Amherst County's Cole Mountain Loop is a medium-level (Moderate and not too difficult.) 6.5-mile hike located in George Washington National Forest's Pedlar Ranger District. This trail (also known as "Cold Mountain") is one of Central Virginia's only hikes that crosses incredible pastures & a summit.
Cold Mountain, being in a National Forest, and still in the same state as it was during the U.S. Civil War. A lot of people recognize the name because of the book of the same name that was made into a movie a few years ago. The movie was shot in Romania but the scenery is said to be very similar.
The easiest way to view Cold Mountain by pulling off at the Mile 412 overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is only room for five or six cars at the parking area, and that might be a bit of difficulty.
The hike starts out around the forest service road but you’ll soon switch to the Blue-Blazed Hiking trail. The route follows the Trail for about 3.5 miles until a junction with the Appalachian Trail and then it takes you up a series of switchbacks, across the Cole Mountain summit and eventually back down to the parking where you started out.
The thing we loved about places was the ever-changing landscape along the way. It was a perfect sampling of Virginia’s varied scenery. I found it to be an overall enjoyable trail would definitely do it again some other time if I want a good long hike.
If you would like to extend your hike to even more hike then you can find Henry Lanum Memorial trail for that.
1. Locate water sources before you go. there is 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 your time and enjoy but...
5. Most of all, do this hike!