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Mount Mitchell from Black Mountain Campground via Higgins Bald

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Pisgah National Forest

Mount Mitchell from Black Mountain Campground via Higgins Bald is a 18.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Burnsville, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 18.6 miles Elevation Gain: 4,314 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash




nature trips

bird watching



wild flowers


Start from the information sign where you park and head into the campground to access trail TR190 - Mt. Mitchell Trail. From there take a left on Higgins Bald Trail. After crossing Setrock Creek you can set up camp in the area with fire-rings. It's a little off the trail but nice and spacious while just a quick walk back to the creek for water. The next morning, continue on Higgins Bald Trail joining Mt Mitchell trail again for the ascent to the top. After passing Buncombe Horse trail on the left, turn left onto Commissary trail where you can set up camp for night two. Then continue the trail to the top.

Wow! Very uphill with packs. Would do again as a day hike.

5 months ago

Started at 4:30am, rainy cold day, windy and ice at top. Got rescued by park ranger at summit so didn’t have to walk back down. My hair was wet so conditions were challenging but I did find out how awesome hiking poles are! If you see my yak tracks on the trail... I’m not coming back for them so please use them courtesy of me :)

9 months ago

Great trail, loved the variety. Went the wettest of weekends but still had fun, Higgins bald campsite is great too

11 months ago

Great but very challenging hike. We backpacked our gear to the summit, then to the Mount Mitchel Campground, which was full, but we made it to Commissary Campground, which is amazing! Great views and I cannot stress challenging with 35 lbs of gear lol

Tue Mar 19 2019

I’ve hiked this trail twice and am about to go again. Very strenuous but a great experience! Take snacks and plenty of water. Trail is well marked with Blue Diamonds. It would be nice if there were more signs showing “distance from summit” and/or “distance from trailhead”.

Tue Aug 07 2018

Whew this was maybe the the toughest trail I've ever done. It's dark in that forest. I can imagine Hansel and Gretel sitting there waiting for their parents to come back for them. It rained part of the trip but it was refreshing not annoying. The path is rocky and covered with tree roots. The views up at the parking lot are fantastic. I only did half this trail, I got picked up at the top.

Tue May 15 2018

I've been able to complete most of this trail 2 times and while the views on the way up are slightly obstructed, you cannot beat the experience in terms of terrain, ecosystem changes as you move further up the trail, and the remoteness mid-mountain. Awesome experience!

Fri Jan 26 2018

I have now hiked this trail 28 times. Looking forward to my 29th and 30th as my goal was 30. It is a good workout and there are two major water sources along the way. The trail is well maintained. You won't find many decent views of the surrounding mountains or the valley below.The Higgins Bald Trail has a waterfall but it is only decent after a heavy rainfall.

Thu Jul 20 2017

Bob.... how long does it take to summit and what time to start from trail head? I want to hike this soon but don't want to hike back at dark.

Fri Mar 31 2017

I have hiked this trail 23 times from Black Mountain Campground to the summit and back to the campground. After a good rainfall the Higgins Bald Trail has a decent waterfall on the left.

Fri Jan 04 2013

Hiked this with a fellow climber in January 2013 as a prep for a March Aconcagua climb. We carried 60 lb packs. Its really a great hike but you needs micro spikes and gaiters as a minimum this time of year. We speed climbed it to the summit and back to beat a huge incoming blizzard. Windy, a bit exposed, but nothing well equipped folks can't handle. Will climb it again next winter as its a great workout.

8 months ago

10 months ago

11 months ago

Sat May 25 2019