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First thing to note is that this is a different trail than looking glass falls which several people seemed confused about. The only water fall is a very small one near the start. The trail is not steep but the 3 miles out is entirely uphill. The view at the top is definitely worth it though!

My first solo trip. Weather was perfect and the trail lived up to all my expectations. CLockwise and glad I did!

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.

Lovely views, lovely hike. The climb is never steep, just steady and moderate. We hiked up for sunset and soaked in our first Eastern sights of the Milky Way along with a hand-full of meteors from the Perseid shower. Other than a few passers-by, we had the place to ourselves.

Fun hike! Went after a rain storm so the trail was super muddy but not very crowded. Under the rainy/muddy conditions, the trail was more of a moderate hike. Lots of rocks at the end just before the gorgeous falls!

Bunch of knobs on the trail

It is pretty! We went on a Saturday so crowded and it rained, so really muddy! More on the moderate side than easy. Had toddler with us that couldn’t be carried up the last steep rocky portion to the falls. Had view though!

Great workout. Not a scenic “hike”.

We arrived to start the loop on Saturday morning at 5:30 am. Were greeted with overnight lot full sign. There were two parking spots in the overflow area just before the overnight lot. When we walked thru the overnight lot, there was one open spot. When we returned on Tuesday both of those parking areas were full. You might have to check out the other overflow parking area to find a parking spot.
We did the loop CW to West Maroon pass first. We did this because one hiker was not acclimated, and this direction is not as steep. The valley was crowded with hikers and runners up to the pass. The camp sites between West Maroon and Frigid Air are about 1/4 mile off the trail in the trees. There is a stream for water between the trail and campsites.
Thunderstorm started at 6 pm and rained and sleeted for a couple of hours. Intermittent rain thru the night. Only about 800 ft elevation change from camp to Frigid Air pass, a 100 yard section was steep and slick from the rain, so it was a relatively easy morning hike. 2100 ft elevation change downhill into the next valley.
We camped just after the intersection with the Geneva lake trail. Several nice camp sites in the area and water is close at the river.
Third day was a tough one. First 2170 ft elevation change up to Trail Rider pass. 1700 ft elevation change down into the Snowmass lake area. Then 800 ft elevation change up to our next campsite. The area was dry due to the summer conditions, so a lot of streams were dried up. There is water in Snowmass lake but we didn't need water at the time. We didn't really want to pull water out of the swamp, though the beaver dam was busted and it was flowing. At the campsites halfway up to Buckskin pass, there were two good streams for water.
Fourth day another roughly 800 ft elevation change to Buckskin pass, then close to 3000 ft downhill to the parking lot.
Outside of the main valley the trail was not crowded. Beautiful flowers, lakes and mountain scenery. Lots of animals, pikas, marmots, deer and a mountain goat guarding Buckskin pass.
Doing the trail in the CW direction was right of us, so the unacclimated hiker was able to make it. But it does make the last half of the hike the hard section. If you are a flatlander and live at low elevation like me, I do recommend spending a 3 or 4 days to acclimate before doing high altitude hiking.

Loved the scenic trail and the destination is breathtaking! Hike is very strenuous but worth it in the end!

Pretty neat!

hiking
6 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.

Beautiful scenic hike. Waterfall at top is gorgeous. Many areas of the trail were very muddy.

Wonderful!!!! Lots of falls, lots of shade. Easy hike and lots of places to stop and enjoy the water. Go up the ropes— you won’t regret it! Just stick nearest to the water once you’re up past marker 3 so you don’t get lost!

Doing this loop at the end of the week and was wondering if bear canisters were required.

Did it CCW......Was a very hard brutal and at times scary climb to a couple of the passes. Fridge Air was steep as hell and very loose rock for this 67 year old man we had great weather not sure I could do it in rough weather wind and rain you know...would slide right off. 4 days 3 night .....but loved it and may do it again CW

Great trail. Easy for kids. Beautiful falls with lots of areas to get your feet wet or take a little dip. Very crowded. Will try to go during the week next time.

Hard work but the view makes it worth it! Lots of water on the trail causing frequent mud puddles.

This trail is fantastic. Easy walk up with a few points of interest and the view at the end is breathtaking. No wonder the trailhead is ALWAYS packed.

This was one of several hikes I’ve taken during two consecutive summers of visiting these mountains and this trail is by far my favorite! The trail is relatively flat until the last 3/4 of a mile, but even the steepest parts were manageable. The whole trail offers beautiful views or surrounding peaks, with the best views coming from the top of shining rock itself. I’m an extreme novice hiker and not at all in great shape but I loved this hike and did not consider to be difficult.

Great hike with fantastic views at the top. A very popular trail so expect lots of company and to be parking on the side of the road since the parking lot will most likely be full. The trail is very well maintained. I would describe it as a moderate hike since all of the switchbacks make the ascent very managable.

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.

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.

Great hike with beautiful views of the waterfalls.

This was my first solo backpacking trip. I completed the loop counterclockwise, and I did it in three days. It was challenging but so beautiful. This trail includes wildflowers, lakes, and everything in between. If you are new to backpacking, I would recommend only doing part of the loop versus the whole thing. You can still see some beautiful scenery!

Completed a backpacking trip on this trail in late July - trail was diverse, views were amazing, but the reviews that mention the lack of markings are definitely not lying. Downloaded the AllTrails map but would not recommend trying to tackle Shining Rock without a paper map of Pisgah. Footing tricky in places but overall a moderate trail that delivers in all the important ways.

Amazing trail. Challenging with gorgeous scenery. Be sure to arrive at your campsite early enough to grab a good spot. Some spots like The Basin and Snowmass Lake filled up quickly.

hiking
15 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.

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