FATMAP by Strava

Cold Mountain

A challenging summit hike to a viewpoint on Cold Mountain.

Hiking Severe

17 km
898 m
898 m
4-5 hrs
Low Point
997 m
High Point
1.8 km
Cold Mountain Map

Of all the hikes in the Shining Rock Wilderness, this out-and-back to Cold Mountain might be the most coveted. The route follows the iconic Art Loeb Trail to Deep Gap, then spurs off for a grueling 1.5-mile/1,000-foot push to the summit. This hike has it all: mountain streams, old-growth trees, epic views from the summit, and even remnants of a plane crash dating back to the 1940s.


As many wonder, Cold Mountain is "the namesake of the 1997 Civil War novel - made film in 2003," according to local guide company White Dot Adventures. "Contrary to popular belief, there has never been a village or town called Cold Mountain nor a settlement on the real-life mountain," according to this Wikipedia article).

The hike begins at Camp Daniel Boone near the end of Little East Fork Road. There is ample parking for several cars, but consider carpooling if you're going with a group. A kiosk and large sign denote the start of the Art Loeb—the same route taken to Cold Mountain.

The climb is very challenging, alternating between narrow singletrack and abandoned logging paths. Since this is in a designated wilderness area, trails are neither signed nor blazed. Refer closely to your GPS device if you are unsure of which way to go.

As you near the 3.7-mile mark into the hike, you'll reach Deep Gap, a popular camping area, and a popular stop on the way to Cold Mountain. The summit is 1.5 miles ahead, the trail spurring to the left (north) as it climbs up a ridgeline to the peak.

Towering just above 6,000 feet, Cold Mountain is one of the most elusive SB6K peaks, and often one of the last peaks reached by those seeking to complete the challenge. Remnants of a 1940s plane crash lie 200 feet below the summit, though it's not extremely clear how to get there. Off-trail travel is allowed in Pisgah, but be mindful that you are still in one of the most remote corners of the forest. Should you become lost or injured, you may not have cell reception, and there is no way out other than by foot.

Source: https://www.carolinamountainclub.org/index.cfm/do/pages.view/id/23/page/South-Beyond-6000 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ColdMountain(NorthCarolina)



Hiking challenging trails where simple scrambling, with the occasional use of the hands, is a distinct possibility. The trails are often filled with all manner of obstacles both small and large, and the hills are very steep. Obstacles and challenges are often unexpected and can be unpredictable.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between March and November


  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area