I have hiked the Shining Rock Wilderness a few times. I like the fact that the trails are not marked, but you should be sure to take a map and compass, or a GPS. It is fairly easy to get disoriented. At the ridge, you will also need a good map to find water to filter. The trails are great, and the balds at the top are tremendous. The trails are quite varied. There are normal forest areas, grassy forest areas, large streams, balds, mountain tops, and a few summits over 6000 feet. It is one of my favorite places to hike. If you want to treat yourself, the Pisgah Inn is not far away on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and they have a very nice restaurant. Another good thing is that many of the trails are not that crowded. If you are suicidal, try Old Butt Knob Trail. You will gain 1500 feet in about half a mile. The only down side is that parts of this particular trail are a little scruffy, but I still enjoyed the challenge. The trail desciption says 8.8 miles, but you can come up with a variety of loop and in/out routes that are much longer. You can approach the main Shining Rock ridge from three different directions, which gives you a lot of options.