Explore the most popular walking 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.

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!

hiking
10 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.

trail running
22 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
27 days 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.

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.

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.

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!

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

We go in the summertime. Love the campground so much.. it is next to a beautiful stream. The showers are nice to have since we hike too. Loved the hike to Mt. Mitchell!!

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.

Short but steep and rocky awesome view kinda hard too find

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this in the snow. Our plan was to hike from the campground, camp below the summit, and summit the next day then back down. We faced snowy conditions which turned to more snow then ice. Near 4,000 feet, we faced an incoming winter storm that had thunder and lightning and heavy ice-rain. There was no sense in trying to camp on Commissary Ridge or anywhere exposed and the ice was a concern for falling trees and limbs. We decided to hike out. This trail is rough in areas and a challenge. Take water. You'll hear your heart beating in your ears because it's a workout, especially with full packs/food/water/winter clothing for 2 days.

Left at 8:45a... 3 hours up, 2 down. Not much traffic up or down. Still some ice the last 1.5 miles to summit; making a slower climb to top. Great views at the top.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun hike. I couldn’t have asked for better weather for doing this in February. Had all my cold weather gear packed and ready just in case but ended up leaving it behind once the forecast was 75 and sunny for the day.

I was able to summit and back in about 4-1/2 hours doing this solo. 3 up, 1.5 down. Lots of rocks and roots so take your time, and plan to take much longer if you’re doing this with kids or anyone who hasn’t done much hiking. It’s definitely do-able as a day hike, but would probably take up a whole day for anyone with kids or not in the best shape. It’s not extremely challenging or dangerous at any points. Just a strenuous 6 miles steady up hill. Trekking poles helped save my knees a lot, I highly recommend busting them out for a steady uphill hike like this. I went through 3 liters of water on this hike and saw a lot of people trying to go out with next to none. Don’t short yourself on the Agua

Great challenging hike, but not too many views until the top... but the views at the top make it all worth it, beautiful! Great workout too. Doing this one in February made the last 2 miles slow and difficult navigating thru the slick ice, but definitely able to figure it out using higher ground next to the trail.

Great hike lots of snow. It took me 5 hours but I got a lot of GoPro footage back tracking. Must do hike

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.

trail running
3 months ago

High Peaks does a great job maintaining this trail, and the re-route is well done. There are a lot of rocks and roots, as is customary for the area. Took the Higgins Bald trail to loop on the way back and the trail is much more runnable than the Mitchell Trail. There was considerable ice today (January 21), so was not able to complete the last switchback (did not have poles or spikes/crampons,) so will have to re-try once the ice melts.

definitely a challenging hike with lots of elevation. went in mid January and there was a lot of ice so be prepared to take some time navigating certain sections. view at the top is awesome, but there isn't really anything to see on hike up.

walking
4 months ago

It’s a workout. You’ll leave tired. Pretty area.

gorgeous and really hard loop!

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