6 miles or 2 miles
From the parking area head down FS48 for 0.2 miles.
To cheat and only hike up 0.8 miles to the summit look for the Cold Mountain trail end at the parking area. Hike up the forest trail to the summit and back down for a total of 2 miles (plus however far you explore the ridge line)
Mile 0.2 the road will split and there will be a Hotel trail on the right marked with two blue blazed
Mile 0.3 Arrive at a wooden horse gate just 0.1 miles after beginning the trail, stay right passing through the horse gate the trail will descend for a little over 0.5 mile
Mile 0.9 The trail will now begin to go uphill as you climb Cold Mountain
Mile 1.3 enter a clearing and walk through a nice campsite, follow this trail as it crosses a stream and begins to descend again
Mile 2.8 arrive at another spur trail that is overgrown on the left, continue downhill on the blue blazed trail until you arrive at the shelter
Mile 5.2 reenter the forest and continue down the trail for 0.8 miles back to the parking area
This hike has quickly become the new sharp top. It's easy shortcut to the top lures people in and keeps them coming back. My advice is to try the entire 6 mile loop. The trail is the nicest one on this site because it descends equally as much as it ascends. It's also one of the very few trails that's a loop and not an out and back. Only take the shortcut if you're doing this a sunrise hike. Also in the debate of whether its Cold/Cole mountain, I say Cold Mountain.
- Camping: Yes
- Sunrise: Yes
- Sunset: Yes
- Water source: Yes
- On the A.T.: Yes
- Parking Lot Size: Large