The Cold Mountain 50k/25k is Haywood County NC's very FIRST trail race that spans a remote section of Pisgah National Forest and the Cold Mountain Game Lands. The course climbs high above Lake Logan and traverses Lickstone Ridge, crossing high mountain creeks that originate in the headwaters along the Blue Ridge Parkway, then descends to the West Fork of the Pigeon River bordering Shining Rock Wilderness and Middle Prong Wilderness. The race will begin and end at Sunburst campground with a bonfire and post race cookout for all runners.
The race takes place mid-March. Check ultrasignup for specifics...
The race starts at Sunburst Campground and climbs for about 2500 feet over 5 miles to reach the high point of the race. This knocks out about half of the climbing in the first section. The course is well-marked and hard to lose. After reaching the high point at double springs gap, where a token is obtained, the course returns the way it came, back to Lickstone Gap Road
. At this point the course turns left onto the road and continues to follow the road for the majority of the rest of the race. There is the first aid station soon after the turn onto Lickstone Gap Road
, about 8 miles into the race. From aid station 1 to aid station 2 it is about a 5 mile stretch of rolling trail with one climb of a gentle grade but annoying persistence.
From aid station 2 there the course drops down to the turn around with 2 short spurs to gather additional tokens, the first about 1.5 miles down from aid station 2, and the other once reach the river, just before the turn around, where you head to the dam to get the token.
At the turn around is aid station 3. From that point the course returns the way it came, but without any of the out-and-backs to gather the tokens. From the turn around, it is about 3.2 back up to aid station 2, 5 from AS 2 to AS 3, and 3 from AS 3 to the finish.
The course is a little shy of a true 50k, at about 29.5 miles. However, with the local feel, the positive environment, the great aid stations, and the gentle yet consistent hills, this is a fun and enjoyable 50k and one well-designed and suited for beginners.