Tough hike, but worth it!

hiking
bugs
1 day ago

Overall by these comments and reviews I was scared I couldn’t do it. But overall these comments may be a little negative. This trail is not strenuous it’s just long and a steady climb. Anyone can do it and you don’t have to have hiking poles unless you use them all the time now. When reading these reviews i was scared I’d have to buy some and I’m glad I didn’t. For reference, I’m 28 yrs old and 18 lbs over weight and I try to walk or do Waterrock Knob for exercise. So I’m not in great shape. I’m in the middle of my weight loss and have lost 17 lbs. I decided to make a detailed review since I thought all these reviews tended to be harsh on the trail. It is difficult for North Carolina hikes but compared to Adirondacks-this was easy. I’ve only done 6 hikes in the Adirondacks and they all were harder than this. I went with my two sisters and one of them hikes in Colorado and she kept saying this was not a hard trail. For a hobby hiker like me, I was huffing and puffing but wouldn’t say it was strenuous. Hard because of the duration but anyone can do it :) Here is a detailed review. We started at 11:20am due to some unplanned delays & got down by 6:30? 2.5 miles into it felt pretty good and felt that these reviews were kinda harsh/ I was very scared to do this trail so far so good. 1hr and 40 miin into it. 2.7 miles done. 3.1 miles it for a little a harder. 2hrs since started. 2hrs and 8 minutes. 3.5 miles done. My sisters are ahead of me by half a mile and keep making fun of how slow I am going. (Not cool but trying to Show for context). 1/2 miles to go. 2hrs and 45 mins. 1 mile to go. 5 done. 3hrs. .5 to go. Stopped for a break 3min. 3hrs & 20 minutes. Feeling ready to finish. 3hrs & 32 minutes to top! With no breaks longer than 3 minutes. My goal was 3hrs and 20 because I was so hoping to at least be about average. Sadly too was cloudy with no view I’d almost recommend to anyone to drive to the top, take your pictures and then hike up. It’s the only way to really get a view that doesn’t change. Ate protein bar & banana. 3hrs down! Little slower than I thought it would be. Pretty steady.

Hiked 3/2020 This hike is amazing and well worth it! The sense of accomplishment that accompanies summiting the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi is huge. Cresting the last ridge and seeing all the tourists stare at you with your hiking gear and determined demeanor is awesome. However, this trail should definitely be labeled strenuous and is not for the out-of-shape or faint-of-heart. The trail is almost completely straight up, with only a few spots that are level. Make sure to bring PLENTY of water and the proper gear. The temperature drops significantly at the summit, so pack layers. The trail took me and my buddy about 6 hours total. All in all great experience, 10/10

After finishing this hike I feel very accomplished, and tired! We took our time going up and stopped for several breaks. It ended up taking almost 5 hours to reach the summit. Going down took about 3.5. A few scenic views and one stream crossing about halfway up. This is a beautiful, well marked trail. Hiking poles were a big help on the trip back down. The trail is a constant climb, with a few short level sections. We have hiked steeper trails, but this was the longest continual uphill trail we have done. Give yourself plenty of time and bring water and snacks.

6.5 hours roundtrip. 3 hours 25 min up, 18 min stoppage at the top and about 3 hours down

hiking
muddy
5 days ago

Took my friend and I about 7 hours to complete, this included a 1 hour break at the top. Trail starts out at a campground. The first 2.5 miles are not very scenic but is super peaceful with lots of forest like greenery. Little pockets of views then pop up for the next few miles, we took a few short breaks on the way up to enjoy some snacks at these pockets. The trail towards the 4th mile started getting pretty muddy but the rocks and roots help with the footing. You can tell when you near the top, the amount of people definitely rises since there are a few campgrounds and a parking lot at the top. I wish the top was a bit less crowded but the views were definitely enjoyable! Going up takes a lot longer than the down since the whole mountain is a progressive up hill until the top. Overall worth it!

hiking
bugs
muddy
7 days ago

We hiked this trail as an out and back, with an overnight stay at the Big Bald Shelter. The trail itself is in great shape, but muddy in quite a few places after a fair amount of rain. I'm in average shape, and this trail was a bit harder than I planned for with a steady incline for the first 6 miles or so. The shelter was a welcome relief after that! The shelter itself was a typical AT shelter, but the bugs were insane! Lots of wildlife on this trail, we even spotted a bob cat checking out our camp as we were breaking it down! The last 8 miles were fairly easy, and led to the Big Bald, which had amazing views! A quick heads up on the Big Bald, make sure the doggos stay leashed, as a group of ornithologists were doing a bird study, netting and banding birds, who were all super nice and thanked us for having ours leashed. All in all, 5 stars for this hike. I'll definitely have to do this one again for the amazing views at the end!

hiking
12 days ago

Beautiful trail with a canopy of trees and plants. Be prepared for change of weather at any time! High gusty winds above 5000’ - cool rain as well, no views this time, but worth every step.

Gnarly solo overnighter. I started at Colbert Ridge Trail Head at 1:30pm on Friday, 6-26-20, and got back at 12pm Saturday. Used the all trails app throughout the loop and it was extremely helpful and accurate for navigation. Hiking up Colbert Ridge was some kinda slog...if camping on the ridge, make sure you re-up your water at the stream near the top because the next water isn’t until the bottom of Big Tom Spur. Once on the BMC ridge, there are several good campsites at Deep Gap. I decided to press on, went up and over Potato Hill, and didn’t find another campsite until Cat Tail Peak at 6600 feet elevation. Camping up there was like camping on the planet Endor. I tried like hell but couldn’t get a fire going because everything is sogging wet and covered with a fine, green layer of damp moss. So bring some fire starters in your kit. I didn’t see another campsite between Cat Tail and Big Tom Spur so plan accordingly. Once you get to the stream at Buncombe Horse trail, it’s a pretty mellow and extremely beautiful descent. In all, the loop took me about 9 hours of hiking. It was challenging and really fun. Would highly recommend.

This was a very challenging hike but extremely fun. I would recommend checking the forecast at the top before you go. I hiked all the way up to find continuous cloud cover with no visibility. It’s about the journey and not the destination right?!

Used Mickey from Rebel Hiker Shuttle ( 8282848781) to pick me up at the top of Mt Mitchell and drop me off at Bowlens Creek in the morning. Reasonable rates. highly recommend if you need a shuttle. The hike is very difficult but the views are great. one of the best hikes in the Southeast. great fe training for bigger objectives out west as well

muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
17 days ago

Not a recreational trail for novices or enthusiasts. Prepared hikers face an old trail of exposed roots, loose rocks, and an unforgiving incline. 1/3 of this trail was muddy despite dry weather leading up to the hike. That said, it's a beautiful green tunnel, lined with mountain laurel, rhododendron, and galax. The trail was dappled with sunlight and the trickle of water along exposed rock faces was encouraging. Small waterfalls crossed the trail every 2 miles or so. Gorgeous overlooks at the switchbacks leading up to Commissary Hill (flat) and along the ridge leading to the Camp Alice trailhead (the backside (and insanely technical trail) of the Mt Mitchell summit). The last push to the summit (on the Mitchell trail from Commissary Ridge) passes through a foggy, fragrant pine forest on USF land, so you'll have educational signage to signal you're nearing the peak. This meets up with the Balsam Nature Trail, the area you're most likely to run into day hikers who drove up or camped near the old logging site, so I'd be conservative with your face mask here. In the past -and when there has been good weather- the view from the viewing deck is magnificent. However, the deck is currently closed in an effort to control transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic. However you made it to the summit, check out Elisha Mitchell's funeral cairn and plaque. He's located right under the platform, where all the tourists are taking selfies (FYI- you have signal here). A short jaunt down the paved Summit Trail leads to a parking area (you can shuttle down if you call in advance), a museum (closed), a gift shop (closed) and a bathroom (open (watch out for the hand dryers)). I took the Campground spur trail to the Camp Alice trail to meet back up with Commissary to avoid crowds and look for wildlife. I think it added approximately .25 on the easy walk back on Commissary, but I passed the gorgeous campground (on Commissary (Camp Alice Campground is exposed and not so great on bad weather days) ) and got extra views of the mountains since the weather was clearing. Took me 3.5 hours up, 3 hours down, and appx 45 minutes of poking at bears. Humidity was 100%; drink your water!

hiking
muddy
rocky
21 days ago

I enjoyed the trail to the summit of Mount Mitchell. The trailhead is in the black mountain campground, which is where I stayed the night before. There is a parking lot if you aren't camping, but dont be confused by those trailheads, if you want to go to Mount Mitchell you need to cross the bridge and enter the campground and turn left. Not an easy trail, very slippery with a lot of water on the trail (it was raining the day before I hiked and during the hike, so your situation might be different.) Saw very few people along the way which was nice. Made it up and back in a little under 7 hours. I hate to say bad things about the trail, but the truth is I would skip it. There is nothing to see along the way, minus about 3 lookouts which are just where the trees were cleared for power lines, so it's 6 miles of hiking through the woods straight up and then back down. This is petty of me, but it also is less gratifying when you get to the top and there are tons of people who just drove there. It was peaceful, very green, but not something I will be doing again. it definitely doesn't feel like you hiked up a mountain. There was lots of tree cover so even with the rain we weren't getting that wet. Just bring layers including hats and gloves. The top can be much colder than the bottom!

Wow, this trail is no joke! A handful of beta to hopefully help others along the journey: - If the parking lot is full, there’s a turn right before the trail head parking area that you can pay $5/day to park. You go over a little bridge and you’ll see a sign for paying cash to park. - We found the first 4 miles to be the most grueling. After that, it continued to be challenging but the ridge line has gorgeous views and it’s a lush, beautiful hike! - Camping areas (written if you’re coming up from Bowlen’s) : If sleeping around cilo knob, pass Grassy Ridge turnoff on your left and there’s a big grassy area up on your left. It doesn’t look like much but there are several gorgeous camping spots with fire rings hidden in there. If sleeping around Deep Gap, the best spot we saw was passed the big camping area. There’s a flat, awesome spot tucked away on the right side of trail. -water : bring plenty! On the ridge line, there isn’t much. We filled up at the Mount Mitchell bathrooms. -temperature : we estimated from looking up black mountain but it was MUCH colder on the ridge. Prepare with more layers than you may think. Have a blast out there!

hiking
flooded
muddy
26 days ago

Be ready for a long workout to fairly good views, with potential of serious weather ... also if it is after 11am, it’s probably too late to start and make it up and down before dark. I found the first 3.2 miles strenuous ... from that to Commissary Hill and then beyond, it was definitely quite a solid challenge (with already worn out legs for my 260lb and mediocre exercise shape body). Took 1.75 for the first three miles and 2.75 for the next up ... with lots of stops to catch my breath; going down is six miles of “watch your step” ... I only made one stop going do for water, but it was still 3.5 hours down. Timing is critical here.

As a heads up this trail is currently closed between Bollen's Creek and Cattail Peak by the Forest Service (see order 08-11-07-20-071-3). With the closure, you only get a glimpse of the trail, but I have previously hiked this from Deep Gap to Mt. Mitchell. The trail is pretty fantastic! Not as many viewpoints as I had hoped for a ridge line trail as it is still forested, but lots of outlooks. Plenty of up and down and some ladders. Highly recommend!

Group of five of us started our 2 night backpacking hike at Black Mountain camp ground and went straight up to the Mt Mitchell summit roughly 6mi pretty steep rugged track. Be mindful there is no water source for at least 2.5 mi. First suitable camp sight was about 3 mi up. Once we reach the summit we realized that the substantial portion of of the other side of this loop is walking on the Blue Ridge highway. Who wants that! I’m kind of surprised that this loop even exists on All Trails. We had to wing this one after the summit and had a great long hike to our second night camp sight. Very nice camp sight right on the water. Hike out next morning was easy, since we were less than a mile from the parking lot. You can see my recording to make a better sense of it.

hiking
rocky
26 days ago

The trail to Big Bald is not for a first time hiker as you have quite an elevation gain right from the start. It is not uncommon for me to day hike 20+ miles on a Saturday and this one was very challenging. The one thing I noticed was there were no waterfalls throughout the entire hike. Must be an error in the description. The best part of the hike is when you arrive at Big Bald and see the grass covered open mountain. The mountain views are the best that I have seen throughout western NC. I highly recommend this hike and will be uploading a few pictures.

An absolutely epic hike! As everyone has noted, the first 4 miles from Bowlens Creek are quite steep, but we were expecting that. After that, it was not that bad. Probably the next hardest climb for us was the climb up Potato Hill. The haul up to Mt Mitchell was also tiring, but if you’re in good shape and used to steep hikes, you won’t have problems with this one. We did this in June on a picture perfect day and it took a little under 8 hours. It was a great workout, but calling it a Death March seemed weird to us. The views are incredible and the terrain so variable that it flew by. I’ve been on far more boring forest hikes that seemed to never end that better fit that description. This felt more like a hike in the Alps, so I was absolutely delighted. Also, my friend and I did it wearing Chacos just to give you an idea of how technical it was. I could see the trail being tricky in winter with snow and ice, but in the summer we didn’t even use the ropes that were provided. We only ran into a couple other hikers the whole day, but no bears (thankfully) even though there are signs posted near the state park boundary that there have been recent bear encounters in that area. For sure my favorite hike in NC so far!!!

on Mount Mitchell Trail

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
27 days ago

If you're looking for a challenge, then this trail is worth it, otherwise it's not. If you want to see the view, it would be better to just drive to the observation deck and park there. I definitely do not want to do this trail again. It was not peaceful when I finally got to the top and there were quite a bit of people at the observation deck. most of those people did not hike the strenuous trail and took the easy way out. There were some muddy and wet spots on the trail. It didn't get in the way of me crossing. It would be helpful to make sure if there was rain before you start your hike. when you start at the trailhead, there is a fork. The one going towards the left has steps. There are more steps when you get closer to the top. It is a hard trail, at least 12 mi. After the first three miles, there are more rocks and roots on the trail. In the last two and a half mile stretch to the top, there are some bigger rocks that cover the trail, which can be dangerous when it's wet. The trail was easy to follow, thanks to the tree markers. I started at 7:00 a.m. and it was mostly shady the first three miles. As hours past and going down the trail, it was less shady. In the last three miles going up, there were intermittent open sunny areas. It was annoying there were so many spider webs that got in my face as well as a lot of bugs in the first three miles. Having trekker poles was helpful throughout the hike. overall, the hike took about 7 and 1/2 hours total, including multiple quick 1-minute breaks, and a 20-minute break at the top. For the first half of the hike going up, at a slow pace, It took me almost four and a half hours. Going back down at a faster pace, it took almost 3 hours. I didn't check in the beginning but at the end of the hike, only one of the bathrooms located right before the trail head starts was open.

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