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How to Hike Cold Mountain in North Carolina


Maybe you’ve seen the movie: Cold Mountain or read the book, or maybe you just want a challenging hike to spend the day exploring. Cold Mountain sits at 6030′ elevation in the Shining Rock Wilderness and is truly a treat to hike in late winter and early Spring. This trail gains over 3000′ in elevation and shows off beautiful mossy creek crossings, long-range views, and a stunning viewpoint down into the valley of Canton.

The 10.6-mile hike (out and back) begins at Camp Daniel Boone in Canton (25 min from Waynesville) on the Art Loeb Trail, known for its steep sections, and will take the average hiker about 6-7 hours to complete not including downtime. You will hike along the Art Loeb for 3.8 miles before splitting left at Deep Gap to follow the Cold Mountain spur 1.5 miles up to the summit where you will find a blue summit marker set in the rocks to your right. That path will open up to a rocky outcropping with 180-degree views and the perfect place for a picnic.

We suggest bringing a sandwich and snacks to enjoy on top of Cold Mountain. Maybe even grab a to-go sandwich from The Patio! The mountain is true to its name and is chilly and windy at the top so bring layers to hang out in before heading back down. In the Spring and Summer, the trail is packed with wildflowers but the long-range views from the trail are not as abundant with the leaves beginning to fill in the gaps between trees.

Let us know if you decide to take on Cold Mountain for a day hike and share your adventures with us tagging @visitncsmokies and #haynow.

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