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Cole (Cold) Mountain Loop

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Roundtrip

6.2 miles

10.0 km

Difficulty

Intermediate

Elevation gain

1,169 ft

356 m

Highest point

4,022 ft

1,226 m

Avg grade

7% (4°)

Elevation loss

-1,164 ft

-355 m

Max grade

29% (16°)

Elevation loss

-1,164 ft

-355 m

Avg grade

7% (4°)

Lowest point

3,101 ft

945 m


Discover more hiking nearby

George Washington National Forest, VA

Getting there

Driving directions

Current weather


Shared by Zander Göpfert

Features

Dogs - Leashed  ·  Birding  ·  Commonly Backpacked  ·  Fall Colors  ·  Views  ·  Wildflowers  ·  Wildlife

Trails included in this hike

Old Hotel Trail

Overview

This complete loop hike links the sections of the AT and Old Hotel Trail between Floyds Mountain and Cole Mountain (frequently referred to as Cold Mountain) through the Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area of the George Washington National Forest. This loop can be done in either direction though clockwise (as shown) provides a better warmup before the sustained climb toward the saddle and summit of Cole Mountain.

From the parking area off Wiggins Spring Rd, find the Old Hotel Trail as it branches to the right (south) away from the road through the horse gate (see photo). Follow the blue blazes, as the trail winds through the woods crossing a couple drainages without too much elevation gain or loss. It generally follows the contours of the ridges on the southern slope of Cole Mountain.

After ~2.5 miles, you'll arrive at...
This complete loop hike links the sections of the AT and Old Hotel Trail between Floyds Mountain and Cole Mountain (frequently referred to as Cold Mountain) through the Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area of the George Washington National Forest. This loop can be done in either direction though clockwise (as shown) provides a better warmup before the sustained climb toward the saddle and summit of Cole Mountain.

From the parking area off Wiggins Spring Rd, find the Old Hotel Trail as it branches to the right (south) away from the road through the horse gate (see photo). Follow the blue blazes, as the trail winds through the woods crossing a couple drainages without too much elevation gain or loss. It generally follows the contours of the ridges on the southern slope of Cole Mountain.

After ~2.5 miles, you'll arrive at the low point of the hike at the Little Cove Creek crossing, just under a mile from the first intersection and the righthand turn onto the white-blazed AT at Cowcamp Gap.

This section climbs moderately up wide switchbacks with intermittent viewpoints to break up the effort. After 1.5 miles, the trail will arrive at the treeless, "bald" saddle of Cole Mountain where the 360-degree views open up around the meadow and hikers can bask in the rewarding views that rival any in the surrounding area.

As the trail ducks back into the woods, you'll enjoy a one-mile cool down as the trail descends, sometimes steeply, back to Wiggins Spring Road a hundred yards or so to the west of the parking area.

Need to Know

Backpackers often connect Cole Mountain with Mount Pleasant using this loop and the Henry Lanum Trail #702 loop for a figure-eight hike.

Contacts

Land Manager: USFS - George Washington and Jefferson National Forest

Shared by Zander Göpfert

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4 from 1 hiker

Intermediate

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