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Shining Rock Wilderness

Highlights

  • Guides Choice backpacking trip in the Blue Ridge
  • Stunning Appalachian waterfalls
  • Ecologically diverse forests
  • Ascent of famous Cold Mountain
  • Sunset dinner from atop Shining Rock
  • Remarkable white quartzite viewpoints
  • An array of wildlife, large and small

Description

Our Appalachian guides feel this is the best backpacking trip 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. But it also has something unique in the region, which is wonderful mountain solitude. Get away from the crowds to experience sweeping Appalachian views, waterfalls, exceptional hiking, fascinating geology, and a chance to see wildlife!
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. The first day of hiking is relatively short to our camp at the confluence of 2 valleys with fantastic swimming holes and cascades nearby. Day 2 starts with a steep hike to a ridge where we'll eat lunch while enjoying BIG views. Day 2 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 third day we 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 creeks and valleys back down hill to our starting point.
Come enjoy this unforgettable Appalachian Backpacking adventure with us, you will not be disappointed. Give us a call today at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request more information or book a spot on this trip!
Click here to have a detailed PDF information packet emailed to you, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 800-715-HIKE.

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

 

Photos of This Trip

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to the trailhead: 1 hour
Hiking Mileage: 4+ miles
Elevation Gain: 600-1000 feet


This multi-day Appalachia backpacking 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 at the East Fork of the Pigeon River. Our hike and tonight’s camp is along this enchanting waterway full of cascades and swimming holes. Our first night in the Appalachian Wilderness will end with a Hearty meal prepared by your guide and the relaxing sound of the creek as we sleep.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 5-7 miles
Elevation Loss/Gain: 1,765 feet


Day 2 starts with a relaxing morning and breakfast. We'll break camp and hike up to the Appalachian high country along Grassy Ridge Ledge, where sweeping views of the surrounding area surround us. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch at a high mountain gap while enjoying even more amazing views. After lunch we’ll continue hiking to our next camp near Shining Rock Gap. Here we will set up our home for the next two nights before exploring the unique and other worldly summit of Shining Rock, a mountain capped with white quartzite rock outcroppings. We'll cap today off with a beautiful sunset dinner, prepared fresh by your guide, at the quartzite rocks.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 9 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,795 feet


Today we get the luxury of hiking with smaller backpacks 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 ft., the highest of our trip. 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!


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
Elevation Loss: 2,365 feet
Shuttle to Asheville: 1 hour


Today we head down the beautiful Shining Creek trail. Along 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 park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Blue Ridge 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
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


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 sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


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.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton clothing layers. 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.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form 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 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

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.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, 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.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on Blue Ridge Mountains backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum group size of 8 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 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)
  • 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°