Balsam Nature Trail to Mount Mitchell

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Mount Mitchell State Park

Balsam Nature Trail to Mount Mitchell is a 0.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Burnsville, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length0.9 miElevation gain154 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashKid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingRunningForestPartially pavedViewsWildflowersWildlife
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Reviews (161)
Photos (728)
Activities (124)
Completed (505)
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Mendy Friedman
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HikingIcy

only wish it was a little longer. was also some ice on the trail. otherwise a great/peaceful hike.

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Randy Kerckhoff
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Walking

Great. It was snowing in April.

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Sean Snow, King Of The North
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Hiking

We set out to do the loop by heading out to hike the ridge, but once we realized that the loop back to Mount Mitchell had no real views, we decided to turn this into an “out and back” hike by taking the crest trail back to the parking lot. Hiking along the tops of these 6,000 footers is real fun. The views from peak to peak are great. If I was to ever come back and do this, I would try to hike all the way out to Balsam Cone or Cattail Peak and back rather than do that loop. Highly recommend this to hikers of varying experience. Enjoy the tops of the East!

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David Mefford
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Hiking

Pedestrian sidewalk up with a cool high elevation Balsam trip down

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Avery Wilkerson
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HikingIcyRocky
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Andrew Tuck
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Hiking
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Anajdia Steele
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HikingGreat!

Hiking this trail feels like you are in the Pacific Northwest. Large fir & spruce trees covered with bright green mosses. There are even Saw Whet Owls living here! Glorious evergreen smells as you tread on the needles. Easy trail, but lots of rocks & roots typical of nearly any Appalachian route. Highly recommend.

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Mary Findley
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Hiking

The nature trail is awesome. The view from Mt. Mitchell is probably pretty awesome as well, but unfortunately there were 100 people at the summit who don't believe in social distancing or masks. Still highly recommend.

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Jason Lowe
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Hiking
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Jordan Treadaway
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HikingGreat!

Spectacular ecosystem. We felt like we were in the PNW. Mossy trees and rocks make for an otherworldly feel.

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Brenna Foster
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HikingGreat!

Fantastic family trail! Perfect length and skill level for our kiddos. We actually missed the first entrance and parked in the cafe lot, walked up the observation tower path and found the other entrance to the trail. $2 hot chocolate at the cafe afterwards was nice because it was chilly up there! Got there early and it was not crowded although as we were leaving (around 12) it was getting busy. The smell of the fir trees while hiking was amazing! Highly recommend!

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dav fis
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Hiking
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Thomas Smith
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Hiking

Fun hike that I did with family today, good for kids if they are probably older than 6-7. Good to learn about the animals and smell the spruces and firs...

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B.L. H.
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Hiking

Hike to Summit at 6,687 ft from the parking area and then hiked the Balsam Nature Trail back to the parking area at approx. 6,578 ft. The aroma of the spruce-fir trees was intoxicating!

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Eric Shaw
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Hiking
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Brian Krystek
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HikingGreat!Muddy

Beautiful little trail and it gets you away from all the people at the summit. A little muddy in places with some up and down elevation change but completely with it.

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Brenda Nelson
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HikingGreat!

Glad we did it, it was a nice contrast to the paved and very crowded summit trail. Much less crowded and the forest felt ancient and almost mystical, felt like something out of Lord of the Rings.

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John Bowers
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Road biking
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Sarah Fraser
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Hiking

Beautiful, quick trail

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Eryn Johnson
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Backpacking

the nature trail part was really nice. the flora is really unique for this area of the country. very shaded and cool. it was like its own little world. the summit trail portion is paved the whole way up. today the overlook part was open...perhaps bc it's a weekday after noon. there were people up there, but few enough that you could social distance if you tried. you can def see a lot and for a long way. i don't know if it was hazy today or if it's always kind of that way. once you come back down from the summit, the remainder of the "trail" is just the paved driveway thru the parking lot. the nature trail part had very few people on it.

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Kevin Hildebrand
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Hiking
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Jared Kreft
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Hiking
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Keenan Stoic
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Hiking
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Jeff Gronosky
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Hiking
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Megan Bleech
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Hiking

Easy and peaceful trail. Nice way to return to the parking lot from the summit...

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Samantha Cunningham
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Hiking

Lots of rocks and roots but absolutely beautiful moss and ferns and boulders to play on. My kids loved pretending they were searching for fairies.

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Gary Bangs
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HikingMuddy

Super easy trail, love the vegetation and well kept.

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Nana Pfahlert
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Hiking

Beautiful trail, very reminiscent of the PNW. It was a rainy day, not shocking due to the elevation and weather shifts. It’s not difficult, just mind the slippery rocks. Highly recommend for a gorgeous “warm up” hike.

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