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.

Great hike! I found Plenty of water on the trail(or a short distance off the trail). I started at bowlers creek which I found to be decent sized with pools big enough for a quick dip about waist deep. The only down fall is the amount of hikers and tourist you encounter as you get closer to MT Mitchell. I’d love to do it again in the winter possibly.

One of the best backpacking trips I’ve done. We chose the campsite on the top of Big Hump, and although it got super windy at one point and we were clouded in most of the time that night, we woke up in the morning to clear skies and a spectacular view of the mountains in every direction, and it was so worth the trek up there.

My first time backpacking with my ASU class and had a great experience! And the sunset from the top of the little hump was so beautiful!

I hiked this in 2 days. Water is available at Deep gap but you have to hunt for it Down an old access road. it makes no sense that the description of this trail on this site says it features a river......Bolens creek is not a river. The biggest feature is the black mountain crest...... the 6, 6000+ft peaks you have to climb.

Great balds with fantastic views. The most beautiful place I have been so far.

Absolutely beautiful! Will repeat again soon.

Busy on a summer Saturday.

My first real hike. Beast, grueling, unbelievable views, beautiful trail, and would do it all over again!

Best hike I've ever done in 40 plus years of being alive.
Time this hike around rhododendron and azalea season in mid June and you'll say the same thing. From the start at Carver's Gap, the AT wastes little time in the WOW factor as the trail ascends the incredible Round Bald which is a haven for Catawba Rhodo's and azaleas. After a brief dip at Engine Gap, the AT ascends the smaller ,but equally beautiful Jane Bald. By the time you reach Grassy Ridge Bald your senses will be in overdrive.

After a section through wooded areas, the AT comes near the Overmountain Shelter, which is a must to check out, then a steep ascent Yellow Mountain, and then the grand finale-the awesome ascent up Little Hump and Big Hump mountains. Both are vast balds that have awesome, grand views from the top. The AT, after the Humps, descends the Roans down to Doll Flats through a knee shredder of steep rock steps and rooty surfaces.

It's just an epic hike that we plan on doing every June, and probably October. Wonderful views of Mount Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain and countless other peaks and ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

backpacking
1 month ago

This trail is no joke. We started at bowlens creek carrying our 40lb backpacks. Thought it would be good preparation for our Mt Whitney hike. We are great shape as we have just ran in a half marathon two weeks ago. But it kicked our but. I would not recommend carrying anything other than a day pack on this hike. Make sure you bring plenty of water as we brought 5 liters and could of used more for sure and couldn’t find any water source. Not as many great views as you would expect since most of the hike is under canopy. By far the hardest hike I ever done, specially with the pack. Tool 9 hours to complete.

Hiked this section with my son two days ago. Challenging weather and conditions at times but well worth the unparalleled views from the grassy balds when the clouds disappeared. Be prepared as the weather can change in an instant and there is no cover on the balds if you are caught there. Shuttled from Mountain Harbor and would highly recommend this as part of your logistics if hiking point to point. Overall awesome and I will be back again sometime hoping for more consistent sun and perhaps when the rhododendrons are in bloom!

Amazing section of the AT. Spent the night at Overmountain shelter with 20 thru hikers. awesome experience, rained the entire time and never saw a view.

One of my favorite hikes of all time

Just did it may 2018. Trails in great shape, worth the price of admission (hard hike)

trail running
2 months ago

This can be a very tough trail. It's actually a bit over 12 miles. Its not too hard if you go from Mt Mitchell to Bowlens. If you start from Mt Mitchell and then come back up to Mt Mitchell, then the trail becomes very tough. There's suppose to be water at Deep Gap but I didn't find any.

Awesome trip, shuttled up to carvers gap and hiked back to the hostel. plan 15-17 actual miles if you are going to explore, check out the red barn, etc. makes a great overnight.

Great hike.

Definitely an amazing trail. Well worth going to. It had beautiful sunsets and amazing view because there were very few trees. It was an amazing place to bring a drone or backpack. Just has ridges that go on for miles and allow for good areas to have camp and fire pits in the rocks while besides it in a tent on soft grasses. Awesome place.

Decided on a whim to go hike this trail. Started at Bolen's Creek a little after sunrise and planned to go to Mt. Mitchell and back before dark. Success! Got the round trip in 11 hours 20 minutes. The first few miles were like an old road bed or four-wheeler track, for about an hour or so. Fairly steep for an old road and lots of loose rocks, so watch your footing. When I got to Celo Knob, I bushwacked to the top in an attempt to find the USGS marker, but couldn't find it after about 20 minutes of searching. Thankfully after this the trail got some variety to it, with more undulating singletrack trail. There are several steep descents going into the gaps, so again just be careful- it's a long way back if you get hurt. Saw some super cool changes in scenery and all sorts of stuff you just don't normally see around these parts. Got to the top by 12:30, ate some lunch and aired out the feet, then headed back down. Made faster time coming down, for sure, though I did stop to bushwack to the top of Gibbs Mountain. Didn't find a USGS marker, but I did find a pile of rocks on top! Considering I didn't really prepare for this hike, I think it went fine. I started with all the water I'd need for the day, about 8 liters, and drank it all. I think if you had a small filter like the Sawyer Squeeze and a bandanna as a prefilter, you could start the hike with as little as 2 or 3 liters and be good on water. Coming back down, my knees took a beating! Going back down those last few miles of old road bed was pretty close to torture. I'll come back again after I get my joints conditioned a little more. Highly recommend this trail as a round trip day hike to people who are used to hiking at least 15-20 miles.

I’ve hiked this section quite a few times and it never gets old. One of the most beautiful hikes in Eastern US in my opinion. Be prepared for any kind of weather.

Great trail. First and last 4 miles were most difficult.

backpacking
3 months ago

Absolutely incredible hike. Best I've ever been on. We went Bolens Creek to Deep Gap and back.

Parking is available off Water Shed road across from the cemetery. Do not park on Water Shed road.

The first 5 miles you gain over 3,000ft in elevation with no views until you reach the top. If you do not know what that's like, it's like hell. You will only make it to Celo Knob (the top) if you are in good physical shape. The ground is littered with quartz, rose quartz and mica. Our boots looked like they had been sprinkled with fairy dust after the first 5 miles to the junction of the Celo Knob trail.

We took a detour at this point up the Celo Knob trail about a half mile up to the CK summit. The side trail was not very well maintained and we could not find the USGS seal. I wouldn't recommend this detour as the views are better from the CK/BMCT junction.

Beginning at 5.0 miles, you're in a meadow with 360 degree views from about 6,000 ft and it is incredible for about 2 miles passing Horse Rock.

Around mile 7 you really start to realize you're in Canada. As the trail winds past Gibbs Mountain and on to Winter Star you begin seeing the craziest types of moss consuming the trees and quartz boulders around you. It snows 12 months a year at this altitude and the forest is unlike anything you will find south of Michigan. Spruce and Evergreen trees thrive here.

Once you begin climbing Winter Star mountain you really start having to work for it. Grabbing hold of moss covered roots, finding footholds in exposed quartz, the climb is steep and jungle-like. Then you emerge at the summit with the USGS summit seal in plain view.

Coming down Winter Star you descend into Deep Gap. They've had some recent bear encounters in the area and signs are posted. We had no issues after taking the proper precautions.

We did this hike in 3 days, 2 nights. The second night we spent on Winter Star mountain with torrential rain and 30+ mph gusts which our 3-day forecast did not predict. The weather is notoriously unpredictable at this altitude. We were prepared and stayed warm and dry throughout the night but I also make the best hammock shelters my side of the Mississippi. Be prepared for changes in the weather pattern. Do not rely solely on a forecast. Also, you should probably not camp on Winter Star. We had to harvest icicles for water. Camp in Deep Gap where there is a fresh spring not far; about 1000ft down the Colbert Ridge trail which is beautifully marked in a clearing.

Fairy dust, HUGE quartz and mica deposits, a Canadian ecosystem, emaculant views of Appalachia, moss covered jungles, Bob cats, potentially black bears, mountain summits, 6,000 ft meadows, and fresh water springs are what you can expect to see on this amazing one of a kind hike- that is.... if you can make the first 5 miles.

Happy hiking!

We go in the summertime. Love the campground so much.. it is next to a beautiful stream. The showers are nice to have since we hike too. Loved the hike to Mt. Mitchell!!

Spent the night at the shelter and had some challenging weather on our hike out to 19. Harbor hostel folks took great care of us with a fairly priced shuttle back to carvers. Should have at least a couple overnighters in before attempting this one IMO.

Beautiful views , diversified terrain with some pretty strenuous climbs .... 50 mile an hour winds on one of the peaks .... significant downhill section near end ... if you are looking for a hostel / bar / food at the end of this section try The Station at 19E , they really take care of hikers .

It’s steep at first but pence your on top it’s beautiful

I’ve never hiked the entire black mountain crest trail but this review is for Ben Clark. What an incredible story man, but I can’t help but laugh because I’m the guy on the atv ! I offered to help you guys out but you didn’t really seem like you knew where you were going or where you came from. I thought you were just some college kids from cattail creek hiking up to the mine so we never thought anything of it. You guys were on the old mining roads and most of them aren’t on google maps. Don’t go by just what you saw though man the views are amazing up there and I don’t have any idea how you ran out of water because it’s everywhere lol. We’ve got property at the base of the mountain so I know the area pretty well. Shoot me an email if you want more info on how to get around without getting lost. Sorry y’all had to had to suffer but when we came back down we never passed you so we went on to the house.

PS: I have to rate the trail so I’m going with 5 Stars. I’ll hike it someday but I don’t live there and my time is always limited. That area has become my favorite place on earth and I intend to live there permanently one day.

Do not underestimate the difficulty of this trail. First of all, if you are climbing from Bowlens Creek, the first 4.5 miles is the EASIEST climbing portion of the trail. For some people to say that the first 4.5 miles is the hardest, they obviously didn’t complete the entire trail. The AllTrails app is incorrect, it is more like 12.5 miles to Mount Mitchell from Bowlens Creek. We completed our hike in January of 2018 and the trail was very icy, making it very difficult to climb the rock scrambling portions of the trail. It really doesn’t get difficult until you start making your approach to Winter Star Mountain. From Winter Star Mountain to Mount Mitchell is some of the most strenuous hiking that I have done considering the iciness of the trail. There is a portion on Big Tom were there are ropes attached to two separate angled rock faces to assist in your scramble up the rock. I would recommend doing this trail in the summer when you do not have to worry about ice. Also, DO NOT expect to camp at Mount Mitchell in the winter. The campground is closed during winter months and they do not allow camping. DO NOT take on this trail unless you are a well prepared, experienced backpacker. We spoke to the park ranger and he said they are constantly rescuing unprepared, inexperienced hikers because they bite off more than they can chew. Luckily we were well prepared and were able to finish.

Wonderfully difficult climb to one of the best trails in western North Carolina!!!!

The Sound of Music will be what you are thinking of when you get up on the balds. Spectacular! I hike a small section of this in the summer. Going back this fall to camp. Prepare to be WOW'D!

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