Explore the most popular forest 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.

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
8 days 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.

hiking
10 days ago

Gorgeous views. Easy access to Black Mountain Crest trail if you wanna add a bit on.

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.

hiking
12 days ago

Easy short hike to a beautiful waterfall

hiking
13 days ago

Bummed the lookout tower was locked! Very steep climb up, def felt it in my legs the next few days, but overall the views were nice.

I absolutely loved this trail. The creeks are awesome and the campgrounds along the trail are very nice and allow for a lot of exploring. As someone who is out of shape, it took me 3 hours up and 2 hours down. Definitely is tough on the hamstrings, but amazing hike overall.

Great hike.

trail running
21 days ago

Steep but plenty of fresh water sources to filter. Nice views

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.

I did this just to say I hiked Mount Mitchell. Its a decently physical trip both up and down but not the hardest by any means. Overall the trip was just blah for me. Won’t ever do it again unless someone asks me too.

My husband, son, our german shepherd and I hiked this Easter day (as a challenge by our 18 yr old!). I'm not going to lie - it was hard! But definitely doable - and oh so rewarding! We did it in a little under 7 hours (4 up and 3 down). I used my trekking poles on the way down to help out my 51 year old knees. The hardest, but most rewarding hike I've done!

hiking
27 days ago

Our favorite short hike in WNC - takes about 20 minutes. Lots of shade through this coniferous forest. Start at either the lower parking lot or near the Mount Mitchell summit just on the left as you pass the small education building.

great falls.. easy trek

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, plus a great workout. Starting out from Black Mountain campground you begin the uphill battle almost immediately and it doesn't stop until you're at the summit. The views up top are worth every bit of it though. Well earned.

Hiked old Mitchell and Camp Alice. I thought it was pretty strenuous but I am also not in very good shape plus I have knee problems. Not just a straight up hill climb, lots of ups and downs and rocks to climb over. There was a fair amount of ice on the trail although that is not what made it treacherous at times. I slipped and fell in the mud at least three times, may have been my bad shoes but I feel like the mud was deceptively slippery.I found coming back up the Camp Alice trail to be the most strenuous. Camp Alice ends with a lovely mountain stream with a small water fall.
The view at the summit was amazing, and it was a super clear day! I would definitely do it again!

hiking
1 month ago

You can’t go into the lookout!! Major bummer. One of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done, all uphill the whole time. If you want a good workout this is it. Go prepared a lot of water and give yourself a lot of time to complete

hiking
1 month ago

What a great hike with my brother! We started from Black Mountain Campground around 9:30 and found ourselves up near the summit at Commissary Primitive Campgrounds around 12 or so. Unpacked some heavy gear and was up to the summit by 1:30 or so. Lots of natural springs, several creek crossings. Lots of switchbacks and steps. We certainly had to catch our breath and rest the legs a couple of times! The last half mile is an amazing micro-climate spruce and fraiser fir forest thats blanketed with moss and awesome boulders. It’s a strenuous hike that you follow the well blazed blue diamonds to the top. Keep pushing because it’s worth it at the end! Bring plenty of water and a protein snack because those muscles will be burning for some extra juice and hydration. A couple of springs along the way to top off water and several views on the way up. Like nothing we’ve seen before hiking in NC. Certainly a one of a kind atmosphere/terrain especially near the top.

backpacking
1 month ago

This trail is pretty brutal but it serves its purpose to get you to the crest. It's relentlessly uphill and steep with few breaks. I would not recommend this trail unless you're attempting to get to the crest to either do a loop around and come back down Buncomb Horse Trail or doing a point to point. Doing an out and back of this trail would be pretty boring since there are only 2-3 overlooks that aren't as good as other trails. If you're carrying backpacks, this trail will make you question your life choices and make you wish you splurged for lighter gear.

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

backpacking
1 month 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!

Our Boy Scout Troop 124 out of Clayton NC hiked this trail this past Thursday afternoon 05-Apr-18 as one of our shakedown / training hikes for our upcoming Philmont NM Trek. It is a very hard trail with a 45lb. pack so be prepared for a very technical and strenuous hike. We camped at Commissary primitive campsite 4 Miles in just 1 Mile from the summit. There is a nice natural spring there to replenish your water. We finished the hike Friday morning on our way to the Black Mountain Crest Trail to Deep Gap and finish our hike on the Colbert Ridge Trail descent to Carolina Hemlock CG.

My first time to hike the Old Mitchell Trail yesterday. Too technical for me to run, but a beautiful hike at a slower pace. The summit was spectacular

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!!

Great trail. Round trip is actually around 4 miles. Still nice walk and a great hike. This is on our list to revisit.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this in the snow. Our plan was to hike from the campground, camp below the summit, and summit the next day then back down. We faced snowy conditions which turned to more snow then ice. Near 4,000 feet, we faced an incoming winter storm that had thunder and lightning and heavy ice-rain. There was no sense in trying to camp on Commissary Ridge or anywhere exposed and the ice was a concern for falling trees and limbs. We decided to hike out. This trail is rough in areas and a challenge. Take water. You'll hear your heart beating in your ears because it's a workout, especially with full packs/food/water/winter clothing for 2 days.

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.

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