Parked on the high side parking area of the Big East Fork TH and started up the wrong trail. Fortunately I was able to correct that with some bushwhacking to get to Shining Creek Gap but I had to go over a 3800 foot mountain to do it, which led to the ascent being an over four hour affair. I did find the actual summit but wasn't sure about which path was the trail down Chestnut Ridge so I went back down the way I came, along the North Prong of the Shining Creek. Descent only took two hours and the trails were quite good except at the very top.
We came up from the Big East Fork trailhead up and over Old Butt, Dog Loser Knob and Beech Spring Gap. There was a TON of bear scat on Chestnut Ridge, and we were hiking w/ two dogs, so we didn't see anything, but we heard a lot of rumors about bears being everywhere. The summit to Shining Rock we thought we hit, but it was so overgrown and hard to see my GPS only said we topped out at 5,965, but I couldn't see a higher pont. Most of the actual quartz outcroppings, the "shining rocks" are well below the actual summit, but could otherwise count as summits since there seems to be no clear summit to get to. This is an amazing hike, however, and well worth the trip. We descended down through the North Prong of Shining Creek which was a gorgeous drainage. Link to hike:https://www.strava.com/activities/318486112
There really is a maze of trails in the Shining Rock Gap area. Luckily I guessed right and found myself on the snow white quartz. This is a really neat peak.
Via Art Loeb Trail nice outing included in a grab of Black Balsam, Tennent Mountain, Grassy Cove Top, Shining Rock & Sam Knob. The quartz looks like glacial ice. Lack of summit marker makes it fun to find the actual summit.
Awesome any time of year!
Hiked this on the way out to Cold Mountain, good views.
This is a beautiful little summit on top of the Shining rock highland. I love the Spruce-Fir forest with the brilliant quartz boulders. You can actually boulder on a few of the rocks. Amazing area
Easy to get to trailhead. Unfortunately that was all that was easy. Started at 4am and that was a mistake. Took false trails 3 times in the dark. Most were near the stream crossings. Trails are not marked and had to really trust altimeter and map. Figured in the East if you are bushwhacking, you are off-trail. Even with daylight, coming down Chestnut Ridge I took a couple false trails. Finally did see a few trees with bark cut out as a blaze, but hard to see these, especially with a headlight in the dark. Temps were low 40s end of May. Coming down Chestnut ridge about half way down from Old Butt Knob, there is a nice lookout rock outcrop just off the trail to the right looking into Shining creek (maybe near 4200ft). At the top of Shining rock, trails were also not marked and there are numerous side and false trails. Mostly I just found the top by trial and error. Loop took me over 4.5 hrs from Big East Fork. At least 45 minutes were spent lost.
After descending Cold Mountain to Deep Gap, I continued up over The Narrows, Stairs Mountain, and then to Shining Rock. I stood on both rock outcrops, which look equally as high, although one had a cairn on top. I loved the white color of the rock in this area.
I went there with my husband and I'm glad I did. I've NEVER seen a piece of quartz that big. I think I've found another favorite.
Woke up to rain in Shining Rock Gap; waited till noon and the sun finally came out and gave us a great look at a very beautiful place. I feel fortunate that we had the mountain to ourselves for the brief time we were there.
Hiked this one many times from all directions in all seasons!
Very special mountain. Lovely place. Too much rain that weekend, though.
Actually the pictures on this page that are described as the summit, is not the summit. There are bigger quartz rocks at the very top of the mountain. The trails to them are very overgrown. Many people get confused as to where the location of the summit is.
Awesome area except it is TOO crowded esp. in summer. Try old butt knob trail for a nice workout and different route than the traffic jam from graveyard or balsam.
Difficult to find, but if you're there on the weekend, just follow the crowd. Beautiful quartz outcrops. Shining Rock Gap has nice camp spots and water just to the south of the gap. The Art Loeb Trail north of the gap can be confusing to find. Remember: Take the farthest trail left from the gap going north.
We hiked Shining rock on a warm & windy Easter Eve. The trail was relatively good, however, once you enter the Shining Rock wilderness the myriad hiker trails can be confusing especially since the main trails are poorly marked (if at all). The views from the summit are stunning & the quartz outcroppings provide a nice place to relax before pushing on. From this outcropping one has a stunning view of Cold Mountain & the East Fork. The quartz formation located toward the center of the summit seems to be the highest point on the mountain. It is hard to tell because there is no summit marker. The hike from the Black Balsam Knob trailhead is realtively easy and the hike along the ridge provides some of the most incredable scenery on the east coast.
Incredible Scenery, and great weather.
An interesting (and steep) way to climb this unique formation. My GPS indicated only 5980' at the summit rocks.
You may have been at the wrong summit. Most people mistake the summit on this mountain and never make it to the true summit. If you didn't bushwack for at least 7 - 10 minutes and swear you were lost 5 or 10 times, then you were at the wrong summit. Granted the quartz is just as plentiful in both locations, not being at the summit is probably why your GPS gave a different elevation.