Trails in the Shining Rock Wilderness Trailhead Area

Here is a list of all trails in the Shining Rock Wilderness Trailhead area.

Each trail has its own printable page with all the information and links, including (where available):

  • directions to the starting point
  • difficulty
  • length
  • elevation change
  • a map
  • photos from along the way, and
  • a detailed description and trail directions.

For general information about the Shining Rock Wilderness trailhead, see the Shining Rock Wilderness Trailhead page.

Need to find trails by another method? Go back to Trails.

Art Loeb Section 3 Trail

More Difficult
  • Starting at Black Balsam Road and going generally north, this is one of the most popular stretches of the Art Loeb trail as it crosses over the 6,200' summit of Black Balsam Knob. It then winds along the grassy summit of the ridge, including the...
  • 6.8mi, Hilly, Moderately Rough

Art Loeb Section 4 Trail

Most Difficult
  • This short section of the longer Art Loeb trail climbs from the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp on the Little East Fork of the Pigeon River, up to Deep Gap on the ridge between Shining Rock and Cold Mountain. It's steep, with A spur trail leads to the...
  • 3.8mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough

Big East Fork Trail

More Difficult
  • Follows the Big East Fork Pigeon River. Pristine river scenes. Trail is wide and heavily used near beginning; diminishes somewhat the further you travel. Ends at the junction with Greasy Cove Prong and Bridges Camp Gap trails, providing long loop...
  • 3.6mi, Climbs Moderately, Moderately Rough

Cold Mountain Trail

  • This trail follows a ridge line south of Cold Mountain for its first half, and then traverses to the west of the mountain before climbing to another ridge and ascending the mountain’s western flank. The top of Cold Mountain has plenty of trees on...
  • 1.4mi, Climbs Moderately, Moderately Rough

Fork Mountain Trail

Most Difficult
  • This trail follows the ridgeline and ascends and descends frequently over several mountain tops most notably Birdstand Mountain. From the top of these mountains the view can be obscured by trees but the few glimpses you get will show vistas of the...
  • 6.2mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough

Greasy Cove Trail

Most Difficult
  • This trail initially traverses Grassy Cove Ridge at or near its crest, with minimal views other than of the Parkway, until it drops down to Greasy Cove Prong. Caution: The trail is especially difficult to see during this descent. It follows the prong...
  • 3.2mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough

Little East Fork Trail

  • 5.11mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough

Old Butt Knob Trail

Most Difficult
  • This trail follows Chestnut Ridge and crosses several knobs that provide nice views of the surrounding Shining Rock Wilderness. In the first half mile after leaving Shining Creek Trail, it climbs very steeply, gaining about 1,400 feet of elevation,...
  • 3.6mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough

Shining Creek Trail

Most Difficult
  • This trail follows Shining Creek for the majority of its length. There are plenty of good spots to leave the trail and view undisturbed pools of green water or look upon steep slopes with plentiful, tall trees. The trail ends with multiple traverses...
  • 3.4mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough

Nearby Trails

The following trails cross into this trailhead area, but are primarily accessed from another trailhead:

Mountains to Sea Section 2 Trail

Most Difficult
  • **Waterrock Knob to Pisgah Inn** From Waterrock Knob to Flat Gap, the trail follows the Blue Ridge Parkway closely at most times. It gains some distance from the motor road on the southwest slope of the ridge line from there to Haywood Gap. From...
  • 61.0mi, Hilly, Moderately Rough
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Section 6 Trailhead

Pilot Rock Trail

  • Climbs somewhat steeply from Yellow Gap Road (FR 1206) up to the Buck Spring/Mountains to Sea trail near Mount Pisgah on the Parkway. Initially crosses a creek, then climbs through a cove forest gradually getting farther from it. Passes through many...
  • 3.6mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough
  • Mills River Trailhead

Graveyard Fields Loop Trail

  • This loop travels through a unique, high-elevation, flat valley to a spectacular cascading waterfall. Braided streams, open valleys, short high-elevation forests, rhododendron & galax groves, clear pools. See Also the Graveryard Fields Best Hike.
  • 2.29mi, Some Hills, Some Obstacles
  • Graveyard Fields Trailhead

Case Camp Ridge Trail


Trace Ridge Trail

  • The upper portion above the Trace Ridge trailhead follows an old roadbed up the ridge all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Rocky; steep. Very eroded in places. Dry pine-oak forests can be found along the nondescript ridge. Downhill from the...
  • 3.1mi, Climbs Steeply, Some Obstacles
  • Mills River Trailhead

Sleepy Gap Trail


Mount Pisgah Trail

  • A classic Blue Ridge Parkway hike. Travels from the Mount Pisgah parking area along a gently climbing, moderately rocky trail until it gains the ridgeline; then gets steeper with rougher tread condtions. Hardwood forest of mostly oaks with a few...
  • 1.3mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Section 5 Trailhead

Seniard Ridge Trail

More Difficult

Bridges Camp Gap Trail

  • Starting on the Parkway in a mixed hardwood/spruce forest, the trail descends over a somewhat rocky path on an easy grade. You'll hear the river in the valley below. The trail passes through one switchback to the left and then into a wetter forest...
  • 1mi, Climbs Moderately, Moderately Rough
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Section 5 Trailhead

Devil's Courthouse Trail

  • This steep but half-paved path leads to the top of the spectacular Devil's Courthouse. It travels through a high-elevation, spruce-fir forest to an enclosed overlook area at the summit. Identifier plaques on the overlook walls allow you to align your...
  • 0.4mi, Climbs Steeply, Few Obstacles
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Section 5 Trailhead

Art Loeb Section 2 Trail

More Difficult
  • Starting in Gloucester Gap, this section of the Art Loeb trail winds its way up the ridge extending east from Pilot Mountain before crossing over the summit. It dips down into Deep Gap and Farlow Gap before resuming its climb, up Shuck Ridge, where...
  • 7.2mi, ,
  • Davidson River Trailhead

Devil's Courthouse Connector Trail

  • Connnects the Mountains to Sea Trail, between the Little Sam trail and NC Hwy. 215, with the Devil's Courthouse trail. Short and mostly level. Passes over the top of the Devil's Courthouse tunnel on the Parkway.
  • 0.1mi, Climbs Gently, Few Obstacles
  • Black Balsam Trailhead

Big Creek Trail

More Difficult
  • Follows one of the larger tributaries of the North Mills River. Many creek crossings on the lower half. Steep climb up the Pisgah Ridge on the upper half. High elevation change.
  • 4.9mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough
  • Mills River Trailhead

Mountains to Sea Section 3 Trail

Most Difficult
  • **Pisgah Inn to Black Mountain Campground** Pisgah Inn, BRP mp 408.6 to Folk Art Center, BRP mp 382: from the Pisgah Inn to the Mount Pisgah Parking Area, the trail is co-signed as the Buck Spring trail. This leads past the old Buck Spring Lodge...
  • 67.7mi, Hilly, Moderately Rough
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Section 5 Trailhead

Laurel Mountain Trail

More Difficult
  • Long, narrow, backcountry singletrack trail which reaches high elevations. Climbs gradually from Yellow Gap Road (FR 1206) to the Buck Spring Trail; however, there are a few steep sections. Several unmarked trails join from either side, so keep an...
  • 7.4mi, Climbs Moderately, Moderately Rough
  • Mills River Trailhead

Bad Fork Trail

More Difficult
  • Climbing from Wash Creek Road uphill, the trail follows the ever-diminishing namesake stream along an old road bed, crossing it after a short distance. The forest is a typical cove hardwood variety with plenty of rhododendron and both healthy and...
  • 2mi, Climbs Moderately, Some Obstacles
  • Mills River Trailhead

Shut-In Trail

Most Difficult
  • The Shut-In Trail is a long, historic route which shares the path with the Mountains to Sea Trail. It travels from NC 191 near Bent Creek and Asheville to the Mount Pisgah parking area. George W. Vanderbilt, builder of the famous Biltmore Estate near...
  • 16.3mi, Hilly, Moderately Rough
  • Bent Creek Trailhead