Roan Highlands
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Cold Mountain - Shining Rock Wilderness, Pisgah National Forest, NC


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
10.4 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

Resources:
6 hours with 1 hour of breaks
3,360 ft
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From:

Park at the Art Leob Trailhead. 35.38719, -82.89576
 

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins ()

Cold Mountain is a classic summit hike in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains made infamous by the novel and movie Cold Mountain. The peak stands alone at the northern border of the Shining Rock Wilderness in Pisgah National Forest, and looks formidable from a distance. The shortest hike begins at Camp Daniel Boone with the Art Loeb Trail, climbing over 2,800 feet to the summit in 5.2 miles. This is a strenuous hike undertaken by many due to its infamy, and due to the wonderful views from the summit. As you climb you’ll pass by occasional old-growth and second-growth hardwood trees with a splendid mixture of wildflowers during the Spring season. Deep Gap is an excellent camping area and marks the junction of the Art Loeb Trail and Cold Mountain Trail around 5,000 feet. From here, the Cold Mountain Trail climbs over 1,000 feet in 1.3 miles to the lofty heights of Cold Mountain. At the summit, you’ll have panoramic views of the Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wilderness Areas which are home to the tallest peaks in the Great Balsam Mountains. There are also outstanding campsites near the top of the mountain further away from possible congestion at Deep Gap.

Wilderness Regulations  Group size is limited to 10 persons within the Shining Rock Wilderness Area. Campfires are prohibited, a wilderness-specific regulation that is not prohibited in other wilderness areas of North Carolina. Additionally, bear canisters are now required for all backcountry campers. No overnight permits are required to camp year-round. Trails are not officially blazed within the wilderness, and not every official trail intersection is signed. However, the Art Loeb Trail and Cold Mountain Trail have occasional white and red blazes. These are not officially sanctioned by the forest service, and they may not be there when you hike.

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