First off when traveling down the gravel road to the trail you'll see a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road. Ignore this and continue to follow the signs for the trail until you reach the designated parking lot. Trust me, you won't want to walk that extra by when you're done with the hike. The trail is a loop and we took the right-hand path to start. It starts out very easy and overall pleasant (see what I did there).
We sadly did not do the entire loop the way we planned. Because the area apparently had a prescribed burn recently there were some areas where it was difficult to distinguish the trail from the rest of the forest. We got totally off track and ended up cutting across the loop and having to double back - see my recording for further clarification. My advice is to watch for the blue trail markers on three trees along the path.
This is a pretty popular trail and we saw multiple groups on our hike. At the summit there were probably ten other groups at the overlook which was slightly annoying. There's two look outs - east and west. For the west you'll have to climb some boulders to get to the real view. Make sure you do this! It's so worth it. The east lookout is a little easier to access but also has a gorgeous view. Overall the hike was a good one, and I'll definitely return in the future!
We hiked from the Lexington turnpike where you see the sign for long wayside Mountain up to Bald Knob site. It has steep elevation and should not be rated as Easy. It is 2.5 miles to the top which took us 1.5 hours. There are some very nice vistas from the top and the trail ( AT) is well marked throughout on the trees with white markers. However there was no marker for Bald Knob, but luckily we had our GPS.
It is not clear where the easy hike with little Irish creek is - we could not find it and it was not on the map at the parking area. Just know that if you do hike to Bald Knob it is a challenge and you will need lots of water.
Good trail with nice elevation. View at the top is worth the hike. The forest burning had a portion of the trail closed so we will have to go back. Get hike for a day trip.
This is a pretty easy trail with beautiful scenery, I have heard of seeing wild life though I haven't seen anything other than birds and squirrels myself.
Stunning views!! I had the summit fully to myself and seldom encountered other hikers which was both amazing (it's a beautiful day! The world should be hiking!) and glorious. A few backpackers and day hikers, but overall pretty quiet. And the summit-- wow! The west overlook has great rocks to enjoy the view, but I preferred the east overlook and it's 360 panorama.
A few logistics for those who may encounter the same questions I had:
-- several cars are parked at the trailhead for the AT; keep going to the parking lot, which has both ends of the trail's loop.
-- the trail is now called the Henry Lanum Memorial trail; the Mt Pleasant trail is solely for the .5mi trail to the summit, which juts off the main loop.
-- the full loop is 7.3mi (including the one mile steep up and back for the summit trail)
Solid loop with good views. If you park in the first lot you come to on the gravel road, you will hike the trail counter-clockwise, which means that you will get the great views from the summit meadows sooner rather than later (which is how my group hiked it).
I'd recommend continuing to the second, larger parking area and hiking clockwise so that the best part is closer to the end of your hike. Views from the clearings at the summit are really awesome and are very unique among Appalachian hikes I've been on as there is practically 360 degree visibility.
I still remember this one. It was a fairly easy section for the AT.
I did this section years ago with a full backpack. Lots to see without too much verticle.
Cold Mountain is as pretty a vista as you'll find anywhere. Taking the Hotel trail to the AT makes a great circuit - and lunch on top can't be beat!