Explore Asheville - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Enjoyed the walk with the family. It's well traveled and easily marked. The uphill climb was a surprise but I probably should have done more research on it. The family had a good time looking out over the mountains and, even with the fogged-in views, weren't disappointed in the least.

A 6hr round trip going up the Mt Mitchell trail and down Higgins Bald. I can’t really recommend Higgins Bald as it’s a touch overgrown and the roots here are particularly evil. This is not a “scenic” trail, but the woods are beautiful and peaceful. Being from the Midwest, this hike was epic. To walk out onto the summit after climbing nearly 3700 ft is a feeling I won’t forget soon. It is hard but completely doable. Highly recommend hiking boots with solid ankle support and good traction. I didn’t use trekking poles but they would have made my life a lot easier! It’s definitely a popular hike; I got to the trailhead at 8:30am on a Saturday and the parking lot was already full! Passed a few people going up and even more going back down.

*Be warned that it is very likely the summit will be covered in clouds and fog! A man I met on the top said he’s done this hike 3 times and seen only clouds. It’s still definitely worth doing in my opinion!

Couldn’t go up to the observation deck due to renovations but pretty Hike up. Found a trail that connected to forney trail. Nice hike.

Great trail for mountain biking! (And, there is heavy bike traffic.) I was walking and trail running. Parts of this trail are on a gravel road. Look at photos so you know what you're getting into. No mountain views. Wooded forest area. What I found most cool is that this trail goes through the Bent Experimental Forest (Pisgah National Forest), and there were interpretive signs explaining various types of forest management: single tree selection, group selection, clear cut, etc. If you are interested in forest management practices, definitely check this network of trails out. The loop I did (see recorded) provided a 4.2 mile walk. In retrospect, the descent at the end was fairly hard (on my knees!), and I wouldn't choose to do it that way again. I should have consulted the topography better before selecting the route.

beautiful hike up. No views at the top due to clouds, but a great time with the family getting there. Views at the parking lot were perfect.

I did this trail 2 years ago with a couple of friends while on vacation. The scenery on the way and the views from the top are second to none.

really excited about the hike but could not figure out the loop for anything. I'll try again with a map. trail not blazed well.

Done this out and back a few times just for the challenge. It’s a tough and long distance with lots of elevation gain. Not many views along the way up but a nice payoff at the top. Your legs will be toast by the end on the hike down.

Cons: Many other beautiful hikes in this area of NC with much less tourism. (Most people drive up for the view).

steep hike up to the tower. 30 min at a moderate pace. views at the top of the tower are great.

I just did this over Sunday, Monday and hiked out on Tuesday. I hit some of the side trails and camped at a few of the small camps off to the sides of the trail. I'm only giving it four stars because I'm relatively certain that the trail is slightly longer than advertised, but it was an awesome trail. Side note there is no good camping on the Higgins Bald trail as it is all one big Laurel slick.

hiking
14 days ago

what an amazing hike. extremely hard and no great views till the top but it's amazing watching how the biome changes as you get higher on the mountain. will definitely be back for this trail

The trail through dense woods, did not provide many scenic views, and is mostly used by mountain bikers. The bike traffic made for hiking uncomfortable at times and I expected more views of the surrounding hills.

Fun little side trip. The climb up is paved, but a good cardio workout. It was foggy and raining when we arrived, so we missed out on the views. The drive in from the North Carolina side was beautiful and well worth the trip regardless.

For such a short walk, the steepness going up was a challenge. Enjoyed meeting lots of people. Great view from the top. I did this walk in June 2016. Nice adventure.

hiking
16 days ago

Parking can be difficult, arrive early. Many trails start from this parking lot so its always packed. We got here at 7 am and had no problem finding a spot. The bathrooms are kinda stinky even for out houses. The hike up to the tower is steep, so pace yourself. It is always cooler then what everyone is prepared for, many shivering people in early June. If its clear, great views.

Hard to find no signs of any kind. But very fun!

very popular. trail to the tower is paved all the way. view at the top is awesome to watch.

This was a hard trail, but definitely not as hard as I expected based on the reviews we read. The views were limited, but to me the solitude and serenity of the forest made up for that. The trail was longer than expected, 12 miles by our All Trails recording. As experienced hikers used to high altitude hiking out West, it was really weird to have a parking lot and lots of people at the summit after emerging from 2.5 hours in the quiet forest. But, for people in average shape, this is totally doable. We would suggest good hiking boots and trekking poles.

Great view at the top but way too many ppl

fogged in, but still a great experience to be there

Absolutely beautiful even with a lot of people around you still can find those solitude spots for awhile

hiking
22 days ago

Very challenging hike but worth the experience! Wear some good shoes and be careful for loose rocks! Just started hiking about a month back on the weekends and it took me and a friend about 5 hours round trip for this hike! Minus the time we spent at the top! Granted we’re both in pretty good shape so keep that in mind when planning times! Also carry long sleeves for the top even if your sweating your butt off at the bottom cause it gets chilly!

hiking
23 days ago

Just like every popular trail in the Smokies, it is very crowded. It’s worth the hassle of parking though because the views are great! It was 20 degrees cooler at the top than in Gatlinburg and this was in June. It’s best to bring a jacket just in case you need it. Definitely a moderate hike because it’s a paved but steep steady incline the whole way up and it’s about .5 mile one way. They do have benches along the way for you to stop and rest if needed.

This trail takes you through a beautiful forest. It is easy, quiet, and lovely.

Stunning views, even from the parking lot! Get there arpund 830am and theres plenty if parking but fills up quick! Steep, short hike.. take breaks and you’ll be fine.

hiking
24 days ago

Great trail! We stayed at Black Mountain Campground and started there. We were able to stay with other friends at the campground so we left a car at the top and only hiked one way. Starting at the bottom it is a climb the entire way. Including starting from the campground it was just under 7 miles and a little over 3700 ft in elevation gain. I will try this trail again going both ways. A good stopping point is the stream with a small waterfall.

Very steep but short hike. Like others have said, very crowded. I would recommend going early to beat the crowd. Views are fantastic

Steep but not very far, and the views from the observation tower are spectacular. You can take a side trail and a bit of the AT if you want to avoid the main paved trail with the zillions of people. Go early for easier parking and avoiding the massive crowds.

Great hike but challenging both going up and back down.

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