Are you looking for an intense and rewarding challenge? Look no further than Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi. The Mount Mitchell trail is an11.9-mile out and back hike that starts at Black Mountain Campground and takes you all the way to the summit of Mount Mitchell (and back again). While it’s not a hike for the meek, with stunning views, an elevation gain of 3,694 feet, and a sense of accomplishment that comes from conquering a 6,684-foot peak, it’s well worth your time and energy! Let’s take a closer look at this amazing adventure.
The Trailhead at Black Mountain Campground
The trail begins in Black Mountain Campground – one of many trails that can be found in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest. This campground is open all year round and offers plenty of campsites should you choose to start your journey with a night of camping (which we highly recommend!). If camping isn’t your style, there are plenty of other lodging options nearby.
You also have the option of making this hike an overnight trip and backpacking your way up and down the mountain. While this will of course increase the level of difficulty since you’ll be carrying extra gear, it can be helpful to break up the miles on trail over two days.
On The Way Up
As soon as you start hiking you will feel like Dorothy entering Oz—only instead of yellow brick roads leading you along, it’s a steady climb up! You will take in some incredible views along the way as you snake through dense forest interspersed with wildflowers. As is typical in North Carolina, prepare for the likelihood of some rain showers during your hike, especially in the summer months. Pause for breathless moments as you witness nature’s beauty around every corner. Stop for lunch on Commissary Hill before finishing your trek to the peak!
View From The Peak
When you reach the peak after almost 12 miles and nearly 4,000 feet in elevation gain, reward yourself with 360 degrees of stunning mountain scenery! On clear days you can see into four different states – Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia! Mount Mitchell is also known for its rich history; including being named after Elisha Mitchel who first hiked up in 1835 and died shortly thereafter. If you’re looking for great views and challenging hikes on the east coast, this is one peak you don’t want to miss.
Mount Mitchell: Worth the trek?
Hiking Mount Mitchell is no easy feat but it sure is worth it! The views alone are worth the trek, but if you’re not up for the elevation gain you can also drive up to the peak as well. Along your journey expect incredible views that will keep your motivation high during the tougher sections of the hike. When you reach the summit reward yourself by taking in 360 degrees of mountain beauty before heading back down. With its rich history and jaw-dropping views any hiker would be proud to conquer Mount Mitchell!