Explore the most popular hiking 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.

Great trail! Steep for half of it but well worth it at the top.

This is strenuous and challenging trail. I took this trail and yes it was rocky and wet at many places. One just has to be cautious and take your time to get around some area's of the trail. I did enjoy the hike and the challenges it presented. I also took part of Camp Alice trail to the Commissary Trail. Camp Allice trail is also wet and strenuous. Hikers need to be careful on where to step due to the slippery surfaces. The Commissary Trail is a gravel road that gave me a breather from Camp Alice Trail.

hiking
4 days ago

My bf and I stayed at Albert's lodge in Burnsville NC, which has a great view of Mt Mitchell. The night before I was definitely intimidated by the mountain, but I conquered it. I was mostly afraid we would run into a bear, so I carried bear spray. I did not see any bear, only a lot of chipmunks and squirrels. We took the Mt Mitchell trail from the black mountain campgrounds. We got there at 7am to be sure we had a parking spot. Almost immediately we were joined by a group of 4 other hikers. The trail consisted of a lot of roots, rocks, man made steps and a ton of switch backs.. I was thankful for the switchbacks because it gave us a chance to catch our breath. We got to the top about 11:40am. So it took us 4 hrs and 40 mins and I usually walk 21 min mile on flat ground.. We climbed 2,759 ft in elevation on this trail. I would definitely recommend bringing plenty of water and a flashlight. I hear on the way down the woods can get pretty dark in the afternoon hours. We had pre-arranged to get a ride down from the Yancey County Shuttle van. They require 48 hours notice I believe. They were there on time, despite there being a bike race finish line at the top impeding traffic. The driver was a very nice man and we are glad we took the ride down, because there were afternoon thunderstorms. They had great bathrooms up at the top but I was disappointed that the gift shop was not open on this Monday (prob cuz of bike race) and is not open on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

One of my favorite hikes of all time

Just did it may 2018. Trails in great shape, worth the price of admission (hard hike)

I've been able to complete most of this trail 2 times and while the views on the way up are slightly obstructed, you cannot beat the experience in terms of terrain, ecosystem changes as you move further up the trail, and the remoteness mid-mountain. Awesome experience!

trail running
14 days ago

This can be a very tough trail. It's actually a bit over 12 miles. Its not too hard if you go from Mt Mitchell to Bowlens. If you start from Mt Mitchell and then come back up to Mt Mitchell, then the trail becomes very tough. There's suppose to be water at Deep Gap but I didn't find any.

hiking
16 days ago

Gorgeous views. Easy access to Black Mountain Crest trail if you wanna add a bit on.

The views are worth all the pain! I will start by saying our experience is much different than the other reviews because we completed the 18.1 mile loop in one day. It is possible, but very grueling. For reference, we did this hike on May 3 and it took us 10.5 hours.

We started at the Colbert’s trail head and headed on up to the crest. The first time you get some views is about 2 miles into the hike. Once at the crest, you will have views on either side so it is well worth it!! The trail is well maintained but it’s TOUGH. We were stopping every mile for water breaks.

Make sure you have enough water because the only water you will come across the entire 18 Miles are small streams. The water fountains at Mitchell were not operational, so don’t count on them.

Be very aware of black bears. I would recommend bear spray at a minimum because we did have an encounter with a momma and her cub. She was NOT pleased to see us and charged - just make loud noises the whole time and they should try to avoid you.

It took us 6 hours to hike the 8 miles to the parking lot on Mt Mitchell, and I would do that hike again and again. Going down is not as fun. You use the buncombe horse trail which is flat with not a lot of views. Then the switch backs start and your knees and feet will hate you. (This is also when we ran into the bear so I was ready to get back to our car!)

Overall, this was an awesome hike and very rewarding. I’d recommend it for individuals in good shape with hiking experience. Not for those looking for a leisurely stroll!!! :) My husband and I both agreed we would absolutely camp next time.

On dogs, we brought our lab and she had a blast, but she is very active and we brought LOTS of water for her, so think hard on whether your pup could complete a 10.5 hour walk.

I absolutely loved this trail. The creeks are awesome and the campgrounds along the trail are very nice and allow for a lot of exploring. As someone who is out of shape, it took me 3 hours up and 2 hours down. Definitely is tough on the hamstrings, but amazing hike overall.

Great hike.

trail running
28 days ago

Steep but plenty of fresh water sources to filter. Nice views

Pavement will be under your feet the entire way. The distance, according to a sign at the end of the parking lot, is 275 yards to the top. The view was great April 28, 2018 because of no fog or cloud cover unlike when I hiked the Mt. Mitchell trail a few years ago. I did this one because my son is too young to do the hard trail and I wanted him to stand on the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. The only reason I gave it a four star rating is because it's more of a walk and not a hike.

I did this just to say I hiked Mount Mitchell. Its a decently physical trip both up and down but not the hardest by any means. Overall the trip was just blah for me. Won’t ever do it again unless someone asks me too.

My husband, son, our german shepherd and I hiked this Easter day (as a challenge by our 18 yr old!). I'm not going to lie - it was hard! But definitely doable - and oh so rewarding! We did it in a little under 7 hours (4 up and 3 down). I used my trekking poles on the way down to help out my 51 year old knees. The hardest, but most rewarding hike I've done!

hiking
1 month ago

Our favorite short hike in WNC - takes about 20 minutes. Lots of shade through this coniferous forest. Start at either the lower parking lot or near the Mount Mitchell summit just on the left as you pass the small education building.

Decided on a whim to go hike this trail. Started at Bolen's Creek a little after sunrise and planned to go to Mt. Mitchell and back before dark. Success! Got the round trip in 11 hours 20 minutes. The first few miles were like an old road bed or four-wheeler track, for about an hour or so. Fairly steep for an old road and lots of loose rocks, so watch your footing. When I got to Celo Knob, I bushwacked to the top in an attempt to find the USGS marker, but couldn't find it after about 20 minutes of searching. Thankfully after this the trail got some variety to it, with more undulating singletrack trail. There are several steep descents going into the gaps, so again just be careful- it's a long way back if you get hurt. Saw some super cool changes in scenery and all sorts of stuff you just don't normally see around these parts. Got to the top by 12:30, ate some lunch and aired out the feet, then headed back down. Made faster time coming down, for sure, though I did stop to bushwack to the top of Gibbs Mountain. Didn't find a USGS marker, but I did find a pile of rocks on top! Considering I didn't really prepare for this hike, I think it went fine. I started with all the water I'd need for the day, about 8 liters, and drank it all. I think if you had a small filter like the Sawyer Squeeze and a bandanna as a prefilter, you could start the hike with as little as 2 or 3 liters and be good on water. Coming back down, my knees took a beating! Going back down those last few miles of old road bed was pretty close to torture. I'll come back again after I get my joints conditioned a little more. Highly recommend this trail as a round trip day hike to people who are used to hiking at least 15-20 miles.

hiking
1 month ago

We started at the Blue Ridge Parkway turnoff for Walkers Overlook. Bit confusing as no actual overlook, just trees. Trail was well marked, one place a tree had fallen but after a second we found a trodden route around. Perfectly spaced, new-looking stairs. We stopped at the summit of Big Butt as another reviewer explained, the path was marked with pink blazes and clear. The trip back was a lot easier than the way up except for going up Misery Point which we counted only 8 switchbacks after preparing mentally for 10, so not too bad. Only saw one other person on a Friday. Good workout on the hills and amazing clear day with long views through mostly bare trees, birds circling, and early spring flowers.

Great trail, plus a great workout. Starting out from Black Mountain campground you begin the uphill battle almost immediately and it doesn't stop until you're at the summit. The views up top are worth every bit of it though. Well earned.

Located at MP349.9 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, there is a winding park road that will lead you up to a large parking area within a very short walk to the top. The weather at the summit is significantly colder than at lower elevations so bring a jacket. The cement trail to the summit (ADA accessible) is pretty steep but leads to the observation area that affords a 360* panorama and has detailed signs at the north, east, south, and west faces showing the names of all of the distant peaks. The grave of Elisha Mitchell, who surveyed the mountain, is displayed right in front of the observation platform and is composed of the same ornamental stonework. This is an excellent place to visit when traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway and is great for children.

Hiked old Mitchell and Camp Alice. I thought it was pretty strenuous but I am also not in very good shape plus I have knee problems. Not just a straight up hill climb, lots of ups and downs and rocks to climb over. There was a fair amount of ice on the trail although that is not what made it treacherous at times. I slipped and fell in the mud at least three times, may have been my bad shoes but I feel like the mud was deceptively slippery.I found coming back up the Camp Alice trail to be the most strenuous. Camp Alice ends with a lovely mountain stream with a small water fall.
The view at the summit was amazing, and it was a super clear day! I would definitely do it again!

hiking
1 month ago

What a great hike with my brother! We started from Black Mountain Campground around 9:30 and found ourselves up near the summit at Commissary Primitive Campgrounds around 12 or so. Unpacked some heavy gear and was up to the summit by 1:30 or so. Lots of natural springs, several creek crossings. Lots of switchbacks and steps. We certainly had to catch our breath and rest the legs a couple of times! The last half mile is an amazing micro-climate spruce and fraiser fir forest thats blanketed with moss and awesome boulders. It’s a strenuous hike that you follow the well blazed blue diamonds to the top. Keep pushing because it’s worth it at the end! Bring plenty of water and a protein snack because those muscles will be burning for some extra juice and hydration. A couple of springs along the way to top off water and several views on the way up. Like nothing we’ve seen before hiking in NC. Certainly a one of a kind atmosphere/terrain especially near the top.

backpacking
1 month ago

This trail is pretty brutal but it serves its purpose to get you to the crest. It's relentlessly uphill and steep with few breaks. I would not recommend this trail unless you're attempting to get to the crest to either do a loop around and come back down Buncomb Horse Trail or doing a point to point. Doing an out and back of this trail would be pretty boring since there are only 2-3 overlooks that aren't as good as other trails. If you're carrying backpacks, this trail will make you question your life choices and make you wish you splurged for lighter gear.

Great trail. First and last 4 miles were most difficult.

This was a great trip. We did it backwards as well and went up Colbert Creek the first day, camped at Deep Gap, went to the Mt. Mitchell Summit and then to Maple Camp the second day and down Buncombe Horse Trail the third day.

The first day up Colbert Creek took about 4 hours to get to Deep Gap. Only encountered one other person on the trail who was coming down. Water is scarce until you get near the top. IF YOU ARE CAMPING ON THE CREST, FILL UP EVERY BIT OF WATER YOU CAN AT THE CREEK 0.5-.75 miles from the top. There is a decently flowing stream but once you reach the crest, there is no water all the way to Mt. Mitchell summit that we saw, and they don't have the water turned on at the summit until May. We camped in a little open area that overlooks both sides of the mountain. It was awesome to see the sunset and sunrise without moving, but you pay for it with insane amounts of wind. We thought our two person dome tent was going to collapse, but thankfully it held strong.

The next morning we headed towards Mt. Mitchell summit. The crest trail has some really cool forest areas as well as a couple places where you can see for miles on both sides. It is still a half day of climbing up hill most of the way so it can get a bit tiring after a while, but the views are worth it. After getting to Mt. Mitchell we deviated a bit from this exact hike and went down the Old Mt. Mitchell Trail then intersected with the Camp Alice trail. The park ranger told us there was a definite water source at the end of the Camp Alice connector. There was a decent flowing stream there and we filled up for the rest of the day. Going towards Maple Camp was a much easier hike. Was a bit soggy in places but overall a welcome change of mostly flat and grassy. We camped the second night at Maple Camp. The views are AMAZING. Once again it was crazy windy but worth it.

The third day was an easy hike down the rest of the Buncombe Horse Trail and back to the Colbert creek trail head where we started. This hike was a great trip with amazing views after the first day. In order to camp at the best places, make sure to have a tent that can handle extreme wind gusts!

backpacking
1 month ago

Absolutely incredible hike. Best I've ever been on. We went Bolens Creek to Deep Gap and back.

Parking is available off Water Shed road across from the cemetery. Do not park on Water Shed road.

The first 5 miles you gain over 3,000ft in elevation with no views until you reach the top. If you do not know what that's like, it's like hell. You will only make it to Celo Knob (the top) if you are in good physical shape. The ground is littered with quartz, rose quartz and mica. Our boots looked like they had been sprinkled with fairy dust after the first 5 miles to the junction of the Celo Knob trail.

We took a detour at this point up the Celo Knob trail about a half mile up to the CK summit. The side trail was not very well maintained and we could not find the USGS seal. I wouldn't recommend this detour as the views are better from the CK/BMCT junction.

Beginning at 5.0 miles, you're in a meadow with 360 degree views from about 6,000 ft and it is incredible for about 2 miles passing Horse Rock.

Around mile 7 you really start to realize you're in Canada. As the trail winds past Gibbs Mountain and on to Winter Star you begin seeing the craziest types of moss consuming the trees and quartz boulders around you. It snows 12 months a year at this altitude and the forest is unlike anything you will find south of Michigan. Spruce and Evergreen trees thrive here.

Once you begin climbing Winter Star mountain you really start having to work for it. Grabbing hold of moss covered roots, finding footholds in exposed quartz, the climb is steep and jungle-like. Then you emerge at the summit with the USGS summit seal in plain view.

Coming down Winter Star you descend into Deep Gap. They've had some recent bear encounters in the area and signs are posted. We had no issues after taking the proper precautions.

We did this hike in 3 days, 2 nights. The second night we spent on Winter Star mountain with torrential rain and 30+ mph gusts which our 3-day forecast did not predict. The weather is notoriously unpredictable at this altitude. We were prepared and stayed warm and dry throughout the night but I also make the best hammock shelters my side of the Mississippi. Be prepared for changes in the weather pattern. Do not rely solely on a forecast. Also, you should probably not camp on Winter Star. We had to harvest icicles for water. Camp in Deep Gap where there is a fresh spring not far; about 1000ft down the Colbert Ridge trail which is beautifully marked in a clearing.

Fairy dust, HUGE quartz and mica deposits, a Canadian ecosystem, emaculant views of Appalachia, moss covered jungles, Bob cats, potentially black bears, mountain summits, 6,000 ft meadows, and fresh water springs are what you can expect to see on this amazing one of a kind hike- that is.... if you can make the first 5 miles.

Happy hiking!

Our Boy Scout Troop 124 out of Clayton NC hiked this trail this past Thursday afternoon 05-Apr-18 as one of our shakedown / training hikes for our upcoming Philmont NM Trek. It is a very hard trail with a 45lb. pack so be prepared for a very technical and strenuous hike. We camped at Commissary primitive campsite 4 Miles in just 1 Mile from the summit. There is a nice natural spring there to replenish your water. We finished the hike Friday morning on our way to the Black Mountain Crest Trail to Deep Gap and finish our hike on the Colbert Ridge Trail descent to Carolina Hemlock CG.

My first time to hike the Old Mitchell Trail yesterday. Too technical for me to run, but a beautiful hike at a slower pace. The summit was spectacular

Will definitely be hiking this again. Very windy, but overall awesome trail and views.

Just did this hike in reverse over 3 days. Camping at Big Gap and Maple Camp Bald. I suggest going up Colbert Ridge first instead of Buncombe Horse Trail, it makes the last day easier. This hike is a challenge to put it lightly but it's not unattainable. There's plenty of places to get water, none of them are at places you can camp, but are within a half a mile hike. This time of year, there were springs everywhere but in dryer times, I doubt there would be. It took us about 3.5-4 hours to do the 4 mile hike up Colbert Ridge. It was pretty windy when we got up there but there is at least 1 camp site that is protected by a large rock outcropping. I wouldn't call any of the campsites up there "flat". Be prepared for the weather to turn cold. The hike over the crest was beautiful with all the views and the changing forests. The rope climbs up Big Tom were difficult but my 12 yr old dog was able to navigate the climb with a little assistance on the hard parts from me. The ropes definitely came in handy. The hike down from Mt. Mitchell was steep and taxing. The meadow campsite at the crossroads of the MST and Buncombe Horse Trail is an awesome spot and we would have stopped there to camp except we knew that Maple Camp was better. The hike to Maple Camp is relatively flat but it feels like it goes on forever (mostly because we had already hiked the entire crest). You'll pass another great camp site on your right before you reach the Big Tom connector. It's a good one as well but Maple was still better. The Big Tom connector is the last place for good water, it's another half a mile to the Maple Camp Bald. It was about 8.5-9 miles from Big Gap to Maple Camp Bald and it took us about 6 hours including stops for lunch and at the Mt. Mitchell tower. The bald gets gusty at night so make sure you orient your tent into the wind and tie it down very well. The view is worth the wind, I guarantee you. Make sure to take the time to watch the sunset and see the stars at night. We went when there was a full moon. The view of the moon over the town was absolutely perfect. The hike down the mountain on the Buncombe Horse Trail is easy and beautiful. It took us 3.5-4 hrs to do the 5 miles.

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