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Cold Mountain (North Carolina) facts for kids

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Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain from Mount Pisgah Overlook, Oct 2016.jpg
Cold Mountain as seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway
Highest point
Elevation 6,030 ft (1,840 m)
Prominence 990 ft (300 m)
Location Haywood County, North Carolina, U.S.
Parent range Great Balsam Mountains
Topo map USGS Cruso
Easiest route Hike

Cold Mountain falls in the mountain region of western North Carolina, United States. The mountain is one of the Great Balsam Mountains which are a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains within the Appalachian Mountains. Cold Mountain and the Shining Rock Wilderness surrounding it are part of Pisgah National Forest.

Cold Mountain is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Waynesville and 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Asheville. It rises to 6,030 feet (1,840 m) above sea level and is the 40th tallest mountain in the eastern United States. The peak is accessible only via an extremely strenuous branch of the Art Loeb Trail with a 10.6 miles (17.1 km) round trip and an elevation change of 2,800 feet (850 m).

The vast majority of Cold Mountain falls within federal lands of the Shining Rock Wilderness of the Pisgah National Forest. However portions of the mountain, including approximately 800 acres (324 ha) of northwestern Cold Mountain in Panther Branch, are privately owned. There are about 15 residences on the northwest side of mountain and maintenance of access roads is funded by property owners.

In 2016 the Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy purchased the 162 acres (66 ha) Dix Creek tract from private owners. The land was transferred to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in late October 2016 and will increase the adjoining Cold Mountain Game Lands to 3,500 acres (1,416 ha) in 2017.


Much of the Forest was originally owned by George Washington Vanderbilt II, builder of the Biltmore Estate. After his death, his widow sold the land that included the mountain to the United States Forest Service at $5 an acre to help create the Pisgah National Forest as the first National Forest in the eastern United States.

Major General Paul Wurtsmith was killed along with four other crewmen when the TB-25J Mitchell he was piloting (c/n 44-30227) crashed 200 feet (61 m) below the summit of Cold Mountain on September 16, 1946. Wurtsmith Air Force Base was renamed in memorial in 1953. Lt. Col. F. L. Trickey, Lt. Col. P. R. Okerbloom, Master Sergeant Hosey W. Merritt, and Staff Sergeant Hoyt W. Crump were also killed in the crash. In April 1989 the engines from the crashed bomber were airlifted from the crash site and returned to Wurtsmith AFB by a small volunteer group of base personnel with the intent of creating a memorial for the crewmen. Due to a variety of unforeseen circumstances, that included a previous fatal KC-135 crash in October 1988, the transfer and retirement of the volunteers, the Gulf War, and the 1993 closure of the base, the planned memorial to Gen. Wurtsmith and those who were killed in the 1946 crash was never realized and the fate of the engines is not known. However, in 2006 Veteran Memorial Park of Northeast Michigan was created at an existing flag circle on the former base.

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