Cold Mountain via Art Loeb Trail is a 9.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Canton, NC that features a great forest setting and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is accessible from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Great trail, very tough with all the leaves down, makes it very slippery.
Steep, narrow, rocky but worth it
I'm one that loves to hike strenuous hikes and this hike lived up to my expectations.
The directions to the trail were spot on. The entry to the trail is easy to fine and get started. Be aware that the last mile of the hike is not well maintained and not marked.
The views from the top are worth the time it takes to get to the top.
Cold Mountain is a beast, but worth every tired step. Great views, interesting terrain and rock formations, and a 6K'+ summit. Allow ample time going up. Ramps cover the sides of the hollers in the springtime.
My husband and I did this hike in about 5 hours (including a 30-minute lunch break at the summit). Given the full leaf cover, there were not many views until we got near the top -- but they were certainly worth the effort and the wait! It's a beautiful, peaceful, quintessentially southern Appalachian hike, with plenty of climbing, rocks and roots to keep things interesting. We will definitely do this again in the fall when the leaves are changing.
Amazing views. Continue up to fine the geographical marker.
Overall great trail. It lives up to its 'difficult' rating with steep terrain and obstacles but has some flat parts to recover with. Some new views at the top but the trail is mostly wooded
Beautiful views, and pretty strenuous. We completed this hike, along with an out and back hike to Sam's knob. This was an overnight trip for us, the way there taking a full day, and the way back taking 4 hours or so (few breaks). If I were to do this again I would do a two night trip, probably staying at Flower Knob (in tent-bald with high winds). We camped about .3 miles from the Cold Mountain summit. We planned on staying in Deep Gap, but all of the sites were taken.
this trail is strenuous, no doubt about it, but the views at the top are 110% worth it. I would recommend trekking poles for the way back down, especially if you have cruddy joints like I do. again, 10/10 would hike again.
It was a 2.5 hour climb and my legs were tired, but it is definitely beautiful at the top. I went with my 9 year old dog in mid-April. There were plenty of drinking spots for her along the way. We made it up and back in a little less than 5 hours, but we did run some of the way and we didn't stop much due to time constraints.
There are some beautiful grassy camping spots close to the top. I was tempted to take a nap there.
Challenging trail. We parked at the boy scout camp and made our way up the mountain. It was very challenging from the start. You start climbing from the start and it is pretty consistent. The hike gets worse about mile out from the top. The path is marked, easy to follow and can be precarious at times. The view up top is nice but covered in trees so the views can be obscured in the spring. We didn't have that problem. We made it out and back in a little under 7 hours. That includes an hour we spent having lunch and recharging at the top which I highly recommend. All in all, it was a great workout and a rewarding hike.
A very tough, but scenic route. No real views until Deep Gap, but the babbling streams and mossy boulders make up for it during the first 2/3 miles. I believe this is easily within the top five most difficult trails in NC; 3000 feet of elevation gain over 5 miles.
we parked at black balsam Friday mid afternoon and planned to return Sunday afternoon.
we are not by standard experienced hikers, but this trail was very rugged at points.
we hiked from black balsam to shining rock gap Friday. started at about 3, got there just after 6. this section was very easy, flat and easy to navigate. we camped at the bottom of shining rock next to the intersection.
we set of the next morning to cold mountain via the narrows. The narrows was was rough at times with step climes, scrambles and some nervous descents. we reached deep gap in 2.5 hours. we dropped our packs put on our fanny packs and headed up to the summit. it took us an 1:15 to summit. there are outcroppings close to the summit that have absolutely amazing views. it took us 45 minutes to hike back down to deep gap where we camped. we didn't have any bears, but we did have little mammals scurrying around our tent.
we packed up and and were off by 9 back through the narrows, which was still quite rugged. however, once you break through the narrows, it's easy sailing. we took ivestor gap trail back to the edge of shining rock wilderness and beat the couple that had taken art loeb trail by about 15 minutes. we then took the old logging road all the way back to black balsam.
on this path there were only 2 water points. at the entrance of the trail at black balsam and 45 minutes up cold mountain. make sure you bring plenty of water. we carried about 7 liters and was getting close, using the water for two people, cooking and a dog. the water at these points didn't require filtering or boiling. it's been two days and no sign of any illness from drinking ample amounts of the water. it was all in all a phenomenal hike, but quite rigorous for the inexperienced hiker.
Excellent hike with STUNNING views. Took the Investor Gap to Shining Rock to Cold Mountain and then hiked back out on the Art Loeb a couple days later. During August there are blueberry bushes for DAYS. Also blackberries! A very tasty treat for the long haul. :)
My hubs and I parked at Black Balsam and set out to Cold Mountain thinking there would be a campsite at the summit. Not so much. Instead we were rewarded with incredible outlooks. Can't complain there. Descended back down a bit and spent the night in Deep Gap. And yes, you need bear canisters! Make sure you are responsible if camping out! Bear canisters are a pain but they are required. (If the weight deters you, get the Ursack bear bag- only 7.8 ounces and indestructible!) Woke up in the middle of the night to a bear standing 20ft from our tent. Found claw marks by the tree we propped our bag up in. Had ALL of our food in odor-proof bags. Thankfully nothing was harmed or damaged.
Also, I don't recall very many run-offs/water sources past Shining Rock.. (I believe there was 1 decent run-off). However, they are scarce and I'd suggest filling up any bottles/bladders at the Shining Rock/Art Loeb intersection/junction before proceeding. Plan for worst if you don't want to afford turning back for water.
Anyway, 11/10 would hike again and again. One of my favorite places in existence. Makes a great backpacking trip.
I am stingy with 5 stars. This is 5 stars without a doubt. I have seen it billed as all of the benefits of the AT in a weekend and while that is an exaggeration, I get the comparison.
I started at the boycott camp and walked South, which means you lose overall altitude. 4 miles or so up and then I tool the spur up to the top of cold mountain and slept there. It sounds better than it was. No views, but hey, they named a movie after it so I checked that box.
You then go South through the Shining Rock Wilderness and pass through an area called the narrows, which is just really tall weeds/plants and a little eerie. Then a really solid ridgline with some scrambling. Past some pines and eventually into the open where you hit Flower Gap and are treated to about 6-7 miles of awesome vistas with a lot of up and down over the peaks.
Past black balsam knob and you go down to cross the BRP. Then it is about 18- 20 more miles of peaks with vistas at most of the tops. Much more forested and the climbs get smaller as you get nearer the end. Finish through rhododendron tunnel and out into the campground area.
A couple pieces of advice:
1. Locate water sources before you go. there are not a lot of them so miss one and you will get thirsty
2. If you go late summer/fall be advised when you are in the open area the bees are nuts. Just suck it up and go because you will not avoid them. I did not get stung but the hum of the bees was like a plane
3. Look at a picture of the junction in shining rock. You can take a wrong turn very easily and walk for quite a way
4. I backpacked it and took 2 nights. Take you time and enjoy but...
5. Most of all, do this hike!
The trail was beautiful! It's kinda rugged at some points but that's good hiking. The hike it straight up hill the whole way but worth the pain once you get to the top. I camped at the intersection of art loeb and the Boy Scout camp trail. Very peaceful
Would have given this five stars if it weren't for the new bear canister requirement for overnight campers in Shining Rock Wilderness and the Graveyard/Balsam areas. Those things are too heavy! But I did see 8 big bear scat piles on the section that skirts around the east side of the summit of Shining Rock, and heard some stories of bear encounters so I guess it just makes sense. I guess the Bears are climbing and getting food out of trees now so hanging does not cut it anymore.
If you have never hiked this trail from end to end, I highly encourage you to do so. So many breathtaking vistas and cozy little corridors of trees and Rhododendrons that it kind of becomes quite spiritual really. I still want to hike from Pisgah all the way to cold mountain and back someday... Any takers?