Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area, George Washington National Forest, VA - Cold/Cole Mountain Loop

Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area - USDA
Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area Hiking Trails - USDA

GPS Coordinates 37.759545, -79.190515

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 You can either park at the lot above or the Appalachian Trail lot you pass on the way:
The only difference is a .30 mile gravel road walk at the beginning or at the end of the hike because the hike starts at the far parking lot and ends at the A.T. parking lot.  For this hike I parked in the A.T. lot and did the gravel road walk at the beginning.

National Geographic Map #789 Lexington/Blue Ridge Mountains Trail Map

HIKE DISTANCE:  5.80 miles
This hike can be done in conjunction with the Mount Pleasant Loop for a 12 mile hike.

The trail takes you through beautiful pine forests.
According to "Wild Virginia" this is a Civil War-era stone fence.
Cowcamp Gap Shelter
The Hotel Trail ends at the white-blazed Appalachian Trail shortly after the Cowcamp Gap Shelter.  The Appalachian Trail switchbacks up with views along the way
There were some nice break spots at the views:
Then at the top of Cold Mountain, come to a bald stretch of about 1/2 mile with views all around.  The pictures to not do it justice.  You have to be there to see how spectacular it really is.

[ 0.00]  From A.T. parking lot continue walking along gravel road
[ 0.20]  Right on blue-blazed trail leaving gravel road
[ 0.30]  Turn right at the intersection on the Hotel Trail and cross the horse fence.
[ 1.15]  Turn right at fork
[ 1.40]  Trail continues to the right on the right side of the fire pit
[ 2.15]  At clearing bear right at the fork
[ 2.75]  Rock hop over creek
[ 2.85]  Cowcamp Gap shelter on right; left at intersection towards Appalachian Trail
[ 3.35]  Turn right on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail; trail switchbacks up with views
[ 4.40]  Begin to cross bald
[ 4.95]  Leaving bald
[ 5.15]  AT leave woods road as footpath to the left
[ 5.50]  Cross over woods road
[ 5.80]  Right on gravel road to parking

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