Shining Rock Wilderness Camping
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No campfires and no groups
As long as you are not camping on the access
road, you may camp at will. Below, is a list of suggested
camp sites. Some are accessible by auto and some are within
the wilderness area. The usual rules apply. No camping within
150 feet of a water supply, no camping within 100 feet of
a trail, no campfires and no groups above 10.
The Big East Fork and Shining Creek
Trail - Trailheads have a lot of creek-side campsites.
Heavily traveled and used, it is still possible to find
a great site just a short walk from you car. The Big East
Fork Trail (#357) and The Shining Creek Trail (#363) can
be found on either side of the Big East Fork. The parking
areas are usually full, overflow parking is a across the
Black Balsam Knob Road
Park on Black Balsam Knob Rd. (F.S. 816).
About one half of a mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway you
will notice a small parking area that is on the right side
of the road. The group of balsam fir trees adjacent to the
parking pull-off have a number of great sites. The sites
straddle the Art Loeb Trail and are a stones throw from
your parked vehicle.
Black Balsam Knob
Park at the parking area mentioned above.
Follow the Art Loeb Trail to Black Balsam Knob. A short
hike of one half of a mile and you can camp at will. Great
views on clear days, beautiful starry nights and wonderful
misty mornings. I like to camp here on Friday nights. After
a drive from the Piedmont, the short walk to a site with
such great views is very appealing.
Shining Rock Gap
A trail junction with surrounding level sites.
This area is over used but deserves mention. I recommend
camping further up the Art Loeb Trail to lessen the impact.
There are plenty of wooded areas nearby that have more privacy
and level ground.
Milepost 296 of the Blue Ridge
Parkway, this popular short hike has some great camping
spots as well. You can camp at will here but be sure to
stay at least 150 feet from the creek or any other water
source. The better camp sites are up the hill, you can have
a little more privacy there.You can spend hours wandering
around the stream bed and small trails here. A great spot
if you need to find a place to set up camp quickly.