Explore the Treasures of Shining Rock

Shining Rock Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO)

One of the first and most vast Wilderness Protection Areas in North Carolina. Access to water at high elevation points and unique rock formations. Epic view of Western North Carolina's mountains. 3.4 mile hike one-way with 2,200 feet of elevation gain (6.8 miles roundtrip). Spacious old growth campsites with perfect hammocking trees!!!

There are several ways to access the Shining Rock Wilderness Area, but go for the main trail head off of Hwy 276. The trail is split by the Pigeon River, providing a seemingly infinite combinations of trails and routes, keeping in mind that this area intersects often with the well known Art Lobe trail. We like to go on two night trips, spending the first night at the base of the mountain playing in the river and ascending its peak the following day.

To summit Shining Rock, take the trail (Shining Creek Trail according to your map) on the right hand of the Pigeon River. After about a half mile, follow the distinct yet unmarked and uphill trail on the right. This is where your journey begins! The hike to the top is only 3.4 miles, but with over 2,200 feet of elevation gain, it takes a few hours. These hours will be filled with stream crossings, mini waterfalls, funny little mushrooms, stunning fern forests, wild berries and old old trees.

Watch your step, because as you get closer to the top, the trail becomes almost completely made of tree roots. One of the advantages to this trail is that the Pigeon River drains from this area, so with average rainfall, there's several water access points along the way--even as you near the top. Take your time as you climb (which won't be too much of a problem, this trail is difficult!) because this bewitching forest has a lot of history to offer.

As you summit the top, sunset is probably nearing. (The hike up takes an average of three to five hours,depending on your speed.) You'll notice dozens and dozens of crystal quartz outcrops--of all different sizes--sprinkled everywhere along the top of the mountain. One of them being well over two stories tall, this is where you sit and watch the sun set over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Afterwards, retire to one of the campsites tucked back into clusters of old growth mountain laurels and get ready for dinner. You can't have fires in this area, but hey you're pretty tired at this point just use your stove. Hang up your hammock, layer up and listen to the breeze rush through the trees along the ridge line and find the Milky Way.

Tags

Chillin
Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

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Reviews

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Beautiful

Great hike to go on to stay overnight or an all day adventure. The trails get wild the farther in the summer you get so long pants and a long shirt will be great along with sturdy boots, not your normal walk in the park!