Hiking North Carolina
by Randy Johnson (Falcon Guides)
© 2016 Randy Johnson/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
The Shining Creek Trail is an excellent, albeit quite strenuous hike. And, as this is a wilderness area, the trails are not marked at all. However, if you follow the directions in this guide and pay attention, the trail is easy enough to find and stay on. (Finding Old Butt Knob Trail is a whole different story.)
Shining Creek trail follows, suprisingly, Shining Creek almost all the way up and the opportunities for photos of the stream and small waterfalls are endless. There are several good campsites next to the stream after you come out of Daniels Cove. Lots of switchbacks near the top after you've crossed the last stream -- it gets pretty steep here -- and then some real thick brush for the last few yards. The trail intersects with another at the top of some wooden stairs (I assume this is the Art Loeb trail coming in from Ivestor Gap and points beyond). You want to take a right turn at the top of the stairs and the grassy area mentioned is about 100 yards down the trail. From there it's another few minutes to Shining Rock itself. Go ahead and scamper up because the view is amazing!
Returning the way I came made for a 6 1/2-hour round trip: 3.5 hours going up, 2.5 hours coming down, and 30 minutes goofing around Shining Rock and the Gap area. Wear good sturdy boots and be prepared for loose rocks, boulders, fallen trees, dark sections under thick canopies of brush, and several water crossings. Heck the stream actually IS the trail in a few locations. This could be an issue during the rainy season but my feet remained dry the first weekend in October. Enjoy this challenging hike!
PS: I strongly recommend that anyone attempting this hike read the information contained here: http://www.southeastclimbing.com/climbing_areas/north_carolina/cold_mt.htm
I wish I would have had this the day I summited Shining Rock because the trail intersections around Shining Rock Gap are quite confusing.
This trail is very strenuous. The outcorppings made this trail for me. Views of the area were outstanding. Great for picture taking. This trail is somewhat marked. Anyone who needs a good strenuous day hike, this is the trail for you. I started on the Old Butt Knob trail to the summit of Shining Rock at about 6000 feet. Then turned and came down the Shining Creek Trail.
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