ORONOCO, Va. – Cole Mountain hike is located just thirty minutes outside Buena Vista, offering amazing views in an almost 6 mile loop.
The trail begins off of a gravel road where you can park. Look for the entry way with two blue blazes. A few paces later, you’ll see the sign for the Old Hotel Trail. This is a loop trail that is roughly five miles up, and one mile down back to the parking area.
The first mile or so takes you through tall beautiful trees and then out into the sun. This is where it starts to get a little steep and you’ll start a moderate ascend to a camp site about a half mile later.
From there you will follow the blue blazes as you start your descent to the bottom of the mountain.
I’m going to admit, we thought we were hiking on a different trail the entire time up until about three miles in. We were feeling pretty defeated but continued trekking.
The trail goes deep into the valley for about a mile, then the blue blazes turn to white as you follow the Appalachian Trail up to the peak for two miles.
This part was definitely the hardest as it was a gradual but steep incline including a few switchbacks. There are a few places to stop and get a preview of what to expect at the top.
We were exhausted by the end mostly because it wasn’t the hike we intended to do, but the views at the top were so worth it
The trail then takes you across the ridge of cold mountain for about a mile and then you will have a quick descent back to the parking lot where you started.