One of the few clear ridge walks in the mid-Atlantic section of the Appalachian Trail, Cold Mountain provides a glimpse into the past. The Appalachian Trail curves smoothly through a meadow that peaks at just over 4,200 feet above sea level. Many make a circuit hike of the area: walk the full ridge to Cowcamp Gap, then hop on the "Hotel Trail" (blue blazes) back to the parking lot. Expect great views in the summer and fall, but also be ready for wind sweeping across the ridge.
Take Route 60 (the stretch north of Lynchburg and east of Lexington) to Coffey Town Rd and proceed north. Take a right onto VA-755/Wiggins Spring Rd, following the Mount Pleasant Sign. 755 becomes FS-48 upon entering the GW National Forest. Look for the parking area just after crossing the Appalachian Trail.
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