Cold Mountain and the Shining Rock
Loop Hike with Mark
Shining Rock Wilderness, NC
Thursday, October 5th, 2017
Mark and Me at Shining Rock
I decided to take the day off from work to join Mark on a 16 mile loop hike into the Shining Rock Wilderness area of North Carolina. The company that I work for does not allow you to carry over vacation day and our Fiscal year (and Vacation year) ends on October 31st. So as the saying goes, "Use them or Lose Them!"
Our hike route. We did the loop Clockwise
(Note: I did not get a clean GPS track - User Error!)
We started out at Camp Daniel Boone, a Boy Scout Camp located on the Western Edge of the Shining Rock Wilderness Area. According to the outside temperature gauge on my truck it was 38 degrees starting out! It felt great to finally hike in cooler weather after a long and hot summer!
We quickly warmed up as the trail gains almost 2,000 feet of elevation over its first 3.8 miles to Deep Gap.
Me at the Deep Gap Trail Intersection Sign
We took a short break to shed some layers before continuing on to Cold Mountain. The Cold Mountain Spur adds another 2.8 miles (1.4 each way), and almost 1,000 feet of additional elevation gain! The views are well worth the effort it takes to get there!
view from Cold Mountain
Mark at Cold Mountain
view from Cold Mountain
The Summit marker on top of Cold Mountain
Me at Cold Mountain
After a nice break on Cold Mountain we returned back down to Deep Gap and continued South on the Art Loeb Trail through "The Narrows", which offers up some nice views. It is about 3 miles from Deep Gap to Shining Rock.
view from the Narrows
Buzzing around some Wildflowers
Me along the Art Loeb Trail Narrows
View from the Narrows
Mark along the Narrows
Gentian Blooming along the Art Loeb Trail
Mark Scrambling down a steep section of the Art Loeb Trail
The Art Loeb Trail takes you around Shining Rock, but you can't see much from the actual trail. There is a multitude of side trails and scramble paths that will take you to Shining Rock. I have found that the best way to to come up from the South Side. My attempt at a short cut bushwhack from the North was definitely NOT a good idea.
Fortunately after a run in with some evil briers, we eventually did make it on top of Shining Rock, a rare White Quartz rock outcrop deep within the Shining Rock Wilderness!
Mark at the base of Shining Rock
View from Shining Rock
Me on Shining Rock
Mark on Shining Rock
From Shining Rock, it is a little over 6 miles back down to the Daniel Boone Camp along the Little East Fork Trail. The first 3 miles is a little overgrown, but still easy enough to follow. The final 3 miles pretty much parallels the creek all the way back to camp.
Me along the Little East Fork Trail
There are a lot of nice cascades and small waterfalls, but since I elected to save weight and not bring my tripod, I decided to save these for another day!
It was a beautiful day for a hike! Much better than a day at the office! It took us about 8 hours to travel the 16 miles and we only encountered two other humans during our hike.
My complete set of photos (plus a few of Mark's) is posted here: