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.

3 days 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.

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

9 days 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

Short but steep and rocky awesome view kinda hard too find

24 days 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.

It’s steep at first but pence your on top it’s beautiful

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.

1 month 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

I’ve never hiked the entire black mountain crest trail but this review is for Ben Clark. What an incredible story man, but I can’t help but laugh because I’m the guy on the atv ! I offered to help you guys out but you didn’t really seem like you knew where you were going or where you came from. I thought you were just some college kids from cattail creek hiking up to the mine so we never thought anything of it. You guys were on the old mining roads and most of them aren’t on google maps. Don’t go by just what you saw though man the views are amazing up there and I don’t have any idea how you ran out of water because it’s everywhere lol. We’ve got property at the base of the mountain so I know the area pretty well. Shoot me an email if you want more info on how to get around without getting lost. Sorry y’all had to had to suffer but when we came back down we never passed you so we went on to the house.

PS: I have to rate the trail so I’m going with 5 Stars. I’ll hike it someday but I don’t live there and my time is always limited. That area has become my favorite place on earth and I intend to live there permanently one day.

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

Do not underestimate the difficulty of this trail. First of all, if you are climbing from Bowlens Creek, the first 4.5 miles is the EASIEST climbing portion of the trail. For some people to say that the first 4.5 miles is the hardest, they obviously didn’t complete the entire trail. The AllTrails app is incorrect, it is more like 12.5 miles to Mount Mitchell from Bowlens Creek. We completed our hike in January of 2018 and the trail was very icy, making it very difficult to climb the rock scrambling portions of the trail. It really doesn’t get difficult until you start making your approach to Winter Star Mountain. From Winter Star Mountain to Mount Mitchell is some of the most strenuous hiking that I have done considering the iciness of the trail. There is a portion on Big Tom were there are ropes attached to two separate angled rock faces to assist in your scramble up the rock. I would recommend doing this trail in the summer when you do not have to worry about ice. Also, DO NOT expect to camp at Mount Mitchell in the winter. The campground is closed during winter months and they do not allow camping. DO NOT take on this trail unless you are a well prepared, experienced backpacker. We spoke to the park ranger and he said they are constantly rescuing unprepared, inexperienced hikers because they bite off more than they can chew. Luckily we were well prepared and were able to finish.

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
2 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.

Wonderfully difficult climb to one of the best trails in western North Carolina!!!!

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.

3 months ago

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

This trail is so worth your time!! If you don’t look carefully you can miss the start. I recommend starting right as you get onto the NPS service road just to the right about 30 feet onto the road. It’s a stiff hike up but really cool scenery. 95% of the entire hike is woods with one side of the loop being completely different from the other. Then as you get to the top it’s like the entire world opens up with absolutely stunning views. I’m only more upset I forgot to hit stop on the recording of my hike with pictures so that didn’t record. The trail is still relatively easy to follow.

4 months ago

We backpacked this trail on Memorial Day weekend, which was a mistake because it was SO CROWDED. Still worth it, though. It was amazing to notice how the foliage changed with the elevation. The top reminded me of hiking in Maine. It was also a great feeling to emerge from the wooded trail in our hiking boots to see how many people had driven to the top. I think we impressed the drivers ;)
I'd love to go back when it's not a holiday weekend. You could do this whole thing in one day, if you get there early. If you're going to backpack (which I'd recommend instead of rushing it in one day), there's perfect camping on Commissary Hill, which is about 2/3 of the way to the top.

trail running
4 months ago

As an east coaster who spent a good amount of time running out west, this is as close as it gets. 5 mile slog with 3k+ of vert. Trail is fairly technical, good amount of leaves covering up the rocks and roots, and plenty of step-ups in the last mile. You can refill bottles at the top during the in season (taps were turned off as of early Dec), though you do pass a few good quality springs on the way. View at the top is well worthwhile!

4 months ago

Did two weeks ago. Plenty of roots and rocks and a little tougher than I expected. Great views and was lucky not a lot of drive ups so had peak almost to myself.

4 months ago

Two friends and I did this trail + Mount Craig early November. A solid and fun trail. We had lots of fog driving to and from the mountain but was treated with beautiful fall leave.

4 months ago

A moderate hike!

The trail was marked well with lots of water. However, bear wires are needed at Commissary Ridge Camp Ground. Ranger’s were beyond helpful. Recommend Yancy Transportation for trail head drop off and pickup from Burnsville.

Maple Camp Bald has great views!

5 months ago

Very easy and enjoyable

5 months ago

This was my first backpacking adventure. Probably not the wisest choice for my first time out, but why start small?

Started at the Bowlens Creek trailhead and the first four miles are grueling and exhausting. Once you get to the top of that, you have a reward of incredible views and more level hiking. Following that, more steep terrain, breathtaking views and absolute exhaustion. We did a total of eight miles before making camp at Deep Gap.

The next day was only four miles through woods and into the National Forest side of the trail. Interesting terrain and some steep climbs aided by ropes as we got to the top of Mt. Craig and then finally to the summit of Mt. Mitchell. A total of 12 miles for us on our first backpacking adventure.

If you are looking to push your limits and really want to challenge yourself, this is the trail to do this on. Add it to the bucket list to hike what North Carolinians refer to as “The Death March”. It’s a challenge, but so rewarding!

Excellent hike. You will probably need to split this trail up in to two days. Multiple beautiful peaks and strenuous hiking.

5 months ago

Long, but enjoyable hike! It took us about 8 hours in total - maybe 4 up (including a quick lunch) and 3 down. View at the top is nice but crowded with people who drove. Still worth it for the bragging rights! We loved the fall colors and ran into some icicles near the top in a beautiful, mossy pine forest. Worth doing once! -- also it is about 12 miles according to signage.

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