Portered Shining Rock

Asheville, NC
5.0 (5 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Lighter Backpack
  • BIG Appalachian Views
  • Shining Rock Sunset Dinner
  • Diverse Blue Ridge Forests
  • Stunning Waterfalls
  • Famous Cold Mountain
  • White Quartzite Viewpoints

Description

Our Appalachian guides feel this is the best backcountry hiking route we run east of the Mississippi River! When it comes to trails, views, swimming, and summits it is amazing in that it quite literally has it all despite technically being outside the Smokies. The difference between this trip and the backpacking version is that porters carry our group gear and supplies in on Day 1 (guests carry their clothing and personal items), set up camp, and hike back in on the final day to break camp and transport our supplies out. This is a wonderful way to see experience the Appalachian backcountry while hiking with light daypacks.

We pick you up in Asheville and shuttle in from Brevard through the Cradle of Forestry area (where American forest conservation began). We’ll stop at Looking Glass Falls, a stunning roadside waterfall, on our way to our trailhead. The first day of hiking is along the East Fork of the Pigeon River with amazing creek side trekking. After Lunch we start a steeper climb to a ridge where we’ll enjoy BIG views of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. Day 1 ends at Shining Rock Gap, where we camp for two nights. Shining Rock itself (a stunning and unlikely quartz outcropping) is extremely unique and tends to “floor” even people who have been there before. Your guide will give you the “inside” tour of this area before we settle down for dinner. The second day we will hike to the top of Cold Mountain, which is relatively challenging, but only with light day packs. If we reach the summit we will eat lunch on a massive ledge with views of all the areas we have been hiking. Our final day we follow beautiful Shining Rock Creek through it’s amazing valley back down hill to our starting point.

Please Note: Porters transport all camping gear (tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads…etc.) as well as food. They also set up and break down camp. Guests are responsible for carrying their clothing and personal items.

Wildland Trekking is a permitee of the USFS, Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests

Read more …
3 Days
$1015 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Portered Trek
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-8 Guests
Trip Length: 3 Days
Distance: 15+MI / 24+KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 2

Our difficulty ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, tours with a rating of 1 being least difficult, tours with a rating of 5 being most difficult

Backpack Weight:
15-20 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
4-9 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
2550 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
2550
Quality of Trails:
Well maintained
Additional:
This trip requires significant elevation gains/losses (2550 feet) with moderate distances (up to 9 miles) but on well-maintained trails and with only light day packs.

Participants should:

  1. be active and healthy
  2. exercise several times per week
  3. be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles per day in hilly or mountainous terrain

SOLITUDE LEVEL 3

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Appalachian portered trip a solitude 3. You can expect several hours of solitude at a time.

TRAVEL TO ASHEVILLE

All North Carolina trips begin and end from Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville has an airport served by Allegiant Air, Delta, United, and US Airways. One can also fly into Greenville, South Carolina or Charlotte, North Carolina and drive to Asheville. It is a 1.5-hour drive from Greenville to Asheville and a 2-hour drive from Charlotte on good roads.

FROM ASHEVILLE AIRPORT
Asheville Airport Express (http://www.ashevilleairportexpress.com, 828-231-1053) and Harry’s Car Service run (828-774-8178) shuttles to and from downtown. Also a number of taxis are usually available on the curb in the Arrivals area.

FROM GREENVILLE/CHARLOTTE
Asheville Airport Express also runs daily vans from Charlotte and Greenville to Asheville.

CAR RENTALS
Avis: 800-331-1212; Hertz 800-654- 3131; National: 800-227-7368; Thrifty: 800-367-2277; Alamo: 800-327-9633

TAXES AND FEES

North Carolina does not charge sales tax on services, so there is no sales tax for this trip.

All trips in Great Smoky Mountains National Park have a 5% fee required by the National Park Service. This fee is applied when your reservation is made and is passed through directly to the national park.

There are no other taxes or fees associated with this trip. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) with any questions!

Private Trips

Traveling in perfect company is a wonderful thing! With our private trip offerings you can book a trip exclusively for your group. Whether it’s with family, friends or colleagues, private trips are a fun and enriching way to explore the outdoors.

Private trip pricing is based on a sliding scale, depending on the number of people in your party. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax and national park fees (where applicable) or guide gratuity. Give us a call at 800-715-HIKE to get the ball rolling!

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.3
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.1
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1

*all rates are per person

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Itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Shuttle to the trailhead: 1-hour drive from Asheville
  • Hiking Mileage: ~ 5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1000 feet

This multi-day Appalachian hiking trip to the Shining Rock Wilderness starts with a drive through the city of Brevard and a stop at an amazing roadside attraction, Looking Glass Falls. From here it is a short drive to our trailhead along the famed Blue Ridge Parkway. Our hike (with just light day packs) is along the scenic Art Loeb Trail over multiple 6000’ peaks. As we cross over Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain we’ll enjoy huge views of the surrounding Appalachian Mountain Range. Lunch today is either on the summit of one of these two peaks or in the grassy meadows of Ivestor Gap. Eventually we’ll hike on to our two night basecamp near Shining Rock Gap, which will be set up and waiting for us. After settling in we’ll enjoy a sunset dinner, prepared fresh by your guide, on the unique and other worldly summit of Shining Rock, a mountain capped with white quartzite rock outcroppings.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 5 or 9 miles
  • Elevation Loss/Gain: 750 or 1795 feet

Today we get to enjoy the Appalachian High country with one of two options. The first option is hiking up to an amazing summit view from atop Cold Mountain, whose name you might recognize from Charles Frazier’s historic fiction novel based in this region during the Civil War, “Cold Mountain”. Our summit brings us to a height of 6,030 feet. After lunch at the summit we’ll hike back toward Shining Rock Gap and our comfortable, scenic camp for one more, much deserved, hearty Appalachian dinner prepared by your guide!

Our second option is just to shorten this hike to turn around and have lunch along a scenic ridgeline called “the Narrows”. This shorter hike will allow for extra time to relax and explore the quartzite rock outcroppings of Shining Rock further before another hearty dinner prepared by your guide.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 4.1 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 2550 feet
  • Shuttle to Asheville: 1-hour drive to Asheville

Today we head down the beautiful Shining Creek trail. Our porters will hike in break camp, and transport everything out, allowing us again to hike with just light day packs. On the way we will stop and enjoy multiple cascades along our journey to our waiting vehicle at Big East Fork. Lunch today is at one of the many amazing viewpoints of the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. While enjoying the views and a delicious lunch we will recount the highlights of our Shining Rock Wilderness adventure. After lunch it is a short drive back to Asheville and hot, deserved showers!

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Porters to transport gear in and out, and to set up and break down camp
  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Great Smoky Mountains hiking guide
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Asheville, North Carolina to the trailhead and back
  • Entrance fees and national park permits
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

What Gear to Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent, lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

What Clothes to Bring

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed guidance about what clothes to pack (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and our recommended clothing system. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How Do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

You will meet your guide and group at the Holiday Inn in downtown Asheville (standard rooms are $99-$140 for our guests, 828-225-5550) for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. We’re happy to give you a ride to this meeting if you’re not staying at the Holiday Inn. Your guide will then pick you up the next morning for transport to the trailhead. For Private Great Smoky Mountains Tours your guide can meet you at any hotel in Asheville at an agreed upon time.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We’ve developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Group Size and Age Restrictions

The maximum group size on portered trips is 5 guests, 2 porters and 1 guide. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we’ll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in The Appalachian Mountains

The weather in the Blue Ridge Mountains varies greatly by time of year. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). Read below for average high and low temperatures in for low elevations in the Appalachian Mountains:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
Month
Low Elev
High Elev
hi
low
hi
low
January
51°
28°
35°
19°
February
54°
29°
35°
18°
March
61°
34°
39°
24°
April
71°
42°
49°
34°
May
79°
50°
57°
43°
June
86°
58°
63°
49°
July
88°
59°
65°
53°
August
87°
60°
64°
52°
September
83°
55°
60°
47°
October
73°
43°
53°
38°
November
61°
33°
42°
28°
December
52°
28°
37°
21°

Accommodations

Accommodations

Backcountry Sleeping

TENT CAMPING

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

Backcountry Cuisine

Backcountry Cuisine

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never us dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well with the wilderness.

 

Amazing Campsites

IN THE ACTION

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (5 reviews)
Margareg L.
5.0

Recommended

9 months ago

I would recommend Wildland Trekking. The portered trip worked out great for me as a first timer. Our guide was the key, Francisco is both knowledgable and friendly. The hike was challenging and rewarding.

Caroline N.
5.0

Second, Great Trip

9 months ago

Second trip with Wildland. Lucked out with Francisco as our guide again and had a great trip. I hope to return and continue to introduce friends and family to the fun.

Deborah H.
5.0

Loved this Trip!!

2 years ago

LOVED this trip Best guide, loaded with info about area. Really enjoyed the stories. Great food!!!

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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