Shining Rock Wilderness

Asheville, NC
4.9 (35 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Remarkable Quartzite Summit
  • BIG Appalachian Views
  • Diversity of Wildlife
  • Ecologically Diverse Forests
  • Sunset Dinner From Atop Shining Rock
  • Stunning Appalachian Waterfalls
  • Ascent of Famous Cold Mountain
  • Guides Choice Trip

Description

Our Appalachian guides feel this is one of the top backpacking trips we run east of the Mississippi River!

When it comes to trails, views, summits and flora/fauna, Shining Rock is the place to be! 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 starting trailhead. The first day of hiking features 360º views as we ascend into the higher mountains, over knobs and mountain summits! After lunch we enjoy a flatter trail the rest of the way to camp, watching the forest change in front of us as we hike. Day 1 ends at a very special spot, where we camp for two nights, near the extremely unique rock feature of Shining Rock.  Your guide will give you the insider’s tour of this amazing area before we settle down for dinner. The second day we will hike to the top of a nearby, famous 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 up to this point. Our final day we will work our way back the way we came along the same trail, which provides very different, and equally spectacular, views as the way up.

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

Read more …
From
$990 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-8 Guests
Trip Length: 3 Days
Distance: 22MI / 35KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 3

Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This trip travels over some rocks and a few washed out areas on trail but then moves to a moderately flat trail to camp. Day 2 will be the toughest gaining steep elevation over rocks and roots to the summit of Cold Mountain and returning to camp the way we came. The old saying “Up hill both ways” will describe this day perfectly. Day 3 is an easy day back to the trailhead.

Hiking Distances:

4-9 mi

Backpack Weight:

30-40 lbs

Terrain:

Moderately Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

Up to 2000 ft

Heights Exposure:

Light

Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information. Backpack Weight ratings are estimates that account for Wildland-provided gear, guest clothing, personal items and a share of group food. By packing light it’s often possible to stay on the lower end of the weight range. Pack weights also decrease during the trip.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 25-35 lb backpack for 6-8 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on moderately rugged terrain
  • Hiking with light heights exposure

SOLITUDE LEVEL 3

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Appalachia hike a solitude 3. You can expect hours of solitude at a time and often a feeling of having the mountains to yourself.

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

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
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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 hikeis 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. 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 will break down camp and work our way back to where we began our trek. On the way we will stop and enjoy multiple views along the trail that oversee all of Pisgah National Forest. Today’s lunch 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 and then have a short drive back to Asheville for the conclusion of our trip.

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. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

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

  • 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
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • 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 communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
  • A Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and dependents to a discount of 10% off any Wildland hiking trip after your first one (must book directly with us to receive the discount)!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • 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 trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

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!

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 Blue Ridge 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 Precautions

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. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

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.

Age Restriction

Age restrictions on this trip are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • 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 Appalachian 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

FRESH & DELICIOUS

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

  • 4.9 (35 reviews)
Tracy R
5.0

Great Experience

1 month ago

My first time on this type of trip and I wasn't sure what to expect but I will most certainly go again. It was a great experience and our guide was really fantastic.

David M
5.0

Absolutely phenomenal trip.

2 months ago

Absolutely phenomenal trip. Kyle was a true professional, extremely knowledgeable and an amazing cook on top of it all. Gorgeous scenery, great food, and amazing hikes. Can’t recommend this trip enough, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience backpacking. I do recommend following the training guide carefully so you get the most out of the trip.

Ginger S
5.0

Beyond my Expectations

3 months ago

I would recommend Wildland Trekking to anyone looking to adventure with others. Definitely take the training regimen for the backpacking trip seriously and make sure you are ready for a fun trip. Our guide John Pate was personable, knowledgeable, and a fantastic chef. From our first meeting, he put us all at ease that we were going to have a great time. The meals he cooked were way beyond my expectations and little did I know he is a master pedicurist. I'd recommend him to any group or adventure.

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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