Shining Rock (via Investor Gap)

Location: Western North Carolina
Trip Starts: USFS 816 (Investor Gap)
Trip Ends: USFS 816 (Investor Gap)
Total Distance: 6.7 miles
Hike Type: In & Out, Backtrack Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trails Used: Investor Gap Trail
Trail Traffic: Heavy
Trip Type: Day or Overnight Hike
More Information:

Pisgah National Forest
Shining Rock Wilderness
1600 Pisgah Highway
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
(828) 877-3265


The Shining Rock Wilderness is a series of high elevation ridges with spectacular views in the Pisgah National Forest. Five peaks in the area are over 6000 feet including Cold Mountain (6,030 feet) and Black Balsam Knob (6,214 feet). However, the wilderness is named for Shining Rock (5,940 feet) which is a summit of white quartz located in the middle of the forest.

Shining Rock is a prominent geological feature located in western North Carolina. It’s part of the Appalachian Mountains, specifically within the Great Balsam Range. The name “Shining Rock” comes from the quartzite rock summit, which reflects sunlight, giving it a shiny appearance. The views from here are impressive (although not as drastic as other mountains in the area), and Shining Rock is a central hub for most of the backcountry trails in the wilderness. This hike starts at the lower parking area off USFS 816 and follows the Investor Gap Trail into the Shining Rock Wilderness to the jagged rock outcropping that bears its name.

GPS Coordinates:

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