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It’s steep at first but pence your on top it’s beautiful

Kevin, email me caronj@gmail.com

This is more of an inquiry as myself and a few friends would like to plan this hike in June, but reading reviews causes some concern. We are in pretty good shape and have hiking experience, but don't wish to get lost for hours. Anyways, I think that we would be willing to hire someone who has made this trek and could guide us to the summit. If anyone can offer some insights and suggestion, I would be most appreciative.
I have a vacation home in Asheville and used to live there, and actually tested the hike for a half mile or so out of Canton, so have some insight. Looking at second weekend in June. Thanks, Kevin

I’ve never hiked the entire black mountain crest trail but this review is for Ben Clark. What an incredible story man, but I can’t help but laugh because I’m the guy on the atv ! I offered to help you guys out but you didn’t really seem like you knew where you were going or where you came from. I thought you were just some college kids from cattail creek hiking up to the mine so we never thought anything of it. You guys were on the old mining roads and most of them aren’t on google maps. Don’t go by just what you saw though man the views are amazing up there and I don’t have any idea how you ran out of water because it’s everywhere lol. We’ve got property at the base of the mountain so I know the area pretty well. Shoot me an email if you want more info on how to get around without getting lost. Sorry y’all had to had to suffer but when we came back down we never passed you so we went on to the house.

PS: I have to rate the trail so I’m going with 5 Stars. I’ll hike it someday but I don’t live there and my time is always limited. That area has become my favorite place on earth and I intend to live there permanently one day.

Do not underestimate the difficulty of this trail. First of all, if you are climbing from Bowlens Creek, the first 4.5 miles is the EASIEST climbing portion of the trail. For some people to say that the first 4.5 miles is the hardest, they obviously didn’t complete the entire trail. The AllTrails app is incorrect, it is more like 12.5 miles to Mount Mitchell from Bowlens Creek. We completed our hike in January of 2018 and the trail was very icy, making it very difficult to climb the rock scrambling portions of the trail. It really doesn’t get difficult until you start making your approach to Winter Star Mountain. From Winter Star Mountain to Mount Mitchell is some of the most strenuous hiking that I have done considering the iciness of the trail. There is a portion on Big Tom were there are ropes attached to two separate angled rock faces to assist in your scramble up the rock. I would recommend doing this trail in the summer when you do not have to worry about ice. Also, DO NOT expect to camp at Mount Mitchell in the winter. The campground is closed during winter months and they do not allow camping. DO NOT take on this trail unless you are a well prepared, experienced backpacker. We spoke to the park ranger and he said they are constantly rescuing unprepared, inexperienced hikers because they bite off more than they can chew. Luckily we were well prepared and were able to finish.

i would definitely go again! beautiful

I have now hiked this trail 28 times. Looking forward to my 29th and 30th as my goal was 30. It is a good workout and there are two major water sources along the way. The trail is well maintained. You won't find many decent views of the surrounding mountains or the valley below.The Higgins Bald Trail has a waterfall but it is only decent after a heavy rainfall.

Wonderfully difficult climb to one of the best trails in western North Carolina!!!!

The Sound of Music will be what you are thinking of when you get up on the balds. Spectacular! I hike a small section of this in the summer. Going back this fall to camp. Prepare to be WOW'D!

Pretty easy. There is a lot of horse shite on some of the trails since horses are allowed on them. Started at this trail and hiked about 11 miles total.

12/15/17 it’s still heavy covered in snow. There were tracks in the snow up until the split, then it was guessing my way in the snow for the remaining 1.4 miles to the top. I’d recommend wearing gaiters or snowshoes. Much of the trail had 6-12”. +12” near the top made it a difficult hike. Tough hike in general. 3 hrs up and about 2 1/2 on the way down. Great hike, especially doing it in the snow!

One of the more scenic hikes I have ever been on. We shuttled up from Mountain Harbor and hiked to Overmountain Shelter on day 1. We heard weather was going to move in the next day, so we hiked the remaining portion on Day 2. Not a bad hike on day 2, until you get to Doll Flats and then the remaining 3-4 miles is a pretty steep drop. We were glad to get out on Day 2, because the next day it snowed!! The views from the balds are well worth the hike.

4 months ago

This was my first backpacking adventure. Probably not the wisest choice for my first time out, but why start small?

Started at the Bowlens Creek trailhead and the first four miles are grueling and exhausting. Once you get to the top of that, you have a reward of incredible views and more level hiking. Following that, more steep terrain, breathtaking views and absolute exhaustion. We did a total of eight miles before making camp at Deep Gap.

The next day was only four miles through woods and into the National Forest side of the trail. Interesting terrain and some steep climbs aided by ropes as we got to the top of Mt. Craig and then finally to the summit of Mt. Mitchell. A total of 12 miles for us on our first backpacking adventure.

If you are looking to push your limits and really want to challenge yourself, this is the trail to do this on. Add it to the bucket list to hike what North Carolinians refer to as “The Death March”. It’s a challenge, but so rewarding!

Loved this hike! Did it yesterday 11/3 and the colors were beautiful. It took us about 7 hours to carefully navigate which included a 30 stay at the summit where the views were absolutely stunning. Not an easy hike but well worth the effort.

Excellent hike. You will probably need to split this trail up in to two days. Multiple beautiful peaks and strenuous hiking.

4 months ago

Great hike, but not for the beginner! Difficult hike, not marked well. Many obstacles to navigate (downed trees, streams, boulders, etc.). Give yourself at least 6 hours. Wonderful views at the summit. Several streams for water, and a spring near the top.

I wanted to leave a review here since this weekend me and a group of friends hiked the trail and ended up getting lost and not making it home until 11:00pm. The trail starts at Water Shed, which is a private drive at the end of a turn, so it's easy to miss. Once you walk down the private road you will see some previous parking spots that are now marked off as private (3 cars were still using the spaces however). The trail from there is very pretty, as you are walking along side a creek the whole time. The creek has tons of beautiful falls where you can take pictures and you will stumble across an abandoned bridge as well as what appears to be an old dam as well. When you continue on the trail you will eventually find yourself getting to a trail head where you can stay on Black Crest or move down to a small trail that appears to lead to a road called North Fork. This is where you need to be aware that although Google Maps, MapQuest, and All Trails have that road as an actual street, IT IS NOT! Our plan was to get to the cut off where you will notice a trial that leads to to Winter Star Road, and follow that until our ride could pick us up. WARNING! North Fork Road and Winter Star ARE NOT ACCESSIBLE BY VEHICLE! We passed 2 gentleman on ATV's who told us the quickest way to get the main road was to stay on North Fork, which was accurate, however there is a turn on there that is not labeled and we ended up walking almost 2 hours to a dead end trail. We had been hiking for over 8 hours and had no water or food left, and despite filling up water in the spring we hadn't come across any other water sources for several hours. With night setting in and no service or idea where to go, I got lucky and happened to get some service in a overlook and called 911. They informed us that North Fork is an actual road, but it is only state maintained for the very beginning, and although it shows up as a road on Goggle Maps, it doesn't become paved or lead to civilization for several miles. Fortunately, after 11.5 hours and 19 miles of hiking we were able to get down to where the paved road started and were given a ride back to our place. Although we were all good to go and happy to be back we got lucky and avoided a nightmare. We had no water, no food, had been hiking for almost 12 hours, and no flashlights except for our phones and 2 out of the 4 were already dead, with mine only at 13%. Luckily the ranger we talked to on the phone was able to put us in the right direction because we weren't sure if we were going to make it out that night or the next morning.

Morale of the story, stay on the trail. I understand it was making the road seem like a trail but what we should have done is just turn around and come back after we met the fork. For anyone planning on hiking this trail make sure you don't plan on taking Winter Star or North Fork as an exit, it will take several hours to go down and there was numerous cut offs that aren't labeled, and you could get lost like we did. For those who see the cutoff, it's labeled near the Horse Rock X and says it is .6 miles to Winter Star. If you want to use this as a means of exiting the trail head you will need to understand it will take 4+ hours to make it down to the bottom and only than will you be on the paved part. Take it from me who had that being lost feeling as the sun was going down, only to know you were out of water and had no flashlights.

Also, I will go ahead and tell you the trail is pretty tough. It was 3 friends and myself who are all in pretty good shape, but it's long and doesn't get flat much, so if you are trying to make good time prepare to work hard. The views aren't really that good to the exception of the clearing when you have hiked about 5 miles. If your looking for a great open view of the mountains and good photo opportunities I would find another trail. The good thing is aside from the last view you get, most of the good pictures were taken during the first hour and mile of the trail. I hope this helps and someone is able to avoid what could have been a disastrous night.

One last thing, 3 of my friends had Verizon and I have AT&T. I had service for the first 2-3 hours on the trail but once you get around the 6k elevation mark service is rare for Verizon/AT&T. The dispatcher I talked to that provided me some directions was very surprised I even had service when they pinged my phone for coordinates so make sure your cognizant of that before you start. I hope this helps and happy hiking!

Looking for information about this hike. I am planning a 2 night trip to make it a little easier. Can you camp anywhere of does it have to be at the shelters? Water sources? e-mail me please at keith.filson@att.net

Really good hike! Parked a car on top at Mt Mitchell the night before then started at Bowlens Creek the next morning. First 4 miles is straight up the mountain with little break. The remaining hike had a good mix of elevation change to keep it honest.

Unfortunately, it was quite foggy along the ridge so we didn't get the fall views we would have liked. Really well marked and easy to follow. Started to see a lot more people the closer to Mt Mitchell we got. Took us 7.5 hours and my watch had us at 11.75 miles.

Worst part was having to drive back to Bowlens creek once we finished :(

Just stumbled on this site and wanted to relate a story I've had online for some years about a dog who helped me home along this very strenuous, very rewarding trail. 15 years ago we didn't have Internet resources so I picked this particular weekend's adventure not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into. It was quite the adventure and definitely one for the books.

Nice trail, good views, not a lot of people

Lots of great reviews here, so just a few added tidbits:

Parking on Watershed Road is a now a definitive no-no, so hiking the entire BMC south-bound requires a drop off.

Verizon reception is excellent northbound from the Horse Rock Meadows all the way to Watershed. Therefore, calling a pickup can easily be done while finishing the final northbound miles on the trail.

The hardest southbound ascents are up Potato Hill from Deep Gap, and up Big Tom from Big Tom Gap - the latter is where the climbing ropes are located. These gaps serve as good launching pads for a favorite candy bar before turning on the jets!

That's about it. If I were to recommend a single trail to any hikers unfamiliar with the southern Appalachians, it might very well be this one.....on most days.

I love this hike! It's not easy at all. I just went yesterday 9/13/17 and if you go soon there are a lot of downed trees and debris from recent storms and the trail was very hard to read in some areas. I don't think this trail is well blazed compared to other trails and this is the first trail I ever got lost on but that didn't happen yesterday thank goodness! The view at the top is so worth the climb but this is not a trail for people who don't hike, who barely hike, or who are remotely out of shape. Oh and it's not 9.9 miles, it's 10.6. Like it matters that close but when the weather changes on you and you are cold, wet, and tired...even an extra tenth of a mile seems like a lifetime!

Did this trail near the end of winter in 3 feet of snow. Easily one of the premier trails in North Carolina. Would highly recommend a winter hike if properly equipped as the views with the leaves down are unreal.

Loved this section! We hiked from carvers to Hump and camped there. Then continued on the next day down to 19e. There is a little place for 2 hammocks if your lucky and get there first! Sunset was amazing! Parked our car at Mountain Harbour and they shuttled us up.

7 months ago

Awesome trail for getting to the top of Mt Mitchell. We did it in two days starting at Bowlens Creek (the real way to do it) and it's definitely strenuous. I climbed Mt. Rainier a few weeks ago and did BMC multiple times in preparation for Rainier. Didn't have any problems on Rainier so it's obviously a good training ground for loftier future trips!

7 months ago

Started Friday evening about 6:30 from watershed Rd. Hiked about an hour and a half ( bout 2.5-3 miles in) Thankfully, we decided on the second campsite we saw. We learned in the morning there wasn't another campsite for miles. Continued our hike the next morning at 9 am. Got to deep gap around 2:00. Horseshoe meadow was amazing w butterflies galore! Set up hammocks, dropped off packs, and set out to complete the last half of the trail. It was HARD! Took about 3.5 hours to summit Potato Hill, Cattail, Balsam Cone, Big Tom, & Mt. Craig. Got to Mt. Mitchell around 5:15. Filled up on water, went to the bathroom. There is a little store on top w soda and snacks. I wish we would have brought money, it would have been a nice treat! Turned around and made our way back to deep gap at 5:30. Got to camp around 8:30. We needed water so we made our way to the water source by camp. The water is "close" but it is a STEEP climb, so be ready for it! We heard about the bear activity at deep gap, so we blew the bear horn before going to sleep and hung our food. We didn't have any problems. Left at 9:00 am from deep gap and made it to the car at 2:30. Toughest hike we have completed yet, but very rewarding! I'm still having trouble walking 2 days after!

Great out and back today (just forgot to record the out). Decent ascent on the out, but it made the back pretty easy. Nice apple orchard and rock outcropping (that's where I turned back). Gear up and head out to this trail for a great day-hike!

7 months ago

Great trail. We went from Mt Mitchell to Deep Gap. VERY tough inclines at times, especially hiking out of Deep Gap. Water is hard to find but available from a spring off the Colbert Ridge trail (Less than 100 yards on left).

I live around 800' elevation so starting and hanging out at 6,600' is noticeable (especially on the inclines). We camped right before Deep Gap at an established site next to the trail. Great site but we did get a visit from a bear at 9:30 the next morning (twice). I had just retrieved our bear bag that was properly hung over 150' away. We were talking full volume and packing up everything when we look up, a black bear was standing less than 10' away. He came in quiet as a mouse. Our trash bag was sitting at the site ready to be packed away and the bear snagged it and ran off. He came back 5-10 mins later but ran off as we were leaving. I did make a report the Rangers. They indicated that there was an older juvenile bear in the Deep Gap area that is getting too close to people. Another report from the same weekend said a bear put its head into a tent (with the guy in it).

Don't forget to check out the old plane crash site about a mile from Mt Mitchell. Its on the left and you can see it from the trail and hike down to it. Please remember its a final resting place for the people on board and do not disturb the site.

We hiked to all 3 balds with our 10 & 15 yo. We were sunburned but other than that, awesome place, worth the sunburn, just have to wear a sunscreen next trip.

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