The hike up to Cold Mountain started in the beautiful area known as the black balsam balds off of the Blue Ridge Parkway on the Art Leob trail.
The Black Balsam area includes some of the most spectacular mountain balds in the Southern Appalachians, including Black Balsam Knob, Sam Knob, and Tennent Mountain. These treeless mountaintops draw people from all over due to their sweeping views and alpine-like appearance.
After hiking past the balds and thru Ivestor Gap, we reached Shining Rock. Named for the white quartzite rock that forms its summit, Shining Rock stands at 5,940 feet. Shining Rock Ledge, which forms the backbone of the area, boasts five peaks over 6,000 feet, the highest being Cold Mountain at 6,030 ft.
From Shining Rock we headed towards Cold Mountain. As we approached, the trail turned more technical and more overgrown. Climbing up Cold Mountain was certainly not easy to do. Although it was cooler at the top, it surely was not cold this day. After 9 mile of hiking we reached the summit of Cold Mountain and enjoyed lunch and headed back the same way.
The day turned out to be a beautiful day in the woods.
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