Roan Highlands
Cited the most scenic stretch of the A.T.
Great North Carolina Hiking Books!

Old Butt Knob Trail and Shining Creek Trail Loop - Shining Rock Wilderness, Pisgah National Forest, NC

Topo Hike Trails Map
   All Hikes Map
   Click for location shots
   Click for Parking/Start location
   Hike trail blazed colors
   Other trail

  • Flash_FP1
  • Flash_FP2
  • Flash_FP3
  • Flash_FP4

Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
11.9 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

8 hours with 2 hours of breaks
3,410 ft
Topo Hike Trails Map (PDF)
Burnett Siding NC Weather Forecast
Garmin (GDB), Gaia/Trails App (GPX) (What's this?)
3D View of Route

Park at the Big East Fork Trailhead on U.S. 276. 35.36583, -82.81786

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins (Contact Zach)

The Old Butt Knob Trail and Shining Creek Trail loop is a classic introduction to the Shining Rock Wilderness Area of North Carolina. Beginning at the Big East Fork Trailhead on U.S. 276, both trails climb from 3,384 feet to meet the Art Loeb Trail above 5,800 feet at Shining Rock Gap. Despite the relatively short length of this loop (9.4 miles including Shining Rock), this is a difficult day hike for hikers of all abilities. The Old Butt Knob Trail climbs over 1,400 feet in the first mile, and the Shining Creek Trail is incredibly rocky and steep over its last mile. Despite the hardship, this is an excellent backpacking loop with outstanding campsites and even better views. The Old Butt Knob Trail features multiple views from southern-facing rock outcrops, and the views from Shining Rock and Grassy Cove Top are some of the highlights of the wilderness. Even though this is a wilderness area, this is in close proximity to Asheville and is popular with weekend backpackers. Try to start early if you want to camp at Shining Rock Gap, which is one of the best campsites in the region and is also the crossroads for 4 trails within the wilderness. Beech Spring Gap and Flower Gap are your best alternative campsites with easy access to water and views.

Wilderness Regulations – Group size is limited to 10 persons within the Shining Rock Wilderness Area. Campfires are prohibited, a wilderness-specific regulation that is not prohibited in other wilderness areas of North Carolina. Additionally, bear canisters are now required for all backcountry campers. There is significant bear activity in the region. No overnight permits are required to camp year-round. Trails are not blazed within the wilderness, and not every official trail intersection is signed.

Mid January
Old Butt Knob/ Shining Creek Hike Comments
about us | contact us | terms of use | © 2000 - 2023