Explore the most popular wildlife 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 hike but challenging both going up and back down.

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.

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.

Challenging yet beautiful wooded trail!

hiking
13 days 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.

This hike is NOT moderate. As active college aged girls, we were led to believe this would be cake. However, we soon learned we’d be put to the test mentally, physically and emotionally. Hangry and dehydrated, the rocks and roots were overwhelming. The only thing worse than the constant uphill battle and switchbacks was the sound of a bird being killed just feet from us. Once at the summit, powder fresh people badgered is to take their photos. We considered hitching a ride back down with a group of motorcyclists but found a “shuttle” service run by a lovely man named Don. Definitely do this hike, but prepare yourself.

backpacking
13 days ago

This trail is no joke. We started at bowlens creek carrying our 40lb backpacks. Thought it would be good preparation for our Mt Whitney hike. We are great shape as we have just ran in a half marathon two weeks ago. But it kicked our but. I would not recommend carrying anything other than a day pack on this hike. Make sure you bring plenty of water as we brought 5 liters and could of used more for sure and couldn’t find any water source. Not as many great views as you would expect since most of the hike is under canopy. By far the hardest hike I ever done, specially with the pack. Tool 9 hours to complete.

hiking
21 days ago

I did this with a buddy of mine on a hot day in April last year. By the time we reached the summit it was 40 degrees and raining. As others mentioned the temperature can vary lot. Definitely recommend the hike though. The views at the top are incredible.

hiking
26 days ago

Great trail, I’d definitely do this one again. Low foot traffic. You’ll definitely feel accomplished after tackling this mountain. A couple pieces of advice are to start early because it gets dark earlier than you’d think. Also the temperature variance between the bottom and top of the mountain is pretty big. It would be a good idea to bring layers on this hike.

hiking
27 days ago

We survived.
This is a challenging hike, even for fairly experienced hikers.
The Balsam Nature Path, Mount Mitchell and the Buncombe Horse Trail were both relatively easy. (Or at least I think they would’ve been on a sunny day. We were hiking in the rain, at night, and after several days of rain. - Everything was slippery and muddy and flooded)
Big Tom Spur - this one makes you think it’s as bad as it can get. It’s straight up hill with lots of overgrowth and rocks. It’s just a warmup for the next part!
Black Mountain Crest was incredibly taxing in the rain. Moss covered rocks and deep mud plus inclines - not a great combo! However, it may have been quite fun otherwise! Lots of large rocks to climb and challenging inclines. The views were a bit disappointing in the fog.

A couple of notes - the suggestion for a campsite mentioned in the description is about 4 miles in and not ideal. Our campsite ended up blocking the trail. Perhaps camping at Commissary Ridge would be better?

Also, the written directions and the direction of the moving dot on the map are opposite!

Best advice - wait for the sun to do this trail!!!

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

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
1 month 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
2 months ago

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
2 months 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.

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