Summit Mount Mitchell via the Old Mitchell Trail

4.5 miles 484 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Brett Kelly

Summit the tallest peak (6684') on the eastern side of the Mississippi River while hiking through a southern Appalachian alpine forest!

After arriving in the park off of the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, park at the first parking lot you encounter on the righthand side of the road. There is a visitor's center there where you can inquire about the park and pick up a park map. Once you do that walk outside and look to the left of the visitor's center and you will see a sign with yellow circular blazes which is the Old Mitchell Trailhead. 

Travel along this trail for 2.2 miles through spruce-fir forest with occasional views of the the mountain chains off in the distance. Be wary of slick rocks as this tends to be a damp trail and heavy fog is common. The first (and short) climb takes you over Mt. Hallback (6300') where you will cross through a very small grassy bald at the top. You will then walk past the Mt. Mitchell Restaurant, cross the parking lot, and resume your hike. 

This will begin the last climb to the summit. With 384' left to go, you will trudge along a densely wooded rocky trail. The terrain in some cases can be strenuous, but once you make it to the top, there is a nice viewing platform where you can look out over your accomplishment. Not to mention you are on top of the East Coast at 6684 feet!  

Read More

Tags

Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Handicap Accessible
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Winter Summit

Great hike with I’m sure what would have been a great view if a snow storm hadn’t come through. But even so, still saw amazing views of the mountain. Just be sure to use the same trail up and down so you don’t have to Summit twice. The rangers at the Mt Mitchell Visitors Center are awesome!

So Good, Even For Kids

My wife and I, and three of our kids (10, 7, and 4) summited Mount Mitchell via Old Mitchell Trail. To be honest, it was probably a little much for the youngest, still safe though. We all really enjoyed the strenuous, yet doable, hike, which traversed some vibrantly green and fragrant spruce-fir forest and ended at the highest point east of the Mississippi. We even stopped at the restaurant and gift shop on the way back as a reward.

Stay Nearby

Burnsville, North Carolina

Black Mountain Campground

Overview Black Mountain Campground sits in the shadow of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern U.S. and borders the South Toe River. Black Mountain is a mecca for the outdoor enthusiast.Re...

Burnsville, North Carolina

Briar Bottom Group Campground

Overview Briar Bottom Group Campground is the perfect getaway for visitors to enjoy mountain scenery and easy access to hiking trails. The campground sits at the base of Mt. Mitchell, the highest p...

Burnsville, North Carolina

Carolina Hemlocks Rec Area

Overview Carolina Hemlocks Recreation Area sits in the scenic mountains of Pisgah National Forest. This is a great place for small to medium-sized groups to swim, fish, tube, hike, camp, picnic and...

Old Fort, North Carolina

Curtis Creek Campground (Nc)

Overview Curtis Creek Campground is nestled in the mountains at the base of the Blue Ridge just minutes from the quaint town of Old Fort and less than an hour from the popular city of Asheville. Lo...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike Deep Gap Trail at Mt. Mitchell State Park

    I personally find this trail to be more difficult and have more rewarding views than the Mt. Mitchell summit trail.The Deep Gap Trail starts near the Mount Mitchell summit and heads into a forest of spruce and balsam fir trees. The trail then clim...

    9 miles 3000 ft gain

  • Hike to Green Knob Lookout Tower

    Green Knob Lookout Tower is an abandoned fire tower near Mt. Mitchell and located directly off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The tower boasts a full 360-degree, unobstructed view of Mt. Mitchell, Craggy Mountains, Table Rock, Grandfather Mountain, and t...

    1 miles 313 ft gain

  • Hike to Douglas Falls

    The trail begins at the back of the parking area, and is marked by a trail sign. Once on the trail it is a straight shot to the waterfall with no turnoffs. Overall the trail is very easy and is a slight descent all the way down. Around .3 miles in...

    1 miles 240 ft gain

  • Hike the Craggy Pinnacle Trail

    I usually spend the day visiting restaurants and breweries around Asheville. Before it gets late, so you can enjoy the views, head to the Blue Ridge Parkway located right outside the city. After about 30 minutes on the parkway, you will park at th...

    1.4 miles 300 ft gain