Explore the most popular wild flowers 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.

Beautiful trail! Well blazed and a great hike!

23 hours ago

Excellent trail. Took 3 hours and 10 minutes to summit. About 3 even coming down. Some things you should know: there’s no internet access from about 30 min before getting to Black Mountain Campground and no signal. No signal all the way up the mountain. I did find very weak and spotty signal in the museum at the summit. Good enough for a few text messages.
The trail is very, very well marked. Or at least the blue diamond trail is.
Climbed on 10/21. It was at most 50 degrees at the base. Had to be below freezing at the summit. Much colder than expected so be prepared. There was crazy wind at all exposed points so bring a wind proof jacket.
All else: great hike. About as nice as a 7 hour hike could go. (Spent some time warming up at the top). Highly recommend this trail.

I read others reviews and must admit I have not been there since it was remodeled per se! I loved it! The old tower was cool! It was interesting because it was freezing in the altitude below but warm above the clouds the day we were there!

trail running
10 days ago

One of my favorite trails by far. Orange blazed. High Peaks maintains it very well— good signs and trail isn’t overgrown. There are cables and ropes on some of the more slippery rocky sections— helpful when it snows.

There are a few ways to get to the trail— from the far end of the trail at the Bowlen’s Creek parking area (you have to Ford the little creek, the bridge is sketchy). Here you will go up an old fire road for about 4 miles until you reach the ridge line. You can also park at the other end in Mount Mitchell State Park. There are also ways of accessing from side trails— if you don’t want to do the whole thing— for example, use the Woody Ridge Trail (park on White Oak) or Colbert Ridge Trail (park on Colbert Creek Road).

The trail has a lot of rocks and summits many 6000’ peaks— Mt Craig, Tom, Balsam Cone, Potato Hill, Winter Star, Mount Gibbs, Horse Rock, and Celo Knob (via a .20 mile overgrown spur trail.) the crest has amazing 360 views for a lot of it, also spruce- fir forests and stone staircases.

There is very little water on the trail, so bring some with. There is a spring on the Colbert Ridge side trail and a creek toward the Bowlen’s Creek end.

I definitely think it is longer than marked, although it is not as difficult as some hikes I’ve done. All in all a magnificent quest, ending with a very cold summit which adds to the wonder. My heeler, 12 year old, 8 year old, and two year old in my pack did it with only minor difficulty on Monday. My only complaint is that we didn’t get the views once at the top due to the weather, but can’t control that. It was more like 7 Miles according to my Garmin.

hiking
14 days ago

This trail is so beautiful! the expose roots, the overflowing moss... definitely a beautiful trail. Continue on this trail up to reach the overlook!

hiking
17 days ago

The highest peak in the East has been on my list all year. I'm 58 and started hiking alone from the Black Mountain Campground and caught up with two under 30 hikers who I hiked with for the rest of the day. We all enjoyed the hike with stimulating conversation and clear blue skies. Arrived at the summit in 3 hours 25 minutes. Hung out at the top for an hour with some bikers as we ate our lunch. The view on the observation deck was spectacular. Descended the mountain in 3 hours 15 minutes. Switchbacks made the hiking relatively easy. A local warned me the day before to watch out for bears and rattle snakes. Didn't encounter either. Not as difficult as Marcy or Whiteface. Although there are lots of roots, there's no large boulders to climb over, no rock hopping, rock climbing or scrambling. Thoroughly enjoyed the hike. Would do it again next time I'm in the area.

Hiked with three young children from Mt Mitchell to Mt Craig and back. There are challenging parts, but our clan took it in stride. Beautiful walk and outstanding views.

Drove up at 7:00AM to see the summit without all the peoples and so glad we did. Gorgeous views at sunrise. We drove back down to the campground and began our march to the summit. The trail was fairly busy for a Saturday but not too crowded. It was a long, steep walk up the mountain with several flat areas to catch your breath that drops off into a busy parking lot for the viewing tower. I was not able to make the descent as we ran out of time with an inexperienced hiker taking much longer to get up the hill. So this trail is definitely not for the out of shape or casual hiker.

I did this trail in September of 2015. Difficult but rewarding, bring water and a change of socks is a must due to always muddy conditions on the trail. Even in early September the temperature can be in the low 40’s -mid upper 60’s Make sure you also have some warm clothing because when the sun goes down it drops 15-20 degrees at 6,000 ft.

Made the hike from Black Mountain Campground to the summit and back 30 times in the last five years. My favorite time for this hike in in the fall. This was on my bucket list. There are two decent water sources. Expect lots of roots and rocks on much of the trail. Some of the trail uses an old creek bed. Be prepared for aburpt weather changes. The trail is becoming better maintained because of those hard young dedicated workers.

hiking
1 month ago

An easy calming walk up 3,700 feet of elevation climb...jokes aside it is a fun, strenuous walk. The majority is under tree cover, with an occasional stream or brook. But the end is worth it l, with an open summit area.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a challenging but rewarding hike! The Commissary Trail itself is indeed easy, but the loop depicted in the map takes you on several other trails, including the Camp Alice Trail which I would rate as hard. In the end though, a really great hike with lots of diverse scenery. I had been to the Mount Mitchell summit before by driving up, so it was a fun accomplishment to really work for it.

Beautiful trail thru thick forest. A fairly easy walk with not a lot of elevation change

Outrageously beautiful on a mostly clear day in Sept. It is as hard as you would think, and so it is that rewarding to complete. If the weather is nice, give yourself time to enjoy the amazing views.

Great hike started at walkers knob to CR gap . A really good view of Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mountain great view of the Wilson boundary from little Butt . There’s a grand old tree just past flat springs leaning heavily ,it’s old and tired but still standing . The tree alone is worth the hike . .

great views , Spruce Pines, Awesome hike

backpacking
1 month ago

I just came back from this hike. The trail is hard and very well mark. We ended with 12.3 miles instead of 10. So be prepare for few extra miles. It has been in my bucket list for a while and it was way worthy. Also we got to eat blackberries almost at the top. Tons of bushes of blackberries. If you are looking for a challenge and a reward at the top this is the trail for you.

Great trail , very rugged hiked it on a weekday only saw 3 others on the trail. High peaks club has a section very well maintained from winter star , almost to the Woody ridge trail head .. beautiful views !

Hardest trail I’ve ever done, first backpacking experience, finally reached the end to find a dead car battery.... and I’d do it all over again. Highly recommend this trail just for the experience of all it has to offer

hiking
1 month ago

Mt. Mitchell has been at the top of my list for a while now and I'm glad that I did this trail. It wasn't as difficult as some of the other trails I have done, but you definitely have to watch your footing because of the roots and rocks. It took my friends and I about 3.5 hours to get to the top and then about 2.5 hours to get down and the trail was closer to 12 miles long rather than 10.4. The trail was very well maintained and marked, so you really have to try to get lost. There weren't many scenic looks along the way - I think there was one spot that you could see out of the trees. However, the view at the top was worth all the pain. There were 360 views of all the surrounding mountains and little plaques denoting which mountains were which. It was a little lackluster because a lot of people drive up the mountain and can park about 500 feet away from the summit. By the end, I felt very accomplished, but I also felt it was one of those trails people do just to say that they did it. Just make sure to pack water (there was a fresh water stream along the way as well) and snacks and be ready for an all day hike!

1 month ago

Ran this trail on a Saturday morning in late August. I arrived around 8am and mine was the only car at the Walker Knob parking area, but the place was packed when I returned 3 hours later. I found the trail quite overgrown in spots, but this may be peak summer growth, and it was exacerbated by the fact that I was running in shorts. Definitely has plenty of challenging uphill segments and varied terrain, from very rooty to wide and grassy to pine paths to constructed wooden stairs. The out and back clocked just a little bit shy of 11 miles, including the side trip up to the geodetic survey marker at the peak (pink blazes).

A tough but enjoyable trail. A lot of steep steps. Trail is well maintained.

hiking
2 months ago

There are two ways to get to Big Butt: a stiff steep hike from NC 197 at Cane Gap or a longer ridge and multi peak climb from the Walker Knob Overlook on the BRP about 5 miles south of the Mount Mitchell State park entrance (NC 128). I took the latter route which longer, but ultimately more rewarding as you climb Brush Fence Ridge, and up and over Point Misery and Little Butt before arriving at the side trail to the summit of Big Butt.

These peaks form the western rim of the Black Mountain and lie thousands of feet above the Cane River Gorge that can be head roaring below when you get to Little Butt. The forest resembles the Mount Mitchell Trail flora and fauna, event though the elevations do not exceed 6000 feet. The trail is well maintained by the the NC High Peaks Trail Association and included hundreds of wooden step that make the climbs much easier to maneuver. The best views lie on the ridge between Little Butt and Big Butt. Unfortunately clouds rolled in when I hiked this track and so was only able to catch short glimpses of the valley to the east (and not the Black Mountain Crest). Hiking this route in early spring or late fall should give you a better chance of good weather and less foliage blocking vistas.

From the Walker Knob Overlook, take the trailhead to the SOUTH. **Be careful here as an old forest road and the Mountains to Sea also converge in the field behind the overlook parking lot. You will descend over a hundred feet before gently ascending to the top of Brush Fence Ridge and finally to the summit of Point Misery (the name was not indicative of this side of the mountain - the return trip up the backside will give you an appreciation of why it is appropriately named). The HP is just off the trail and there is a Geodetic Marker as well as several marked bearing trees nearby.

From there, descend steeply over 300 feet to a grassy gap and then ascend up a series of stairs around giant rocks to the inauspicious peak of Little Butt Mountain. The trail continues a very narrow ridge reminiscent of the Amphibuolite Mountains. Look for rock outcrops to the right and left of the trail for some tremendous views of the Black Mountains (east) and the Craggy Mountains (west).

Continue along the ridge ascending gently to a well marked side trail to the left that will take you via an interesting semi-open trail to the summit of Big Butt. No ascertainable views here, but I accidentally surprised a nide of about 30 pheasants. The tremendous fluttering and so much wing flapping and feathers flying gave a feeling of both being on the the set of THE BIRDS and of marveling at the sight of these beautiful creatures. Then the rain started. It continued off and on on the hike back and was so intense at times that I felt more like this was the Amazon rain forest, not western NC. And yet, once I got wet, it was pleasant. Only real obstacle was the relentless climb back up to Point Misery.

Of course once I got back to the car, the rain stopped and the sun came out! For completists, cross the road and hike to the crest of Walker Knob on the M-to-S trail (see separate entry for more detail on this peak and others described above).

hiking
2 months ago

Challenging but rewarding hike!

hiking
2 months ago

This should not be rated hard. Sure there are rocks and some roots on the trail but it’s not a sidewalk. I consider a hard trail one that requires all fours to go up and over, or at least some scrambles and that’s what I was expecting from these reviews. Didn’t happen. This was a moderate trail with a lot of switch backs that make it long but at no point was it a hard trail. I made it up and back in exactly 4.5 hours and that included all stops and my big 15 minutes at the summit to take in the views. I’ve never done a 10+ mile trail rated hard in that time. Anyway, fun hike with a lot of terrain changes (clay, dirt, sand) the switchbacks were annoying but you could see why they were needed. There was just no other way up the mountain. Tower at the top is kind of cool.

So cool omg!!!!

hiking
2 months ago

I agree with other reviewers, that the classification of easy for this trail is off a bit. If you are out of shape like me, I would classify it as moderate to hard. Experienced hikers who are in good shape would probably find it easy to moderate. The Commissary trail segment is fairly easy, but the uphill and downhill sections are considerably harder, especially in the very wet conditions I experienced. It is a great hike to escape hot temperatures in August. I was up on 8/12 and the temp was mid-60s. The view from the summit is worth the hike, though you may find it a little crowded from April to October.

hiking
2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Paved trail to the summit. Slightly steep but well worth the trek up for the 360 degree views.

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