Explore the most popular Backpacking trails near Burnsville with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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
muddy
rocky
5 days ago

Rocky and lots of roots. There were other hikers on the trail but not too crowded. I started at 7 am and saw a lot more people on the way down than going up. It rained (hard) the last two mile on the way down. Be aware that when it rains the trail basically becomes a creek bed which makes the footing interesting. Overall a challenging and fun hike.

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
muddy
rocky
9 days ago

Started this hike around 6am and took us about 3 hours to summit at a good pace. It was a little muddy but it was very rocky and rooty. We did this hike on a Monday so when we reached the summit there weren’t too many tourists but it’s not the same satisfaction as one would get reaching the top that wasn’t obtainable by a road. It was a clear day and the views from the top were amazing. Other than that, it was an awesome hike. We ended up doing Mout Craig as well which added an additional hour. The way down felt like it took forever but after a previous 15 mile hike the day before and doing this hike, our bodies were exhausted.

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.

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

hiking
muddy
18 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

Excellent! Challenging but not extreme. Always enjoy the changing climate and atmosphere as you go higher in elevation. I only kept back from five stars because even though I said to myself that it wouldn’t bother me, it actually was disappointing to reach the top and be met with the unnatural landscape of the observation tower, the stone pathway and the tourist in flip flops.

Really enjoyed this trail. As other commenters have noted, it’s longer then listed. From the trailhead parking near the campground to the summit and back is about 13 miles. For those in good physical shape, it’s not terribly hard (but not easy either; it’s earned it’s difficult rating). I took my 8 year old son with me and we moved at about 42-45 min a mile going up and about 37 - 39 min a mile on the way back. We only took two 5 minute breaks on the way up and back and about 20 min at the summit. Again, we had a great time!

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

Nice day hike. We took it pretty easy and made the summit in under 4 hrs. Conditions were good and views were clear. Considering this climb takes you to the highest point in the eastern US the trail itself was surprisingly generous with plenty of spots that leveled out among some moderately steep switchbacks. Most of the views heading up to the summit are thanks to powerline cutouts that run up the mountain. They are stunning but dont expect to get great pics without the lines in your view. The summit is a tourist haven. Coming off the the trail onto a concrete walkway with people getting out of their cars in flip flops and carrying their mountain dew to the summit kinda takes away from the natural beauty and sense of accomplishment. I dont know that I would hike it again but it is nice to have on the "completed" list.

hiking
rocky
27 days 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.

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.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Avoid the pedestrians at the summit, they are onlookers, gawkers, and trend seekers. Do you want to hike 6 miles to an overly dense gaggle of tourists?

today's weather made this hike perfect.

hiking
1 month ago

did the whole thing in about 5 hours, but I was hauling to beat sundown. bring a minimum of 2 liters of water and plenty of snacks. I was starving by the time I got to the top

My husband and I hiked this trail from the parking area currently designated which is roughly .5 miles from the campground. It was tough and awesome! It took us 4 hours and 40 minutes to get to the summit from our car and about 4 hours to hike down. I'd estimate we took a 10 minute break every hour. We are not experienced hikers but are active. The only thing I would have liked is more lookout spots along the way. There were virtually none. A fella (ultra trail runner) who knew this trail well stopped to talk to us and told us because of the changes in parking the round trip was closer to 14 miles which matched what my Garmin said. I'm glad we hiked this trail!

backpacking
1 month 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.

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
blowdown
bridge out
bugs
muddy
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Warning: unless you start at the edge the Black Mountain Campground, this is a 12.5 mile hike minimum. The Mitchell Trail straight up and back is a rocky, rooty and often muddy mess, but one of the best ways to see the change in elevation on flora and fauna. The summit was low 40’s, windy and foggy. Upon return, the trailhead was sunny and 80 degrees!

Great trail, you get to see lots of nice natural communities as you go up in elevation. I did a relaxed 3 day sleeping at the Higgens bald site night one and on the western most Chestnut Knob the second night. No water near the Chestnut Knob site but otherwise nice. The last few miles of the trail are on a gravel road (if you go counter clockwise on the loop). But it was closed as of 05/10/19 so it wasn't too bad. The parking area was also closed as of the above date, So you parked 0.5 miles from the parking area on this map. I went mid week and only saw a few people, most up near the state park/summit. Overall a very nice few days.

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