Explore the most popular forest trails in Mount Mitchell State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

Great hike! I found Plenty of water on the trail(or a short distance off the trail). I started at bowlers creek which I found to be decent sized with pools big enough for a quick dip about waist deep. The only down fall is the amount of hikers and tourist you encounter as you get closer to MT Mitchell. I’d love to do it again in the winter possibly.

Most amazing view in North Carolina! I went a few months back in February and was not disappointed! It was windy and cold the day my family went but on the trail there was plenty of shielding from trees and bushes and once at the top it was warm anyway. During the winter months there is close to no traffic at all we saw two other people and that was it. Moderate trail would no doubt hike again!

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!

6 days ago

We hiked this on a cloudy day, so the top out at the summit was disappointing. However the hike is nice enough. Too many 4 and 5 stars for this, though, I think. Also, it is not easy, I would say moderate to strenuous - the last mile is straight up Mitchell, over lots of boulders and roots, it's basically a stairclimber through a beautiful cedar and spruce forest. The Commissary is 1.2, then camp Alice and Mitchell portions are about 1.1 to 1.4 to the summit, and is very strenuous. It's an OK hike. Better than Mt Pisgah trail for sure. There are lots of pretty wildflowers. If it is cloudy, it's a 3, if it's clear, it's a 4.5 for the views.

6 days ago

Short loop through high elevation pine forest. Lots of interpretive signs tell about the unusual plants, algae, and fungi that grow up here. Some rocks and roots in the treadway, but far easier than most of the other trails on Mt. Mitchell. Provides a nice, less crowded, alternate route back to the parking lot after you have visited the summit of Mt. Mitchell.

trail running
9 days ago

I only did 6 miles (RT). I started at the Walker Knob overlook, off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take path to the Left that points in the direction of Big Butt. You will be on Big Butt Trail. In 6 miles (RT), you can ascend and descend Pt. Misery (no view), and climb to Little Butt Overlook. There is a rock outcropping with a view here. I kept going pass Little Butt overlook for another half-mile. The trail is a bit less well-maintained after Little Butt, but still very obvious for the additional half-mile that I took. When I got to 3 miles, I turned around and returned to parking lot. Nice trail. Enjoyed the hike. Ran for much of it. Do this is you want a great walk in the woods. Trail has lots of steps--see photos.

I hiked this in 2 days. Water is available at Deep gap but you have to hunt for it Down an old access road. it makes no sense that the description of this trail on this site says it features a river......Bolens creek is not a river. The biggest feature is the black mountain crest...... the 6, 6000+ft peaks you have to climb.

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).

Great views along this trail.

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.

beautiful, short walk, great for kids

17 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

19 days ago

Enjoyed the trail but the map is a little misleading. Reading the route with a CCW loop, only the first 1.8 miles is Commissary. After that the trail difficulty is medium/hard as you hike the Mount Mitchell Trail until it joins the Balsam Nature Trail, right near the summit. You cross the Summit Trail and then are on the Old Mitchell Trail until it meets the Camp Alice Trail. Camp Alice is a .5 mile steep descent along a rocky and rooted trail. It ends at the 1 mile to go point for Commissary as you make your way back to the Commissary trailhead. Commissary itself is a wide gravel trail that is easy to hike. No fee for the trail. Restrooms at the trailhead visitor center. And, only 12 parking spots. There's a restaurant about .2 miles up the road and there's a snack bar at the summit.

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.

20 days ago

Loved the walk thru semi dense woods. Found unexpectedly and didn’t have much time. It was easy, short but still not for everyone. A lot of zig and zags, steps and rocks. Beautiful!

Non stop push, and then there is more if you want to keep going on along the crest. Amazing viewpoint about halfway up. A few small campsites before you reach deep gap. Signs up of recent bear activity at deep gap, I didn't see any. Rocks make it pretty technical toward the top of the ridge. Water source around midway was flowing but cant guarantee in dry conditions. Rhododendrons in bloom, moist conditions had the newts and salamanders active. Got hammered by a heavy downpour about 2.5 miles up, trail was still manageable. Don't expect much better time than about 2 miles an hour at best. Past 5500' you can feel the temps drop. This climb will keep your eyes straight down and heart rate up. Not a beginner trail so come ready.

My first real hike. Beast, grueling, unbelievable views, beautiful trail, and would do it all over again!

25 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!

Love this little place... been several times now ...

27 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.

Wow! That was a challenging hike for me to do alone! The beattles at the top are annoying though.

Great hike but challenging both going up and back down.

Did the loop. Nice walk. Some people might have an issue with crawling over the rocks on the top. Views are great.

Didn’t make it to Mount Mitchell Road. Map for trail is way off at that end. I went from the other end and found we had turned around 0.1 of a mile from the end. So add 0.2 of a mile to the 9.5 that we did and this is a 9.7 mile trek. Be prepared it is really steep on both ends and rocky on the Mount Mitchell end.

Nice trail. Trail spends most of the time on the ridge with nice views. Did not see the Cessna skeleton that was mentioned in another’s post , but could be because of all the greenery. Got caught in a little rain storm, but it fizzled out pretty quick.

Beautiful views at the top

1 month ago

Well the stories are true. Hard trail to climb due to roots and rocks. It starts out hard and steep. You have to watch every step too. Beautiful trail and I loved the climb. No real view until the top but power lines areas. I have done a lots of hiking over the years this is a fun but challenging hike. There is not to many flat spots on this trail almost always going up from Black Mountain Campgrounds. At 5.6 miles is doable for the average person.

Rated as most difficult and lived up to ranking.

1 month ago

Green everywhere! One of my favorite trails any time of year, except winter. Can be icy and muddy in the Spring so wear shoes with good traction. Short trail to/from parking lot at Mt. Mitchell to/from the summit trail and outlook.

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