Explore the most popular birding 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.

hiking
3 days ago

I agree with other reviewers, that the classification of easy for this trail is off a bit. If you are out of shape like me, I would classify it as moderate to hard. Experienced hikers who are in good shape would probably find it easy to moderate. The Commissary trail segment is fairly easy, but the uphill and downhill sections are considerably harder, especially in the very wet conditions I experienced. It is a great hike to escape hot temperatures in August. I was up on 8/12 and the temp was mid-60s. The view from the summit is worth the hike, though you may find it a little crowded from April to October.

This was a nice hike! Overall, it wasn't as hard as we thought it would be, but it was definitely challenging. It had rained a lot the night before we hiked and the trail was extremely muddy and wet, with water running down the trail in a stream at some points. I think we could have done it a bit faster if not for that. The trail surface is definitely rocky and rooty, and I would highly highly advise hiking boots. We started at 6:45am, summited at 10:30am, left the top at 11am, and finished around 2pm. It was cloudy at the top with pretty much no views, oh well. More about the journey for this one. We were the first hikers of the day to summit and encountered about 30 people on the way back down, about half of which were backpacking and half of which were day hiking. Other notes: it's definitely longer than 10.4 miles if you start at the parking lot and end at the top of the observation tower. By our estimates/GPSes, over 11 miles. Also, there are a few switchbacks on the trail that you could miss if you weren't paying attention. We encountered a group of people who were lost on a false trail and we almost went down the wrong one once.

Loved this section of the AT! So beautiful. Took my girls (age 7 & 10) backpacking for the weekend and this was great for them as well. They are pretty tough kiddos and did great. We stayed at the Mountain Harbour B&B, and after an awesome, huge breakfast, we were shuttled to Carvers Gap and started our hike back to 19E. Big Bald was intense but we loved every minute of it. This is defiantly a section I would love to repeat.

hiking
7 days ago

Nice stroll to the falls. Harder climb up right side of falls, especially after a day of rain.

hiking
8 days ago

Paved trail to the summit. Slightly steep but well worth the trek up for the 360 degree views.

hiking
9 days ago

Made an over night loop of this trail and a few others. The Mount Mitchell trail is fine, plenty of water sources, really gradual pace to the top and well traveled. The summit was crowed but pretty much what you would expect if you've seen mountains before. The rest of the trails are where this place shines. Every thousand feet the surrounding radically changed from mossy woods, to pine forests and dense brush. The Pisgah is always rewarding.

Challenging hike with lots of rocks and roots. Dense forest most of the way and good views at the top if you get a clear day (hit or miss). Was heavily trafficked at the top by people who drove up. For us, it was a do it just to check the box hike but not the most beautiful or rewarding we have done. 3.5 hours up and 2.5 down. Early morning start (7am) meant cool temps throughout but still very humid in July. Cool that it's the highest peak East of the Mississippi.

Was more of a walk up to the summit then a hike, nicely paved and great views from every direction. They have built this for all ages so that all can reach the highest summit on the Appalachian Trail!! There are trails to hike when you get there. Beautiful!!

Highly recommend. Beautiful 360 degree views. Areas of open fields with wildflowers. Areas for camping/shelter and water sources. Would make for a great hike in, overnight stay. It rained on us all day which made for some very wet terrain. Even areas of standing water. Difficult at times but never a regret.

I think this is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in western North Carolina. While the view from the base is really nice the view you get from the top is spectular.

Be ready for plenty of roots and rock on this trail. There are a few outlooks but the power lines spoil some of the best views.There is a nice creek near the half way point and a few more near the four mile mark. The forestry young men and women are doing a wonderful job on trail maintenance. Having make this hike 30 times I can tell you it can be a challenge but well worth it.

Well. We had Mount Mitchell on our bucket list for a while and decided to tackle it around New Years 2018. It was a challenge for sure as much of the trail was iced over and we made good use of the spikes on our trekking poles. Several times we had to cut a new path around the ice and we fell and slid couple of times in dramatic fashion, which was nice to add to our story when we shared the tale of our adventure with amazed friends and family. This hike started as a fun adventure because of the road down to the trail head, the beautiful stream, and nicely packed trail at the beginning. The fun soon faded though as the views never changed and those we did enjoy included power lines. Perhaps we are just spoiled hiking snobs! We read reviews that described this hike as technical but didn't appreciate the validity of that until we were on it and realized that this is a hike you do to DO, not to SEE. Your hiking skills will be tested as you navigate roots, ice (in winter), and sometimes vertical climbs. As you approach the summit, there are signs that teach you about the area and you go through some beautiful forested areas. Emerging from the trail onto the tourist sidewalk was humbling. As we struggled to eat our lunch with frozen hands and melt the water in our bottles, we forlornly watched warm travelers return to their cars, knowing what lay ahead of us on the descent. About three miles from the end, we began singing, "this is the trail that does not end...." Seeing the bridge over the stream at the end felt great, and as we climbed into our car and blasted the heater, we agreed it felt good to have a check mark next to Mount Mitchell, we felt awesome for having done it in freezing temps over ice, and that we did not feel the need to do it again. Hot soup, homemade bread, and a thick beer back at the cabin were much appreciated and we enjoy knowing that we did it.

hiking
18 days ago

Beautiful dense forest scenery is the majority of this hike, a few views along the power lines at different points of the ascent, still pretty in my opinion but no denying the best views aren’t until the summit. Challenging hike.

Incredible hike. One of the most serene but strenuous hikes I’ve done thus far. If you want something that’s challenging but doable in a FULL day this is it. Took me about 5.5 hours to do the whole thing out and back on the blue diamond trail. I’m young and an avid hiker but still not in the best shape so go for it if you think you can. 4 stars because I absolutely loved the hike up and some of the views on the way up (besides the power lines) but if you are going for the summit view, I recommend passing on this trek. Absolutely not worth going into this over crowded tourist spot where you walk into a parking lot. The decent was more tough in my opinion just because you were so focused on dodging roots and rocks. Overall, do it for the hike, not the view.

beautiful, even when it's a torrential downpour.

This hike will make you feel alive again!!

My wife and I are training for a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike and there aren't too many places in the southeast to replicate the elevation change of that hike. For that reason we started at the top of the Mount Mitchell Trail and hiked it from the top down, rather than starting at the Black Mountain Campground as described in the trail summary. This is a genuinely strenuous hike and fairly technical in spots. Rocks and roots require you to keep your eyes on the trail most of the time, especially on the descent. While there are virtually no long range views, the beauty and serenity of the forest through which you are hiking are sufficient to make this an enjoyable experience. The hike back up the mountain is difficult, to say the least, at nearly 4,000 feet gained in about 5.5 miles. We decided to push the pace due to impending darkness and made it back up in the same three hours it took to descend. Next time we will definitely leave earlier and take our time on the ascent. This hike, starting and finishing at the highest spot east of the Mississippi, gave us a great indication of our fitness level for the Grand Canyon hike. We saw numerous younger folks hiking without trekking poles. I highly recommend them for those of us with 60+ year old knees.

30 hikes from Black Mountain Campground and back so far. I would like to thank the forest service workers for their excellent maintain of this trail. The scenery would be much better from the lookout spots if it wasn't for the power lines. You will find at least two decent water sources unless you take the side trail to Higgins Bald where you will find a creek crossing the trail. Be aware that you will go through a area where there is poison oak on both sides of the trail. Wear decent hiking shoes or boots because much of the trail will be roots and rocks.

hiking
24 days ago

just did hike to big tom turn off but even cutting it short like that its a great trail.

Standard southeast forest trail to the top. Great views. Go on a clear day.

Just did an overnight hike on Mt. Mitchell trail a few days ago. We started at the black mountain campground. The weather was gloomy for most of the day but in my opinion perfect because the sun wasn’t beating down on us all day. When we got towards the top it started to clear up and the sun came out. Definitely a difficult hike, but worth every minute and every pain. We stopped at the top for about an hour to take pictures, grab snacks, and check out the gift shop. Was a little bit annoying to see people that drove up there buying memorabilia for a summit they didn’t conquer.... but to each their own I guess. After our break we headed back down to commissary hill to set up camp. Quite a lot of people camp there but there’s plenty of room and a good water source 2 minutes from the area. Unfortunately, it rained all night so we couldn’t set up a fire or hangout outside. Next morning we hiked back down and there’s a river at the end which was so nice to get into a soak my sore feet and cool off for a bit. Anyways a couple lessons learned for me as this was my first overnight hike and first difficult hike. I had plenty of snacks but I wish I would’ve brought sandwiches for the summit, I don’t know why but a sandwich would’ve been so nice. About 30 min into the hike my left knee started to ache with every step, thank god for all the walking sticks people left at the trailhead. I had one the entire way which relieved some pressure but I’m definitely looking into getting some trekking poles for next time. I also will start carrying some icy hot or tiger balm for muscle aches. I was carrying ibuprofen which helped some. I didn’t have hiking shoes, but I wore my military work boots which were just as good as far as grip goes but too heavy. I invested in some salomon pathfinders the day after we got back from the trip. My pack was way too big. I didn’t take the time to look for a good pack that would fit for me, I just bought off of facebook marketplace. Don’t get me wrong, the pack I got is quality, just not right for my size. It treated me well on the trail I just think a smaller pack would have my back feeling a little less strained. All in all, amazing hike. The overnight parking is just before the bridge that leads to the campground. You will lose service going out there so I suggest using a paper map or downloading the map on your phone so you can still use it when offline.

Beautiful views from all around. Fairly easy and paved.

Beautiful views from all around. Fairly easy and paved.

Nice, short trail to the summit of the highest point east of the Mississippi River.

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!

A 6hr round trip going up the Mt Mitchell trail and down Higgins Bald. I can’t really recommend Higgins Bald as it’s a touch overgrown and the roots here are particularly evil. This is not a “scenic” trail, but the woods are beautiful and peaceful. Being from the Midwest, this hike was epic. To walk out onto the summit after climbing nearly 3700 ft is a feeling I won’t forget soon. It is hard but completely doable. Highly recommend hiking boots with solid ankle support and good traction. I didn’t use trekking poles but they would have made my life a lot easier! It’s definitely a popular hike; I got to the trailhead at 8:30am on a Saturday and the parking lot was already full! Passed a few people going up and even more going back down.

*Be warned that it is very likely the summit will be covered in clouds and fog! A man I met on the top said he’s done this hike 3 times and seen only clouds. It’s still definitely worth doing in my opinion!

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this on a cloudy day, so the top out at the summit was disappointing. However the hike is nice enough. Too many 4 and 5 stars for this, though, I think. Also, it is not easy, I would say moderate to strenuous - the last mile is straight up Mitchell, over lots of boulders and roots, it's basically a stairclimber through a beautiful cedar and spruce forest. The Commissary is 1.2, then camp Alice and Mitchell portions are about 1.1 to 1.4 to the summit, and is very strenuous. It's an OK hike. Better than Mt Pisgah trail for sure. There are lots of pretty wildflowers. If it is cloudy, it's a 3, if it's clear, it's a 4.5 for the views.

hiking
1 month ago

Short loop through high elevation pine forest. Lots of interpretive signs tell about the unusual plants, algae, and fungi that grow up here. Some rocks and roots in the treadway, but far easier than most of the other trails on Mt. Mitchell. Provides a nice, less crowded, alternate route back to the parking lot after you have visited the summit of Mt. Mitchell.

Paved trail to the summit of Mt. Mitchell, highest point in the Appalachian Mountains. Not really a hike but more of a walk to the summit. Trail is somewhat steep, but rest benches are provided at several places. Remember that the air is thin at this elevation, so you will get winded faster than usual. This is a nice option for people who cannot do one of the park's harder trails.

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