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9 days ago

Superb uphill hike from Bowlens Creek. Beautiful waterfall scenery at the begining of the hike, midway up you're greeted by a neat flooded mine on the right of the trail, as you ascend the scenery changes from massive trees to smaller evergreens. We hiked in the snow a week ago and it wasn't too hard to navigate. You come out to a spectacular overlook at Celo Knob and continue on the crestoine towards Mt Mitchell from there. The trail is much more narrow on the crest with some rock scrambling here and there (it was very slick and covered in ice when we went) compared to many trails around the area but i personally prefer that on hikes. The winds were blasting over us around 40-50 mph and the Lee side parts of the trail were a relief. This hike is honestly my favorite thus far in the Smokies. Challenging and unique.

One of my favorite trails. Very good workout, great views and you're alongside the creek half of the time! Just note that it is a LOT harder going one way than the other, as on one side of Stone Mountain the ascent is very steep with a lot of stairs and on the other it is more gradual. Once you reach the split, if you go left it takes you by the waterfall first but then you've got the stairs up the side of Stone Mountain. Going right is the easier ascent up Stone Mountain and the waterfall will be at the end.

This trail is great in the winter. A lot of the overgrowth described on other guides and reviews is simply not present (however you still will be plowing through stems, thorns, and evergreens), making the views great throughout most of the trail. The Rock Jock section is definitely the most overgrown, although not the most strenuous (until the final 1/2 mile climb back up to the road). Several rocks to scramble up and get a great view, lots of bouldering, lots of stream crossings in the winter.

A note on intersections: they will all be obvious (i.e. sign is basically right in the middle of the trail) except the Linville Gorge Trail to Conley Cove Trail intersection. This is described as at the second of two campsite areas, however we passed about four campsite areas before coming across it. Keep heading north as long as the trail sticks close to the river. The sign is backed up right against the river, so you should see it, however the trail tends to widen/disappear at the campsites so it doesn't force you to run into it.

I hiked this trail yesterday morning. I started down at the lower parking lot trailhead and did the entire loop. It was an amazing experience. The views at the summit and the waterfalls was awesome. I saw an abundance of wildlife as well. Great trail!

Hiked this loop with my 2 children about 2 months ago. It was challenging at parts but mainly fun! We started off to the right. Will go then opposite way next time for more of a challenge. The waterfall, views and well marked routes were perfect!

Great hike that has it all! Great views from the top with lots of places to stop off the trail and take it all in! I did find parking at the east parking lot and going to the summit is the way to do this hike! Coming from the other direction to the top, you'll be climbing many narrow steps, much easier going down those narrow steps in my opinion. Seen plenty of people with children and dogs so I do believe it's a hike for the entire family.

Did a portion of this trail before the rain set in. Looking forward to returning and completing the trail! Beautiful wildlife and views.

A great day tour of the Linville Gorge! Physically demanding with beautiful views throughout the hike! Save up some steam for Pinchin! It’s aggressive! Highly suggest this one for people up for the challenge!

We stayed at the park's campground, beautiful, clean and a return visit for sure. This time of the year and during the week made it extra special, only two other camper's in the campground.
Hiked both ways on the loop, it was an outstanding experience.

The trail is decent. there are always many people on this trail as this is the most popular trail in this SP. the view from the top is nice.

Awesome hike. Straight up to 6100 ft with just a few flat areas to recover. Late fall conditions- mud at the trailhead, leaves over trial to about 4800 ft, inch of snow rest of way up, with heavy ice around 5700 ft up. Started snowing for a few minutes, but clear at the top. Best trail ive done in the area. Had to turn back at Celo Knob due to conditions, but cant wait to finish the trail to Mt Mitchell.

this trail has everything to offer... hills, stairs, waterfalls, scenery. rates second to Yosemite only.

This will go down as one of my favorite little hikes of all time. At first, we were bummed at the complete cloud cover. As we made our way to the top, the wind was gusting and the trees were dusted with white. It was gorgeous! We checked out the observation area at Mt. Mitchell before heading out on to Balsam. It was iced over at points, but oh so beautiful! It’s a short loop and you’ll wish it went on much longer. Don’t miss this one.

Easily, one of my favorite hikes. Started at the Lower Trailhead. A lot of steps and rock faces to hike up, a lot of overlooks, and a 200 foot waterfall. Covered about 9 miles.

This was my favorite hike I've ever done! Highly recommend. Definitely start with the summit.

My gps said I did 6.5 miles for this loop. It was strenuous. Uphill both ways. Lots of steps. Took me and my pup about 4 and a half hours. Stopped at top of rock for snack and rest. It was a really nice hike though.

2 months ago

Loved it! A bit of a challenge with the leaves on the ground and the past rains make the trail a bit slippery!

some amazing views. and one amazing waterfall. bucket list this one. you'll thank me

Lovely easy trail! We love the scenery along this trail. The trees remind us of a medieval forest with layers of rich green lichen and boulders with icicles hanging in places. The fir, cedars, & spruce trees were wind blown and frozen with ice & snow. I wish I had my camera!!!The first time we’ve been on this trail in November. .It wasn’t the trail we intended to hike today but someone else had other plans for us! We met three worn out young men and a beautiful dog named Mia.. They had camped out near the base of Black Mt/Mt Mitchell trail and hiked to the top this morning.. We met them as they were making the long trek down the mountain. They were tired, the trail was slippery, and darkness would be on them before they finished.. We offered them a ride and made four new friends. Sort of sad to drop them off at the camp ground. They reminded us of our sons. Good luck fellas!!

It’s lovely !!

Beautiful hike. Took approximately 3-4 hours for novice hiker.

Beautiful views.

2 months ago

Moderate hike with phenomenal views! Took our time exploring and was done within 4 hours.

Fantastic trail. lots of great views and good campsites. Pretty tough though, and the trail isn't always the most well kept. A challenge, but a welcome one.

A bit crowded, but otherwise perfect. Challenging and beautiful.

Great hike with a little bit of everything!!

Incredible trails, well marked, wide trails. There are steps on each end of the loop, so pick your poison. Saw wildlife ,views and the waterfall was spectacular.

Amazing!! One of my favorite places to hike

Amazing views! Highly recommended!! Do the whole loop and you’ll see how different the landscape can be on top of vs. base of the mountain. Pick your poison: traveling counter-clockwise will mean wide uneven steps going down and standard wooden stairs going up, clockwise gives you the uneven stairs going up and wooden down. Any way you slice it LOTS of stairs. Strenuous at some points. Took us 3 hours with dogs.

trail running
3 months ago

One of my favorite trails by far. Orange blazed. High Peaks maintains it very well— good signs and trail isn’t overgrown. There are cables and ropes on some of the more slippery rocky sections— helpful when it snows.

There are a few ways to get to the trail— from the far end of the trail at the Bowlen’s Creek parking area (you have to Ford the little creek, the bridge is sketchy). Here you will go up an old fire road for about 4 miles until you reach the ridge line. You can also park at the other end in Mount Mitchell State Park. There are also ways of accessing from side trails— if you don’t want to do the whole thing— for example, use the Woody Ridge Trail (park on White Oak) or Colbert Ridge Trail (park on Colbert Creek Road).

The trail has a lot of rocks and summits many 6000’ peaks— Mt Craig, Tom, Balsam Cone, Potato Hill, Winter Star, Mount Gibbs, Horse Rock, and Celo Knob (via a .20 mile overgrown spur trail.) the crest has amazing 360 views for a lot of it, also spruce- fir forests and stone staircases.

There is very little water on the trail, so bring some with. There is a spring on the Colbert Ridge side trail and a creek toward the Bowlen’s Creek end.

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