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!  

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible


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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.

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