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Black Mountain Crest Trail is a 11.3 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Burnsville, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round.

Length 11.3 mi Elevation gain 5,147 ft Route type Point to Point
Backpacking Camping Hiking Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife Muddy Rocky Scramble No dogs
Description
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The Black Mountain Crest Trail is a point to point trail starting at Bowlens Creek Road and Ending at the Mt Mitchell Summit parking area or vice versa. Some find it easiest to start from the top. The trail follows the Mt Mitchell Ridge for the first 7 miles, traversing the largest collection of 6,000 ft peaks in the Eastern US. From Celo Knob, the trail descends about 3500 feet to Bowlens Creek. A car shuttle or drop off is recommended and parking is available at both the Mt Mitchell and Bowlens Creek trailheads. Very limited parking at Bowlens creek if any at all.

Mt. Mitchell State Park offers ample paved parking, restrooms, camping classroom / lounge, and shelters. For more info: http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/momi/facilities.php

Mt. Mitchell State Park (828) 675-4611 mount.mitchell@ncparks.gov Mailing address (not location): 2388 State Highway, Burnsville, NC 28714 Location: GPS: 35.7528, -82.2737

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Reviews (274)
Photos (1090)
Recordings (169)
Completed (429)
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Cindy Le Anh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 28, 2020
HikingGreat!MuddyRocky

I really enjoyed this trail BUT it was pretty tough. I read the reviews before hiking this trail and had a good idea what to expect. I can concur with the trail being very muddy and you are going up and down at all times, there seems to never be a straight and flat portion. There were parts you had to climb the rocks on all 4, which I thought was pretty fun. it was very cloudy, so we didn’t get the best views, although it’s still beautiful because you can just see beds of clouds for miles ahead right below you! we did about 4 miles and then turned around, took us about 5 hours but we also stopped a few places and had lunch. There is a crashed plane about 1-1.5 miles into the trail from 1966. Thought that was pretty neat! someone pointed it out to us and we ended up googling what happened there. overall I would recommend this trail but it is exhausting, I’m pretty fit and I was out of breath, sweaty, and quite sore the day after! We got there around 9am and had no trouble parking. When we left at 4pm it was packed and the bottom was closed until more people left!

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Jonathan Kennedy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 24, 2020
Hiking

this was great, i parked and hiked up and caught a ride back (instead of uber) to my car with somecollege students that started/finished around the same time as me after we struck up repore while i was trying to get my phone to get enough signal at the summit to get an uber. Great hike, i did it without poles but i was envious of those with them especially on some of the descents that didn't have ropes (helps keep strain off the knee). take lots of water and its super windy/cold at the ridges if you stop moving so a proper layering system is wise.

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Mike Trimble
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 22, 2020
Hiking

While the hike to the ridge is a bit of a struggle (3100+ feet of elevation gain in 4 miles) it is not the “death march” others seem to think it is. Not much to see on the way up, other than rugged boulder-strewn creek for the first mile. Once on the ridge the trail levels out and the views are magnificent. There are a couple of deep-ish gaps along the ridge that will get your attention but overall nothing that compares to the first four miles. This is one of the premier trails in North Carolina, perhaps on the East Coast, and should not be missed.

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Brian Stahl
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 11, 2020
Hiking
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Brian Stahl
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 10, 2020
Hiking
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Daniel Ingle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking
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Jason Mears
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 27, 2020
Hiking

This is by far the hardest hike I've ever done. This trail grabs you and never lets go till the very end. Be prepared for ALOT of elevation gain and alot of rock scrambling. The views are absolutely stunning. i dont know of any other trail in the entire Eastern U.S. where you can summitt (10) 6000' mountains. EPIC HIKING. Bring plenty of water due to very few water sources. This trail will kick your butt so be ready. You better be in good shape or it will eat you alive. Hardest hike I've ever done and i loved every second of it. You will get a GREAT FEEL OF ACCOMPLISHMENT WHEN YOU COMPLETE THIS BEAST. They don't call it "The Death March" for nothing. So lace up your shoes, strap on your pack and go on the adventure of a lifetime within the Southern Blacks. This trail has it all! Simply beautiful. My favorite part of this trail are the high elevation beautiful pine forests you hike through as you summit mountain after mountain. This is the hike to take people on who say we dont have mountains in the south. Watch and laugh, as they quickly change their mind.

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Tom Bertram
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2020
Hiking

Great hike with rewarding views. I preferred the beginning part of the ridge, you can see the other 9 peaks and it’s a nice grassy walk for ~1.5 miles before it starts getting a bit more technical. It’s hard but achievable if you are in good hiking shape. I logged 11.6 miles with 5550 ft of elevation gain. Time was just under 7 hours but I did not take any long breaks. Also I parked at Mitchell and used Mickey’s shuttle, highly recommended.

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adventures roamance
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
HikingGreat!

The Black Mountain Crest Trail, known colloquially as “the tougher way up Mount Mitchell,” is a strenuous but scenic trek that takes you through a forest of gushing waters before setting you on an endless stairmaster up to the heavens. The portion of the trail we completed was entirely uphill; 3,000 feet of elevation gain in just over 5 miles. Our destination was the overlook just before Celo Knob known as Horse Rock Meadows. There, we enjoyed a reprieve from the nearly-three-hours of constant uphill with beautiful views of the Black Mountains, the Great Craggy Mountains, and the Newfound Mountains. The solitude of the hike, combined with the view from Horse Rock Meadows, makes this a “must repeat.” In the future, I plan on doing two more trips here: one, I will plan to take the full day and do all 6,000 feet of the trail; and two, a 3+ day trip that allows for camping. I have included more details and pictures of the hike here, please feel free to take a look if you are on the fence about this trail! https://adventuresinroamance.com/hiking-the-black-mountain-crest-trail/

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eric ahlstedt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 22, 2020
Hiking

Used Mickey from Rebel Hiker Shuttle ( 8282848781) to pick me up at the top of Mt Mitchell and drop me off at Bowlens Creek in the morning. Reasonable rates. highly recommend if you need a shuttle. The hike is very difficult but the views are great. one of the best hikes in the Southeast. great fe training for bigger objectives out west as well

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Kirsten Montanari
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 16, 2020
Hiking

Wow, this trail is no joke! A handful of beta to hopefully help others along the journey: - If the parking lot is full, there’s a turn right before the trail head parking area that you can pay $5/day to park. You go over a little bridge and you’ll see a sign for paying cash to park. - We found the first 4 miles to be the most grueling. After that, it continued to be challenging but the ridge line has gorgeous views and it’s a lush, beautiful hike! - Camping areas (written if you’re coming up from Bowlen’s) : If sleeping around cilo knob, pass Grassy Ridge turnoff on your left and there’s a big grassy area up on your left. It doesn’t look like much but there are several gorgeous camping spots with fire rings hidden in there. If sleeping around Deep Gap, the best spot we saw was passed the big camping area. There’s a flat, awesome spot tucked away on the right side of trail. -water : bring plenty! On the ridge line, there isn’t much. We filled up at the Mount Mitchell bathrooms. -temperature : we estimated from looking up black mountain but it was MUCH colder on the ridge. Prepare with more layers than you may think. Have a blast out there!

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Sirene Capp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 12, 2020
Hiking

As a heads up this trail is currently closed between Bollen's Creek and Cattail Peak by the Forest Service (see order 08-11-07-20-071-3). With the closure, you only get a glimpse of the trail, but I have previously hiked this from Deep Gap to Mt. Mitchell. The trail is pretty fantastic! Not as many viewpoints as I had hoped for a ridge line trail as it is still forested, but lots of outlooks. Plenty of up and down and some ladders. Highly recommend!

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John Foreman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 12, 2020
Hiking

An absolutely epic hike! As everyone has noted, the first 4 miles from Bowlens Creek are quite steep, but we were expecting that. After that, it was not that bad. Probably the next hardest climb for us was the climb up Potato Hill. The haul up to Mt Mitchell was also tiring, but if you’re in good shape and used to steep hikes, you won’t have problems with this one. We did this in June on a picture perfect day and it took a little under 8 hours. It was a great workout, but calling it a Death March seemed weird to us. The views are incredible and the terrain so variable that it flew by. I’ve been on far more boring forest hikes that seemed to never end that better fit that description. This felt more like a hike in the Alps, so I was absolutely delighted. Also, my friend and I did it wearing Chacos just to give you an idea of how technical it was. I could see the trail being tricky in winter with snow and ice, but in the summer we didn’t even use the ropes that were provided. We only ran into a couple other hikers the whole day, but no bears (thankfully) even though there are signs posted near the state park boundary that there have been recent bear encounters in that area. For sure my favorite hike in NC so far!!!

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Jimmy Thompson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 7, 2020
Hiking

Favorite trail in the area

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Mike Boger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 22, 2020
HikingFloodedMuddyRockyScrambleWashed out

It took 11 hours. My Alltrails tracker said it took 4 hours BS!!. GPS was spotty but the total miles was 17.6 miles. Ran into T'storms half way up. slipped and fell several times. dont do it if there is any chance of rain.

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Mickey Edwards
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 20, 2020

Can do a shuttle for bowlers creek rebel hiker shuttle 8282848781 also can do parking

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Dava Berrong
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 14, 2020
RunningScramble
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Jessica Pulley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 9, 2020
Hiking

Decided I needed a change of scenery. In the past I had hiked Deep Gap to Mt Craig on multiple occasions from Mt Mitchell. Now that Mt Mitchell is closed I investigated it and found that Deep Gap becomes BMCT. It says this trail is closed, but it is not. I hiked this yesterday and the only warning posted is that Mt Mitchell is closed. As I guessed, based on the reviews, the climb is intense. I am pretty out of shape. I hiked to the 5.9 mile mark where the rock bench is looking out west, then turned around. Total of almost 12 miles took me 5 and a half hours. Views are worth the climb. I was itching to keep going but was alone and running out of day light. Thick dark forests of balsam had me looking over my shoulder a lot. But I never ran into any wildlife. This is a MUST hike for anyone and everyone!

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Zachary Loggins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 11, 2020
HikingFee

Just wow. What an incredible hike! The terrain and the flora and fauna are so varied as you climb in elevation. I only made it to Winter Star before turning around. If you’re trying for the SB6K peaks, just know Gibbs is a PITA to get to. I’m sure there is an easier way, but I was a hurry. I’ll keep coming back to this one for sure.

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Jacob Gonzalez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 5, 2020
Hiking

grueling first 4 miles up. Although ridges are at altitude, still very technical and difficult trails. Gorgeous trail and views throughout.

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Jacob Schnepper
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 7, 2020
HikingBugsRockyScramble

Did this trail last summer at the end of May. I have hiked in colorado, montana, wyoming, california and this trail rank ranks in my top 5 trails that I have ever done!! This trail is incredible and is worth the strain and shockingly steep climb up. If you are anywhere in the state of North Carolina or even close by then make the drive to seen one of the most beautiful unique forests on one of the best trails that our country has to offer!!

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andrew phy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 27, 2020
HikingIcyRockySnow

Just did this yesterday, only made it 7.5miles in, camped on the trail around 6kft up, make sure you have micro spikes and are planning to deal with very cold weather, the wind on the ridge is rough and dipping into the teens. Beautiful views and a challenging/rewarding climb!

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