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Not short or easy but it’s gorgeous and worth the effort

Loved this hike!!! We hiked on 8/12. We went up Lake Arnold Trail and down around Lake Colden/ Avalanche pass. I actually think this is the best way to do the hike (though as someone whose knees generally start hurting coming down- I get why people are recommending the reverse). There were a lot of steep slabs and some of the hikers we met commented on how it was hard for them coming up. The hike was ~16.2 miles to and from Adirondack Loj. We stopped for about an hour total between the summit and Lake Colden. Very beautiful. The water on Lake Colden perfectly reflected the sky. Took us 9 hours total. This was one of my favorite high peaks (I’ve done 24 now) mainly because of the incredible summit views and hiking along the Matilda’s.

13/10 would do this hike again, though not with my dog again.

This hike was amazing. Definitely agree with previous reviewers to do this loop counter clockwise, I wouldn't have wanted to go down the mountain on the Lake Colden side. Not an easy hike by any means, but the views were absolutely beautiful.

That being said, I would STRONGLY advise against doing this hike with your dog, at least if you have a larger dog. There are a lot of ladders that are practically impossible for a dog to traverse on the path around Avalanche Lake, but those are doable. The worst one was at the top of Mount Colden, over 10' high with no way for a dog to travel around it. My advise would be to do an out and back on the Lake Arnold side of Mount Colden if you'd like to bring your dog.

This was a nice hike! Overall, it wasn't as hard as we thought it would be, but it was definitely challenging. It had rained a lot the night before we hiked and the trail was extremely muddy and wet, with water running down the trail in a stream at some points. I think we could have done it a bit faster if not for that. The trail surface is definitely rocky and rooty, and I would highly highly advise hiking boots. We started at 6:45am, summited at 10:30am, left the top at 11am, and finished around 2pm. It was cloudy at the top with pretty much no views, oh well. More about the journey for this one. We were the first hikers of the day to summit and encountered about 30 people on the way back down, about half of which were backpacking and half of which were day hiking. Other notes: it's definitely longer than 10.4 miles if you start at the parking lot and end at the top of the observation tower. By our estimates/GPSes, over 11 miles. Also, there are a few switchbacks on the trail that you could miss if you weren't paying attention. We encountered a group of people who were lost on a false trail and we almost went down the wrong one once.

This was so much fun all around.

Mount Sasquatch was a treat. We ran out of candy corn as we reached the peak which was very sad. We met the Sasquatch and he told us in reality he was a yeti. That’s fine. Not as cool. He offered us more candy corn in his white van and we gladly accepted. Great hike for anyone who likes to look at objects, preferably trees or rocks.

hiking
8 days ago

Made an over night loop of this trail and a few others. The Mount Mitchell trail is fine, plenty of water sources, really gradual pace to the top and well traveled. The summit was crowed but pretty much what you would expect if you've seen mountains before. The rest of the trails are where this place shines. Every thousand feet the surrounding radically changed from mossy woods, to pine forests and dense brush. The Pisgah is always rewarding.

Challenging hike with lots of rocks and roots. Dense forest most of the way and good views at the top if you get a clear day (hit or miss). Was heavily trafficked at the top by people who drove up. For us, it was a do it just to check the box hike but not the most beautiful or rewarding we have done. 3.5 hours up and 2.5 down. Early morning start (7am) meant cool temps throughout but still very humid in July. Cool that it's the highest peak East of the Mississippi.

Be ready for plenty of roots and rock on this trail. There are a few outlooks but the power lines spoil some of the best views.There is a nice creek near the half way point and a few more near the four mile mark. The forestry young men and women are doing a wonderful job on trail maintenance. Having make this hike 30 times I can tell you it can be a challenge but well worth it.

Amazing hike and breathtaking view at avalanche lake! Very rock scramble-y and rough terrain the last mile or so. The maltidas are awesome and all the trail build-ups like ramps and ladders are well maintained. Now my fave hike I’ve done in adk! There are places you can easily access swimming and in aug it’s not too cold! Took me and my 60 yo dad ~ 8 hrs

Well. We had Mount Mitchell on our bucket list for a while and decided to tackle it around New Years 2018. It was a challenge for sure as much of the trail was iced over and we made good use of the spikes on our trekking poles. Several times we had to cut a new path around the ice and we fell and slid couple of times in dramatic fashion, which was nice to add to our story when we shared the tale of our adventure with amazed friends and family. This hike started as a fun adventure because of the road down to the trail head, the beautiful stream, and nicely packed trail at the beginning. The fun soon faded though as the views never changed and those we did enjoy included power lines. Perhaps we are just spoiled hiking snobs! We read reviews that described this hike as technical but didn't appreciate the validity of that until we were on it and realized that this is a hike you do to DO, not to SEE. Your hiking skills will be tested as you navigate roots, ice (in winter), and sometimes vertical climbs. As you approach the summit, there are signs that teach you about the area and you go through some beautiful forested areas. Emerging from the trail onto the tourist sidewalk was humbling. As we struggled to eat our lunch with frozen hands and melt the water in our bottles, we forlornly watched warm travelers return to their cars, knowing what lay ahead of us on the descent. About three miles from the end, we began singing, "this is the trail that does not end...." Seeing the bridge over the stream at the end felt great, and as we climbed into our car and blasted the heater, we agreed it felt good to have a check mark next to Mount Mitchell, we felt awesome for having done it in freezing temps over ice, and that we did not feel the need to do it again. Hot soup, homemade bread, and a thick beer back at the cabin were much appreciated and we enjoy knowing that we did it.

A solid day with solid mountains. Gray has lookouts on a Boulder but plan to spend your time hanging out on Skylight and Marcy, two of the best summits around. Long walk in to the Marcy trail but once you get there it’s not long before you’re taking the herd path to gray, and at that point you’ll summit all 3 in just a couple hours as that point a lot of the leg work is done. The bog on lake Arnold trail with floating logs was atrocious to cross and of course both shoes were soaked. If doing this loop I’d recommend bringing flip flops/Crocs/etc in your pack for this section of the trail. Just take off the boots and switch to sandals. Other than that section of the trail this hike was great.

Gorgeous moderate hike. If you are looking for views this is a great pick. The trail is moderate and offers nice portions that are great for trail running. There are also many nice little overlooks so you can find your own spot to relax and take in the views.

hiking
17 days ago

Beautiful dense forest scenery is the majority of this hike, a few views along the power lines at different points of the ascent, still pretty in my opinion but no denying the best views aren’t until the summit. Challenging hike.

This was not an easy hike, but absolutely worth it. Getting to Avalanche Lake was pretty easy going and it is so gorgeous. Even saw a couple of people scaling the rock face of Mt Colden! Got to the end of the trail and decided I wanted to go ahead and do Mt Colden. The climb on this side (south) was a lot of climbing straight rock face. Not horrible, but very precarious since there is water running down most of it and it is a steep angle for most of it... so much so that they have built stairs on a handful of sections. Towards the top of that climb, I could really feel the elevation starting to affect my breathing, had to take breaks more often, but otherwise fine.

The final scrabble near the top is straight rock face which, in parts, has no foliage on the down side of the mountain; one of the only climbs I have done where I was a bit worried about sliding off. No problems though. The view at the top... there are really no words... you just have to see it... pictures don’t even do it justice. It was clear when I got up there and you can see for miles in most directions.

Climb down was much less steep and followed a river bed for a good bit, making you rock jump (which is hard after you just climbed ~2000 feet). Lots of water on the way, so plenty of places to cool off and refill, including one waterfall with a good size pool under it just off the path (on the left just before the Lake Arnold Trail veers to the left, so keep your ears open as you can barely see it from the trail).

Incredible hike. One of the most serene but strenuous hikes I’ve done thus far. If you want something that’s challenging but doable in a FULL day this is it. Took me about 5.5 hours to do the whole thing out and back on the blue diamond trail. I’m young and an avid hiker but still not in the best shape so go for it if you think you can. 4 stars because I absolutely loved the hike up and some of the views on the way up (besides the power lines) but if you are going for the summit view, I recommend passing on this trek. Absolutely not worth going into this over crowded tourist spot where you walk into a parking lot. The decent was more tough in my opinion just because you were so focused on dodging roots and rocks. Overall, do it for the hike, not the view.

Having hiked Marcy multiple times in the past I decided to do Skylight and Gray as an out-and-back, sunset hike from the LOJ via Lake Arnold trail. It had rained heavily the past 3 days so I was a bit concerned about going through the floating bridges area near Feldspar after dark. Yep... I was soaked up past the knee-both times. It may have been due to the recent rainfall but the water level even while on the bridges was deeper than 2.5 feet at times. Easy enough to find your way through it, just know you are going to get wet and (though I didn't use them) trekking poles would probably help.

I was on Gray during sunset and made it to Skylight just before the sun disappeared behind the MacIntyre Range. Sitting on top of Skylight by myself after 9:30pm as the stars came out was a magical experience.

The last 9+ miles back to the LOJ were in darkness. Eerily silent between Feldspar and Lake Arnold- no wind due to the surrounding mountains, no toads, no bugs, no birds, no streams- it was a natural deadzone. I turned off my headlamp at one point just to experience it with all senses and the silence was almost deafening.

I did not see any hikers out on the trails past 7pm (near Lake Arnold and they were descending quickly). Was nice to have what would normally be a busy trail to myself at sunset. It didn't start to rain on me until 1:45 am which was about 15 mins before finishing.

My wife and I are training for a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike and there aren't too many places in the southeast to replicate the elevation change of that hike. For that reason we started at the top of the Mount Mitchell Trail and hiked it from the top down, rather than starting at the Black Mountain Campground as described in the trail summary. This is a genuinely strenuous hike and fairly technical in spots. Rocks and roots require you to keep your eyes on the trail most of the time, especially on the descent. While there are virtually no long range views, the beauty and serenity of the forest through which you are hiking are sufficient to make this an enjoyable experience. The hike back up the mountain is difficult, to say the least, at nearly 4,000 feet gained in about 5.5 miles. We decided to push the pace due to impending darkness and made it back up in the same three hours it took to descend. Next time we will definitely leave earlier and take our time on the ascent. This hike, starting and finishing at the highest spot east of the Mississippi, gave us a great indication of our fitness level for the Grand Canyon hike. We saw numerous younger folks hiking without trekking poles. I highly recommend them for those of us with 60+ year old knees.

30 hikes from Black Mountain Campground and back so far. I would like to thank the forest service workers for their excellent maintain of this trail. The scenery would be much better from the lookout spots if it wasn't for the power lines. You will find at least two decent water sources unless you take the side trail to Higgins Bald where you will find a creek crossing the trail. Be aware that you will go through a area where there is poison oak on both sides of the trail. Wear decent hiking shoes or boots because much of the trail will be roots and rocks.

We did both Avalanche Lake and Colden Lake. It took 7 hours with stops and around 21 km.
Awesome trail! Beautiful moss cliffs just before the Avalanche Lake. Fantastic lake vies and a path along it. Though it is very cold to swim and there are a lot of mosquitos and black flies. Colden Lake is not so beautiful. If you want to take photos of Avalanche Lake, you'd better do it in the morning because afternoon it is too shadowy.

hiking
26 days ago

Quick hike, rocky. Went counterclockwise, poles for the descent are handy. Lovely view from top.

Standard southeast forest trail to the top. Great views. Go on a clear day.

Just did an overnight hike on Mt. Mitchell trail a few days ago. We started at the black mountain campground. The weather was gloomy for most of the day but in my opinion perfect because the sun wasn’t beating down on us all day. When we got towards the top it started to clear up and the sun came out. Definitely a difficult hike, but worth every minute and every pain. We stopped at the top for about an hour to take pictures, grab snacks, and check out the gift shop. Was a little bit annoying to see people that drove up there buying memorabilia for a summit they didn’t conquer.... but to each their own I guess. After our break we headed back down to commissary hill to set up camp. Quite a lot of people camp there but there’s plenty of room and a good water source 2 minutes from the area. Unfortunately, it rained all night so we couldn’t set up a fire or hangout outside. Next morning we hiked back down and there’s a river at the end which was so nice to get into a soak my sore feet and cool off for a bit. Anyways a couple lessons learned for me as this was my first overnight hike and first difficult hike. I had plenty of snacks but I wish I would’ve brought sandwiches for the summit, I don’t know why but a sandwich would’ve been so nice. About 30 min into the hike my left knee started to ache with every step, thank god for all the walking sticks people left at the trailhead. I had one the entire way which relieved some pressure but I’m definitely looking into getting some trekking poles for next time. I also will start carrying some icy hot or tiger balm for muscle aches. I was carrying ibuprofen which helped some. I didn’t have hiking shoes, but I wore my military work boots which were just as good as far as grip goes but too heavy. I invested in some salomon pathfinders the day after we got back from the trip. My pack was way too big. I didn’t take the time to look for a good pack that would fit for me, I just bought off of facebook marketplace. Don’t get me wrong, the pack I got is quality, just not right for my size. It treated me well on the trail I just think a smaller pack would have my back feeling a little less strained. All in all, amazing hike. The overnight parking is just before the bridge that leads to the campground. You will lose service going out there so I suggest using a paper map or downloading the map on your phone so you can still use it when offline.

I did this loop counter clockwise starting with Lower Wolf Jaw. I left the road at the first sign/bridge and hiked the woods. Very nice hike. Trip down Sawteeth is steep and covered with shredded leaves (like someone dumped lawn bags all over the place. Low traction slipped and went down twice.

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!

Chose to do the Avalanche Lake/Lake Arnold loop counterclockwise. Would not want to do it the other way with that steep part. Trails were dry, no bugs. Clear skies, great views of Algonquin, etc. to the West and Marcy, Giant, etc to the Southeast. We did miss the turn left/up from the lake (the sigh is high and pointed the other way) and had to backtrack a bit.

Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world, so you should listen to him
The hike was ok

5 of us including an 11 and 13 year old did this hike 2 days ago. It took us 8 hours and 45 minutes with quite a few breaks and a longer stop on the peak.
Hike was quite easy aside from the ascent from avalanche lake to the summit of Mount Colden which is rocky and steep.
Was very glad to have done the hike counterclockwise as this would have been a treacherous descent.
The hike around avalanche lake was fantastic with ladders, and hitch up Mathilda’s - fun for all.
Doing an out and back to mount Colden via Lake Arnold would be easier and a bit shorter but not nearly as interesting or fun.
This was a fantastic hike - one of my favourites in ADKs.

Some deer flies but a great day. Beautiful views.

Beautiful view from the ledge panther mountain has one good view. Hiked through to fox hollow steep and long 10.5 miles.

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