Tar Jacket Ridge, Cold Mtn – Old Hotel Trail loop

11.0 miles, Strenuous, $5.00 carpool fee

57 miles from Roanoke

Located in Amherst County some 20 miles northeast of Buena Vista, this loop hike offers some of the most outstanding views anywhere in the area.  The trailhead is on the Appalachian Trail at Salt Log Gap roughly 8 miles from route 60 on a dirt and gravel road.  Following the A.T. south, the route climbs Tar Jacket Ridge and then Cold Mountain.  Both of these summits are open and offer extraordinary views in all directions – Cold Mountain especially.  Less than a mile south of Cold, the route turns left onto the Old Hotel Trail at Cow Camp Gap (during the stagecoach days there was an inn in this area, but nothing remains of it today).  After passing a shelter, the trail climbs a hill and then passes some old rock fences on its way to a beautiful, open park-like area (a great camp site).  The last part of the hike is along a Forest Service road back to Salt Log Gap.