Mount Mitchell Loop

HARD 27 reviews
#5 of 20 trails in

Mount Mitchell Loop is a 5.8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Burnsville, North Carolina that offers the chance to see wildlife and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,309 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

views

wildlife

muddy

over grown

rocky

Leave Mount Mitchell parking lot and take the Balsam Nature Trail. Turn onto the Mountain To Sea Trail to Commissary Ridge. Turn left unto the Buncombe Horse Trail and follow it along the ridge to the Big Tom Spur sign. At this junction is a perfect camp site and water 150 feet down the hill to your right. Turn left and go up the Big Tom Spur. It's almost straight up 600-800 feet up a rocky creek bed. It's a highly over-grown and lightly used trail. At the top, turn left unto the Crest Trail to summit Big Tom, Mount Craig, and Mount Mitchell. This is a tough trail!

Strenuous. Stunning. Worth the effort.

amazing scenery and the trail is well kept! beware of poison ivy along the trail edge, but otherwise no issues

hiking
over grown
15 days ago

hiking
bugs
over grown
rocky
15 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

Wonderful yet hard trail. Parts of the trail are straight up the mountain side. Wonderful views near the end of the surrounding mountains. Enjoy.

hiking
muddy
rocky
28 days ago

More than 5.8 miles and very difficult. Trail is for experienced hikers

hiking
muddy
snow
2 months ago

This trail is perfect for a day hike. There was still a decent amount of snow which we weren’t anticipating. Some sections were pretty deep, others were a bit icy and some muddy, but the sun was shining so it was still an enjoyable hike. We will definitely do again!

hiking
rocky
snow
2 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Great loop with amazing views!

7 months ago

I completed this loop yesterday going down Mt. Mitchell trail and up Big Tom. The BHT section was a muddy mess from all the recent rain. Took me just under 4 hours to complete while taking my time. It was definitely tough and I thoroughly enjoyed it and the views were great! I'm not sure if me or my dog enjoyed it more.

hiking
10 months ago

just did hike to big tom turn off but even cutting it short like that its a great trail. Love ridge hikes, super views, not much elevation gain so you get a lot for your effort. It has great potential to extend into a loop. Great varying scenery from dense forest to ridge. Love this hike.

hiking
Monday, May 28, 2018

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
Monday, November 27, 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I will not be able to move tomorrow. This one kicked our butts. The descent from the tower trail to balsam and onto the Mitchell trail is beautiful. The Buncombe is blocked by a small tree with many branches that makes for an interesting climb over but the dozen boggy spots are the real challenge. The Gortex boots did their job. Don't attempt without great footwear, you'll need it to do the 587 foot climb in .5 miles from Buncombe up to the Deep Gap Trail, also called Black Mountain Crest Trail on our National Geo trail map. High grass on the trail covers many holes on the Buncombe and the connector trail to Deep Gap Trail. Overall tho there's so much character on this trail I'd do it again, tons of wild flowers, deep shade forest and a beautiful grassy bald with a stunning overlook and no one anywhere near. hiking in July on My Mitchell was a great experience.

hiking
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This is a great loop and VERY challenging! The first parts, The Balsam Nature Trail and Mountain To Sea Trail and not very difficult and just a bit rocky and has some roots. The Buncombe Horse Trail turns left at Commissary. It was very overgrown and muddy. Your feet will get wet and there is a lot of water and seepage on this section. You end at the junction of the Buncombe Horse Trail and Big Tom Spur. The Spur is very overgrown and steep. You'll climb through a rocky creek bed cursing your very existence. At the top, if you don't pass out, enjoy the lush green forest before you turn left to the 3 summits.

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Saturday, May 26, 2018

hiking
Friday, May 25, 2018

recorded yet

hiking
Friday, September 22, 2017

hiking
Saturday, August 05, 2017

hiking
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Featured Trails