Black Mountain Crest Trail

HARD 225 reviews
#1 of 23 trails in

Black Mountain Crest Trail is a 11.3 mile moderately 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.

Distance: 11.3 miles Elevation Gain: 5,147 feet Route Type: Point to Point

backpacking

camping

hiking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

no dogs

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.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing views if you luck into good weather. We just did out and back from Mitchell to Mt. Craig summit. Hiking with a 5 and 7 year old took a while as we had to work out how they could make it up some of the more difficult rock scrambles.

hiking
3 months ago

We really enjoyed this trail. There are beautiful views at the summits, and the changes in terrain/vegetation are fascinating. Highly recommend! We parked at Mt. Mitchell parking lot, and used the Yancey County public transit to take us to Bowlen's Creek. Wr are in fairly good shape and the hike took us 7 hours. Lots of elevation gain and some scrambling.

4 months ago

Great shuttle service picked me up at Mt Mitchell and dropped me off at Bolen’s Creek. I did the trail as a day hike. I was worried about the initial elevation gain of the first 4 miles. but it was no big deal at all. The forest road path is smooth and easy all the way up. The trail didn’t make my heart pound until Potato Hill and Cattail Peak, I think. There’s a 30% grade section and ropes to assist climbing it. It was cloudy, overcast, quiet and mellow. Lots of Golden crowned Kinglets and a few hawks and a raven. Views are great around Mt Craig and Tom Wilson. I love the green moss on the trees and rain forest look. I would hike this again.

hiking
4 months ago

You gain almost 4,000 ft elevation in just the first four miles. The next two miles after that are relatively flat on the ridge with views for days! Another couple miles through the forest with cool moss and rock formations. I was so wore out for the rest of it that I didn’t notice much except for the constant ups and downs and trying not to fall because my legs were so tired. It was a beautiful hike and an excellent workout!

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail if you're in excellent shape. otherwise, there are better ways to Mt. Mitchell. We spent 3 days and had a great time.

hiking
scramble
5 months ago

Ce commentaire ne concerne que la première partie du trail jusqu a l'intersection avec big Tom trail. Belle randonnée avec de très beaux points de vue.

hiking
5 months ago

NOTE: If you start at the Mt Mitchell end, it is labeled as DEEP GAP TRAIL on their map and signs. There is no mention of Black Mountains Crest Trail on their materials. Orange triangle blazes.

hiking
6 months ago

Completed this trail about 3yrs ago... Excellent, hard hike for NC. Really pretty once you get up on the ridge. Steep, the whole way up through Bowlen's Creek, before leveling out on the ridge for more up and down. Great training hike for bigger objectives. I did BMC twice in preparation before a successful Mt. Rainier summit. Worked well.

hiking
6 months ago

First couple of miles from Bolen's Creek trailhead is pretty tough, lot of gained elevation in short distance. worth the climb, beautiful scenery throughout hike. Bring sufficient water it can be soarse6on the trail. Hike down Big Tom's Gap Trail to water source is a buttkicker, will make a mountain goat cuss. Overall a tough hike, but lots of fun and worth it. Loved it.

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

I did this trail twice several years ago and it was a blast. Unless you are an avid hiker, I would do this trail in 2 days. I did it in 1 day the first time and 2 the second. much better experience the second time. Can't wait to do it again.

hiking
7 months ago

I just discovered there is private parking available right beside the trail head on Bolens Creek. There’s a small road right next to the trailhead called Stanley’s Trail. A local owner cleared an old homestead and will let you park for $5 on the grassy lot. The trailhead parking is very limited and almost always full and the hike is getting more popular every year. I always hated leaving my car on that narrow paved road - you just can’t get your car all the way off the road. I was always afraid someone will drive by and knock my car into the ditch or I’d park much further away. Anyway, it makes it a lot less worry when tackling this great hike. Enjoy!

hiking
7 months ago

Really good fun. Started from Bolens Creek side. First five miles is a monster. I started with about two gallons and got near empty by Colbert Ridge. 1/2 mile back down Colbert Ridge trail is water (in June). Could have also filled up near the zig-zag section of the initial climb. There's emergency cell coverage off and on along trail (I have AT&T). Dog may have got a tick bite, but never saw one. Suggest taking 3 days to enjoy it all. Spend a half day or so recovering/enjoying view after initial climb.

hiking
7 months ago

Unbelievable, I’ve hiked all around WNC and have never been on a trail this epic. Go. It’s amazing .

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Only hiked to top of Celo Knob and stopped for lunch before coming back down. Pretty tough ascent throughout but the last 0.5 miles is the worst. Great views of the Black Mountain Range and west from a small clearing near the top. Saw a turkey and rabbit. Really great hike. Next time, with a little planning, we’ll stash a car at Bowlens Creek and have someone drop us off at Mount Mitchell to get the whole trail.

7 months ago

Best trail I've ever hiked for ruggedness and ridiculous views. Have backpacked overnight from Mitchell to Deep Gap and back, and done the full trail from Burnsville to Mitchell, also overnight ing at Deep Gap.

backpacking
8 months ago

I've hiked this trail twice, my first and last time! We hiked the BMCT as a final practice hike for our upcoming Philmont trek. Although I knew it would be difficult I wasn't prepared for the seemingly endless accent UP of the first 4 miles. However, after stopping for lunch and a quick nap at the top (Celo Knob). I had enough energy to trek on. The views at the top and along the crest were amazing. We camped at Deep Gap for the night and found the natural water springs our Troop had used on previously BMCT hikes had almost dried up. To find water we had to backtrack a bit down a side trail (Colbert Ridge Tr) to find a very small spring that had a trickling flow off the side of a rock face. We collected the water in backpacking pots, filtered it, and added tables. It took almost 2 hrs to collect enough water for our crew of 14. The next day's trek to Mt Mitchell was filled with difficult ups and downs accompanied by spectacular views. I have never been SO glad to finish a hike as I was for this one. To anyone attempting this hike be mindful of the scarcity of water and be very careful if hiking this trail in wet conditions. Our trek was somewhat dry but some of the rocks/boulders were still very slippery and slick. Although at the beginning of this trail review I stated that I would not hike the BMCT again I may give it another try with a lighter pack and a lighter me. Good luck to anyone attempting the BMCT and enjoy.

hiking
8 months ago

A friend of mine and I hiked this trail Thursday, May 16 through Saturday, May 18 in preparation to climb Mount Rainier in June. We started at Bolen's Creek; camped at Deep Gap; went to Mitchell and back to Deep Gap on day two; day three went back to Bolen's Creek. Wonderful trip but it was a butt kicker. Because it was a 'training' hike I was carrying a 72 pound pack and wore the same mountaineering boots I'll be using on Rainier [think ski boots!]. Two things. First - the walk down Colbert Ridge 1/2 mile with a 380' drop/gain to get and filter water was tough after a long day of hiking. Nothing you can do about that except be mentally prepared. Second - while it was fairly easy to project how the hike would go for the day in terms of gains, losses, and mileage - there was no way to project [without using a magnifying glass on the map] ALL the ups and downs between the mountain tops. There was a lot of scrambling to do. To the best of my ability, I tried to keep good stats combining information from my GPS, the map, and my buddies All-Trail app. Here's what we came up with [this is based on going to Mitchell and back]: *26.27 miles [includes two trips for water @ .39miles each way] *8,410' Total 'gross' elevation gain *Averaged 1.35 mph [pretty slow] with 72 pound pack and heavy 5 pound mountaineering boots All the best to those who give this one a whirl! MH

hiking
8 months ago

I’m in decent shape, that being said, it took me 11 hours to finish!! The views were beautiful. I did this trail a couple of months ago.

hiking
9 months ago

Was a very difficult trail, yet beautiful! Do not underestimate the power of this mountain. We got caught in a very intense storm. The oxygen levels are %5 lower than see level.

backpacking
9 months ago

As other reviewers have noted, the first four miles is brutal — especially with a 40lbs pack. (For reference, I am 26 and in good, but not peak, shape.) The views are surely redemptive of this initial pain, however. I found a fantastic camping spot just past Celo Knob. There is a little unmarked trail (~50 yards long) off the main trail that takes you to an opening with an incredible vista looking toward the east. It’s complete with a rock overhang (where folks have made their fires) providing a good windbreak. The wind really picks up at night, so a windbreak is something to look for! I only hiked to Celo Knob and it took me about 4 hours (with breaks). It took me 1hr 45mins to go back the same way.

hiking
9 months ago

Hardest trail I have ever completed! Bring water and food, but don’t load your back too much. Such a beautiful trek and a sense of accomplishment at the end (after some much needed rest). Well marked, even though I got slightly off trail due to having to shimmy over boulders to continue up the trail. At one point, there was a tree in the middle of the trail. That was slightly confusing, but not too bad. In the open field of Deep Gap camping area, there are several signs posted saying there have been recent bear sightings there. I just kept my head down and figured that it wouldn’t scared me if I didn’t see one! Again, the most rewarding trail I have done to date!

9 months ago

Absolutely stunning trail but take lots of water & be in shape. This is a difficult hike across all the peaks with your pack & dog. It was worth it all. Can't wait to do again love love love the views

hiking
10 months ago

challenging

hiking
10 months ago

Buckle up because this one is a doozy! If you go point-to-point, you’re going to hit TEN peaks over 6000+ (three involve social trails/bushwhacking to hit true summit): Celo Knob, Horse Rock, Gibbs Mountain, Winter Star Mountain, Potato Hill, Cattail Peak, Balsam Cone, Big Tom, Mt Craig, and Mt Mitchell (which is technically not part of this but you end in the parking lot and it’s RIGHT there, so you might as well just do it). The initial ascending 4 miles/3000ft is nothing compared to having to slug up that stone staircase into the Mt Mitchell parking lot at the end of the hike. The trail ended up being ~13 miles point-to-point for me and it took ten hours (Bowlens Creek to Mt Mitchell). It was very beautiful. The trail was maintained well (thanks HighPeaks).. the few trees that were across the trail were easy to get across. I definitely recommend doing this trail if you’re able.

10 months ago

Great hike, it’s a toughie though!

backpacking
11 months ago

Got a late start at it but man was it challenging! After the rain it was unbelievably humid, but didnt stop us. Camped out for the night and hit the summit around noon. Spectacular views all the way! Recommend to anyone!

backpacking
Mon Jan 14 2019

Superb uphill hike from Bowlens Creek. Beautiful waterfall scenery at the begining of the hike, midway up you're greeted by a neat flooded mine on the right of the trail, as you ascend the scenery changes from massive trees to smaller evergreens. We hiked in the snow a week ago and it wasn't too hard to navigate. You come out to a spectacular overlook at Celo Knob and continue on the crestoine towards Mt Mitchell from there. The trail is much more narrow on the crest with some rock scrambling here and there (it was very slick and covered in ice when we went) compared to many trails around the area but i personally prefer that on hikes. The winds were blasting over us around 40-50 mph and the Lee side parts of the trail were a relief. This hike is honestly my favorite thus far in the Smokies. Challenging and unique.

hiking
Wed Dec 26 2018

Did a portion of this trail before the rain set in. Looking forward to returning and completing the trail! Beautiful wildlife and views.

hiking
Thu Nov 29 2018

Awesome hike. Straight up to 6100 ft with just a few flat areas to recover. Late fall conditions- mud at the trailhead, leaves over trial to about 4800 ft, inch of snow rest of way up, with heavy ice around 5700 ft up. Started snowing for a few minutes, but clear at the top. Best trail ive done in the area. Had to turn back at Celo Knob due to conditions, but cant wait to finish the trail to Mt Mitchell.

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