the colors were beautiful. It took us about 7 hours to carefully navigate which included a 30 stay at the summit where the views were absolutely stunning. Not an easy hike but well worth the effort.

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