Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
3,160.00 ft (963.17 m)
Trail type
10.00 mi (16.09 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Cold Mountain is a prominent Southern Sixer located southeast of Waynesville, North Carolina, in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area. The trailhead is located just past Camp Daniel Boone, a large Boy Scout facility, on a gravel road, right next to the Little East Fork of the Pigeon River. This trailhead also marks the northern terminus of the 30 mile Art Loeb Trail.

The trek up Cold Mountain begins by following the Art Loeb Trail. You’ll climb steeply through dense forest as this rugged path ascends into the hills. Within the first few miles there are several streams providing good water. Finally, just shy of four miles in, you’ll arrive at Deep Gap. Here there is a large open space for camping, as well as a trail junction. The Art Loeb Trail turns sharply to the right and heads south, while the Cold Mountain Trail continues uphill and slightly to the left.

From Deep Gap it is 1.4 miles to the summit of Cold Mountain. The trail continues through similar terrain until it reaches the summit ridge and turns sharply to the east. Just before this turn is a small spring with excellent water.

Continuing along the summit ridge the forest thins and vegetation begins to encroach upon the trail in areas. You’ll pass several decent campsites before finally gaining some stellar views. The last few hundred feet of trail are exciting as you work your way along the brushy ridgeline until finally reaching the USGS benchmark and the Cold Mountain Summit.

Enjoy the spectacular views from here, returning the way you came.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Rewarding summit opportunity. Dense forest.


Challenging hike. Limited views.

Trailhead Elevation

3,268.00 ft (996.09 m)

Highest point

6,020.00 ft (1,834.90 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures


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