Rocky Fork State Park has a small gravel parking area with picnic tables, bear resistant refuse cans and portable toilets. No charge for admission or parking.
Access to the Coldspring Mountain Trail is through Rocky Fork State Park and into the Cherokee National Forest on the Headwaters Extension
trail. Turn left at the end of the Headwaters Extension
trail onto the grassy and sometimes rocky doubletrack along the ridgeline and the start of Coldspring Mountain Trail.
After approximately 0.5 miles, the trail begins to climb again, with some steep sections for another 0.75 miles. About a mile from the start, in the middle of a right turn, there is a short foot path to large rock outcroppings with an expansive view over Rocky Fork State Park and beyond.
From here, the trail travels through dense rhododendron thickets, partly buried boulders and a few black mud bogs of unknown depth (you can walk around them) and the trail becomes narrower and a little overgrown in some spots. Don't forget to make some noise through this part as there are some blind corners in the narrow trail through the thickets and there are usually a lot of bear tracks on the trail, especially when the blueberries and elderberries are ripe.
At about 1.5 miles from the start, the trail breaks out of the thickets into a large open area with a solitary pine tree. At the far end of the open area, near the TN/NC border, the trail intersects the Horse Creek Jeep Trail
and the Appalachian Trail (the AT is foot traffic only
). Now it's reverse course and about seven miles almost all downhill back to the Rocky Fork State Park parking area.