Mount Mitchell Trail is a 11.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Montreat, 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. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length11.1 miElevation gain3,710 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingHikingForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeRocky
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Getting There

When the Black Mountain Campground is closed for the season, there is a nice parking lot right across the street. All you have to do is hop the gate, and then walk about 0.1 miles to the left, to get to the trailhead. Mount Mitchell is a challenging hike to the highest peak east of the Mississippi River in the Black Mountain range. The trail starts from the Black Mountain Campground off of South Toe River Road, which is north of Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway. From the Mount Mitchell parking area or the park office to the trailhead is about 0.3 miles, and there is a fork in the trail, one way being 0.4 miles longer than the other. Take the Mount Mitchell Trail all the way to the summit parking area. From the summit parking area it is a quick 0.1 mile hike on a paved trail to the circular observation deck. Once at the Mount Mitchell summit and observation point, there are spectacular views. On a clear day you can see Grandfather and Table Rock in the distance. There is also there is a little museum, gift shop, snack stand, and restrooms. From the summit you have the option to do the extra 3-mile hike (round-trip) to Mount Craig via the Deep Gap Trail (Black Crest Trail) or return down the mountain from the way you came . Mount Craig is the second highest point in the eastern United States and you could knock off both of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi.

North Carolina Div. Of Travel and Tourism, 301 N. Wilmington Street , Raleigh, NC, 27601, Phone: 919-733-4171

Directions from Asheville, NC: Mount Mitchell State Park is located approximately 33 miles northeast of Asheville. To reach this trail, take the Big Laurel Gap exit, milepost #346, off the Blue Ridge Parkway, You will be on Forest Road 2074. Travel about 3 miles (passing Forest Road 472) to signs for the Black Mountain Campground. Trail begins in the upper loop.

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Reviews (786)
Photos (1,157)
Recordings (509)
Completed (2,065)
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Trisha Hill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 27, 2021
HikingMuddy

Amazing hike! We crossed paths with five other hikers and was able to talk with Sydnee from Boston. She turned around shortly after her father left her to return to the trail head. She was so concerned about him being concerned with her being out there alone. Super sweet! Found a pair of reading glasses sitting on a log and was hoping to catch up to a couple I thought they might belong to but wasn’t able to find them. The hike itself was muddy with only a few patches of ice. Took us 2.5 hours to reach the top and 2 to return to the trail head. I was hoping to run the entire return back but was not able to because it was so tree rooted and covered with quite a few rocks.

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Nischal Bajra
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 26, 2021
HikingIcy

Heavy Snow. Slippery but a nice gradual walk. Worth the walk.

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Mark Akers
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Hiking
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Genevieve Balogh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 24, 2021
HikingIcyMuddySnow

We really liked this trail. Neither of us are extremely experienced with hiking, but are both very active. We reached the summit in about 4 hours without spikes which was in hind sight, a really bad choice. The descent took us 3 hours with all of the ice. Recent conditions made it very icy in several locations and I would not recommend you hike without spikes.

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Leah Goldstein
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 24, 2021
HikingIcyMuddyRockySnow

I don’t know if I was having an off day but this trail was the most difficult one I’ve done recently. It’s a steady and challenging elevation gain. Could only go 3.5 miles in before having to call it because there was too much ice and we didn’t have spikes. Word from others on the trail is nobody made it to the top without them today. Completed 7.3 miles total and it was plenty for today. We’ll try this one again in the spring/summer when the ice is gone.

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Greg Tyree
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 23, 2021
HikingIcyMuddySnow

I fully expected to be one of only a handful of people hiking this trail on Saturday, but when I got there at 1030am the trail head parking lot was mostly full. At first this felt a bit like a death march. The trail is pretty isolated and there really isn't anything but elevation gain and a tree tunnel for a good portion of it, but when I made it up to about 4500ft and I started seeing all the snow and that really made a difference. Being in the snow made it feel like less of a slog for sure. Of course that brought with it the ice and man was there some serious ice. I don't know if micro spikes were 100% necessary, but they sure made it a lot less treacherous. I saw at least two people take crazy spills on the ice and it was really pretty scary. All of this being said, at about 6000ft the ice turned over into pure snow and the trail took on a whole different feel. The altitude made it a bit harder to breathe but that too made the whole experience all the more awesome. The summit made all six miles up totally worth it. It was clear and I could see forever. It took roughly 4 hours to get to the top and I just hung out there for a half hour or so. It took about 3 hours to get back down the mountain, and this is where the spikes really made the greatest difference. I really can't recommend spending the $20-$30 bucks just for your own safety. I got to the trailhead after sunset and just sat there and stared up at the stars for a while. It was a great hike on a great day and I can't recommend it enough. After doing this hike on a winter day I really can't imagine doing it any other time of year.

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Jason Bennett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 23, 2021
Hiking

Did this as an impromptu backpacking trip in late January when access to another trail was closed. Great hike. Note, though that this time of year it's common to encounter ice on the trail. We started to hit ice about 3 miles up and, no surprise, it increased as we went further. Crampons or spikes are pretty much a necessity after 4 miles.

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Grant Brad
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 19, 2021
HikingIcyMuddySnow

Park at the Black Mountain Campground lot and hop the fence to your right, the trailhead is marked ahead. Be careful driving to the lot as road was icy. Bathrooms are closed. Majestic trail... not easy by any means but the snowfall about halfway through made the trek well worth it. Around mile 2 the trail transitions from muddy to packed snow. A few patches of ice on the latter half of trail. I only had hiking boots and was fine, just pay attention to your footing and don't be a jamoke. Great visibility at the summit. Took 3 hours for ascent and 2 for the descent.

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Justin Mills
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 19, 2021
HikingGreat!IcyMuddyRockySnow

This was was definitely closer to 12 mi and took us about 6 hours. Bottom was muddy but we were hiking in snow after mile 2. You should seriously consider micro spikes as there was ice on some sections. We had limited visibility at the top but still worth the hike.

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Rachel Nesman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 18, 2021
HikingSnow

This was a tough but rewarding trail. We got there around 10:15 AM and it took us around 4 hours to get to the top of the mountain. We are pretty advanced hikers but had to stop several times or slow down due to snowy/icy conditions near the top, period cramps (TMI but real talk for y’all ladies out there), and layer changes. It is cold but BEAUTIFUL!! Bring your layers, hot hands, etc. and I would definitely recommend yaktrax/spikes although you don’t need them. Then it only took around 2 hours 45 minutes to get down including breaks. :)

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Olivia Hedges
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 17, 2021
RunningSnow

This trail maybe long, but it is steady. It isn’t really technical other than some roots at the bottom. A couple of stair steppers to bust your thighs, but you really don’t need a lot of experience for this one. Stamina, lunch, and layers will help. Crampons or spikes you do need. It was t shirt weather the first two miles and muddy. Crampons are helpful by the middle of the ascent. The upper portions of the ascent was a foot of snow with some ice - not too much, but crampons necessary and appropriate clothing. I could not feel my feet or hands for quite a while. I was glad to have insulated gloves, waterproof boots, a beanie, and a gaiter. It was a white out at the top today, but the trees covered in snow was gorgeous and there were mountain overlooks with clear skies about halfway up. I thought it was a really fun challenge. Took me 4 hours 9 minutes. All bathrooms are closed, so plan accordingly or expect to find your own.

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Josh McIntyre
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 17, 2021
Hiking

Beautiful and intense. Over a foot of snow on the Black Mountain ridge and connector to horse trail. Amazing and wonderful with well-marked trails. Snow slows you down but well worth it.

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Kinsey Hotchkiss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 11, 2021
HikingIcySnow

Definitely worth it, it is the biggest mountain east of the Mississippi, some serious street credit - it’s a very slow incline the entire way and not very hard at all if your an experienced hiker. There’s half mile markers the whole way which were nice and helpful. For someone who hikes in the white mountains of New Hampshire and out west this is not that hard of trail at all. Hiking it in the winter of course there will be ice and snow, it’s winter in North Carolina so definitely wear spikes, and of course as always the summit in winter will be cold. So bring extra layers. We started at 8 AM and finished by 2 PM, we 12 miles in total with a break at the top and along the way. Some bear signs so bring some mace if your going on an off day or alone just in case. We hiked it on Monday and only saw 2 other people and no one at the summit. I would suggest doing it out of season for sure since we saw so little people. Happy hiking :)

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Courtney Hotchkiss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 11, 2021
Camping

Started out this trail just after sunrise on a day that we knew we had a chance of flurries and some snow. The trail is pretty gradual the entire way. If you hike the white mountains or anywhere out west this will feel pretty moderate to be honest. A nice walk. The terrain and vegetation changes significantly about three times which is really fun to experience and really beautiful. Part of the trail was icy but the flurries helped get some traction with grip. If you’re doing this anytime soon I would bring micro spikes. No polls necessary. We did a total walking time of 5 hours 15 mins. The top was windy but there isnt excessive exposure out of tree line. The entire day was about 20° to 35°. There are trail markers throughout this that notify you every half mile which is super helpful and kind of a nice luxury to have. This time of year, January 11, the campground is closed and technically trail but there’s a very short gate that you can just walk right over and parking at South Toe. The road up is the scariest part if you dont have a winter-friendly car and theres snow. Tight turns, steep, switchbacks. Use the Blue trail marker

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Richard Hernasy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 8, 2021
BackpackingGreat!

Before I say anything else, I’d just like to address all the people out there who aren’t complete weenies...this hike is not THAT challenging, as all the try-hards are suggesting. Me and my buddy climbed without any spikes, and the last four miles back down we did at night. And we survived. Literally just look where you step and plant your foot firmly, you’ll be fine. All that said, the views are beautiful and it’s a great time. Do be prepared for the summit to be damn chilly though. Cause it is.

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Mitch Nostrand
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HikingIcy

12/30/20 - Be prepared for ice! My wife and I thought there would be some ice, but like fools we thought we could summit without spikes... we made it 5 miles up and had to turn around. It was only getting icier and icier after the 4th mile. Our pace was slowing, our gloves were getting wet, the wind was ripping, and the reward was not worth the risk so we turned around. The 2 stars is really due to conditions.. heavy fog, extreme winds, hail, and a lot of ice. I really look forward to doing this hike on a warm summer day sometime in the future.

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