Cold Spring Gap

It is perhaps slightly misleading to list Cold Spring Gap as a destination. There is no direct route there that doesn’t entail at least 10 miles of fairly rigorous hiking, which implies an overnight stay somewhere in the park. Therein lies one of the appealing factors. There is an inverse law that the farther one moves from the trailhead, the fewer hikers one will see. Cold Spring Gap confirms this law.

Due to the elevation of the gap and its geographic location within the mountain range, it is common for fog to linger here in an eerie shroud. If approaching the gap from the west, be prepared to ford the spring several times on your way to the top. The foliage is thick and the rocks a constant shining black due to the humidity in the draw you are ascending. Often on this trail you will find yourself essentially walking into the clouds as the mists thicken the higher you go.

Once on top enjoy the silence as the mist seems to muffle any stray noise that may try to reach your ears. If it is late enough in the afternoon then often when you emerge on Bearwallow Bald and onto Jumpup Ridge, the clouds burn off to allow brief glimpses of the valleys around you. If you continue east on the trail you will come to campsite 75 at Poplar Flats, which is not very big but is tucked off the trail next to Bear Creek and makes a nice stop over, whether as part of a loop or a there and back trail from the east.

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