"Hiking the Black Mountain Crest Trail and bagging its six 6000-foot peaks is a nice accomplishment—a nice accomplishment with an asterisk if you start your expedition from the Mount Mitchell State Park snack shop located atop the ridgeline. To remove that asterisk and attain true bragging rights, you really should start from the base of the Black Mountains, some 3600 feet below. For while attaining 6000-foot peaks in the East is a notable accomplishment, better still are those rare hikes that gain 3000 feet or more. The Mount Mitchell Trail is perhaps the best of the lot." Read more
"Mount Mitchell rises above the adjacent Blue Ridge Parkway to an elevation of 6,684 feet. Mount Mitchell State Park encompasses 1,469 acres of predominantly red spruce and Fraser fir forest. The modern-day flora and fauna are quite different from those of the past. Extensive logging and fires destroyed much of the original forest, but the forested slopes still hold a unique selection of plants and animals more typical of Canada. The forests near the peak do not look healthy. The slopes are carpeted with the skeletons of dead firs. The dieback of the spruce fir system may be a result of a combination of air pollution and a balsam woolly adelgid infestation. The adelgid, a nonnative insect, attacks and kills fir trees, with mature trees most affected. Habitats: Spruce fir forest in higher reaches of the park. Northern hardwood forests dominate at elevations below 4,500 feet. Key birds: Summer: Northern Saw-whet Owl; Yellow-bellied Sapsucker; Alder and Willow Flycatcher; Brown Creeper; Winter Wren; Veery; Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Blackthroated Green, Blackburnian, and Canada Warbler; Red Crossbill; Pine Siskin. Year-round: Common Raven; Red-breasted Nuthatch." Read more
"Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. It’s a crowning part of the Blue Ridge Parkway experience—the only motorized access to the mountain is from the Parkway, at milepost 355.3. The nearly 2,000-acre Mount Mitchell State Park—North Carolina’s first—clings to the highest peak of the Black Mountains, a serrated string of summits that juts away from the Parkway and Blue Ridge to dominate the western skyline of North Carolina. The mighty Blacks are frequently seen from the Parkway as a dark ridge crest rising above the clouds. The range includes six of the ten highest peaks in eastern North America. Descriptions of the following trails are included: Mount Mitchell Trail; Balsam Nature Trail; Black Mountain Crest Trail." Read more
"Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. It’s a crowning part of the Blue Ridge Parkway experience—the only motorized access to the mountain is from the Parkway, at Milepost 355.3. These are good times for trails on Mount Mitchell. In 2010 local trail enthusiast Jake Blood and like-minded hikers launched the North Carolina High Peaks Trail Association to popularize the Black Mountain range and improve its overgrown trails. Their enthusiasm promises great things for hiking in the Blacks and tourism in adjacent counties. Check out their trail resources and group hikes at ncHighPeaks.org" Read more
"This hike is not direct, but it is adventurous. This route will not just take you to the top of Mount Mitchell; it will also explore neighboring summits on the Black Mountain Crest Trail before arriving at Deep Gap. From Deep Gap you will retrace your steps to the base of Big Tom Mountain before veering down to meet the Buncombe Horse Range Trail. Once on that trail, you will follow an old railroad bed that gently contours the mountain up to Commissary Ridge. One last uphill push on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) will lead to the 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell summit.
Because weather can change very quickly above 6,000 feet, bring sunscreen, raingear, and warm clothes for layering." Read more
"Mount Mitchell, at 6,684 feet, is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. The Mount Mitchell High Loop follows an old railroad bed to the top of the mountain, where Elisha Mitchell is buried, and then returns to the trailhead through a dense Fraser fir forest.
To begin the hike, park at the Mount Mitchell Park Oﬃce and Information Center and walk behind the park oﬃce on a paved road to a gated gravel road. This is the start of the Commissary Trail. The Commissary Trail follows an old railroad bed that was built at the turn of the 20th century." Read more