October 3, 2017
Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit.
Hiking in a federally designated Wilderness is to return to nature, as it was intended, free of blazes, signs and machinery. The Little East Fork Trail starts at Camp Daniel Boone and travels to the heart of the Shining Rock Wilderness. For 5.2 miles it meanders uphill to the northern terminus at Shining Rock Gap.
The southern trailhead starts at the outer edge of Camp Daniel Boone, just to the north at the Shining Rock sign. The first 2.5 miles are some of the most spectacular hiking in the area. The trail runs beside the Little East Fork, the trail green with moss, ferns and the gentle cascade of the creek below.
The trail is somewhat difficult to find once you leave the creek, as it turns to the west and begins to sharply climb the ridge. Weaving in and out of switchbacks, the trail eventually rises to Shining Rock Gap. This is the great triptych of trails in the area, the meeting place of the Art Loeb, Shining Creek and Old Butt Knob.
The sun was shining, and the leaves were beginning to turn and I couldn’t have been happier as I made my back down the trail.
Total mileage is 10.8 miles.