Shining Creek Trail

At A Glance

Most Difficult

3.4 mi one-way

Difficulty Rating: 3.4
Steepness: Climbs Steeply
Tread Condition: Moderately Rough
Blaze Color: None
Trail Number: 363


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 to reach Shining Rock Gap, where the Art Loeb (#146), Ivestor Gap (#101), and Old Butt Knob (#332) trails can be accessed; Old Butt Knob Trail may be used for a loop hike back to the parking area.

Intersecting Trails

  • Art Loeb Section 3
  • This trail is located in the Shining Rock Wilderness area. For a list of all the trails in that area, see the Shining Rock Wilderness trails list page.

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    Average Rating: 4.7 (rated 3 times)

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    Christian B said: One of the best trails in Pisgah. Pretty steep going up (2300' in 3.4 miles) but lots of stream crossings and small waterfalls while passing through multiple levels of forest types. Large patches of rhododendron and mt.laurel are my favorite. After reaching the Art Loeb at the top it's just a short way to the outcropping this region was named after and the views of Fork mountain and the Balsams are fantastic. Going back down you can take the longer and waterless Old Butt trail (a Crest trail with great views) or descend the way you came: steep and rocky. Good idea to have a usgs map and compass in the winter as one year snow fall was deep and icy and it was almost impossible to follow the trail.

    Saturday, November 24 2018 7:01pm

    Rick M said: Did this on 1/13/14 starting at the top. Steep drop then it mellows out some. Lots of rocks and roots. One section the trail was covered by deep leaves, which hid some of the obstacles. Lots of waterfalls along the way with a few stream crossings. I'd love to hit this when the laurel are in bloom.

    Monday, January 13 2014 10:45am

    Fergus Cullen said: I ran this loop 5/24/13, going up Shining Creek and coming back Old Butt Knob. 1 hr, 51 mins round trip. I know it's against the wilderness ethos to have signs or trail markings but it would have helped, especially around the shining rock area at the top. I was lucky to run into a couple of hikers just as they come out at the end of the Old Butt Trail, without whom I'd have never known that was the trail down. It is marked with a 2 foot cairn. There are like a dozen rabbit trails around the shining rocks (huge quartz formations, very unique) so it's hard to pick up the trail. I'm still not sure where the Art Loeb trail broke off. Anyway, all's well that ends well. Had a fantastic run on a beautiful day.

    Saturday, May 25 2013 2:27pm

    chris said: we lost the trail about 1 mile into the hike and had to bush wack our way out. Though the trail is clearly marked on the map, it seems non existent 1/3 of the way to shining rock (we never made it to shining rock from this route). Sounds like the olb butt knob trail to the north (332) is the way to go...???

    Monday, December 31 2012 11:51pm

    Jana said: This is a beautiful trail that follows along Shining Creek for much of the way. It heads out from the Big East Fork parking area, then about a half mile in the trail takes a right turn and heads up - don't miss this turn! From there the trail climbs moderately for another 1/4 mile or so before leveling out along the creek and continuing at a more gradual incline. We were unable to finish the trail due to time constraints on this day, however I will be returning soon to hike the entire trail and will report back. :)

    Sunday, June 24 2012 1:05pm

    Patrick said: There are at least 20 waterfalls along this trail. A MUST HIKE!

    Sunday, November 13 2011 7:39pm
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