Friday, February 23, 2018
More than a year ago, Wayne, Martha, and several other members of the Oconee County Hiking Club traveled to North Carolina’s Shining Rock Wilderness and made the long, hard climb to the top of Cold Mountain. Pam missed the hike that day and so did I. Since then, we’ve both been trying to make plans to get it done, but for one reason or another, we just hadn’t managed to do it until now. She, Wayne, and I were going to try to hike it together the previous Friday but had changed our plans. If you’ve read my last post, you know that because the weather forecast was calling for rain by the early afternoon, we had decided to hike the Farlow Gap Trail and the Daniel Ridge Loop in Pisgah National Forest instead.
A Few Details
The Shining Rock Wilderness consists of almost 18,500 acres of protected land and is the largest wilderness area in the state. There are five peaks within the wilderness that rise to over 6,000 feet. At 6,030 feet, Cold Mountain is the highest. The trailhead elevation, according to my altimeter watch, was 3,241 feet.
After something like a two hour drive that led us through majestic mountain vistas, beneath the Blue Ridge Parkway, and past an impressive roadside waterfall, we arrived at the trailhead at Camp Daniel Boone. It was a quarter after ten by the time that we put our packs on, geared up, and began to hike. The hike starts out on the Art Loeb Trail. The Art Loeb Trail climbs relentlessly over rugged terrain for roughly four miles as it makes its way to Deep Gap and to the junction for the Cold Mountain Trail. From the junction, it’s still another 1.4 miles to 1.6 miles of steep climbing to actually reach the summit.
Images From Along The Trail
In all, according to my Garmin GPS, we had hiked a total of 11.2 miles for the roundtrip to the summit and back. Our total vertical elevation gain/loss was close to 6,300 feet. It’s definitely a strenuous hike. I had described the Farlow Gap Trail from the week before as having been a real… butt-kicker! As for this hike, I would describe the climb to the summit of Cold Mountain as having been a real… booger! So how do the two hikes compare? The stats are similar and while it’s hard to say for sure, I think that they are both probably about equally difficult. Thanks for reading.