Mt Mitchell Hike Featured
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Best Hikes on the East Coast

Mt Mitchell Hike

  • 12 miles - Hard Effort
  • Or: 12.6 with concession area
  • 5-7 Hours (Total)
  • Expect to See Some Other Hikers
  • 3,700 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 6,684 feet
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed

While you can drive to the highest peak east of the Mississippi, the Mt. Mitchell hike, with about 3,700 feet of climbing, is much more of an accomplishment. In this guide, I'll show you everything you need to know to conquer Mt. Mitchell on the trail.

In this Guide:
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions
  • Where to Park
  • Insider Tips and Recommendations

Where is the Mt Mitchell Trail?

Mt Mitchell Hike Map
The trailhead is about 2.5 hours west of Charlotte, NC, and a little over an hour north of Asheville.

Use this trailhead address:
Black Mountain Campground, S Toe River Rd, Burnsville, NC 28714

Mt Mitchell Hike Parking Lot
For the day hike to Mt Mitchell, you can park in the free lot across the street from the Black Mountain Campground.
Mt Mitchell Hike Get To Trail
To start the hike, cross the road into the campground, and then make the left. More on the directions below.

Gear Recommendations

The Mt Mitchell Trail is a place of extremes. In the summer, it can be over 100F and humid, in the winter, there can be snow. It's important to check the mountain weather; the trail is often cooler and different than nearby Asheville.

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2Hit SOS or just tell loved ones that you're running late where your cell phone has no service.  Review here.
Gear Topo Pursuit
Topo Pursuit 2The best hiking footwear I've ever owned. No blisters. Get them wet, they dry quickly. Lots of cushion and comfort.
Gear Epix Pro Up Ahead
Garmin Epix ProHiking maps, route info, and fitness stats on my wrist. Review here.
Hikelite 26 Gear
Osprey Hikelite 26Lightweight, carries all your gear, and your back doesn't get sweaty. Oh yea, it's also one of the most inexpensive packs you can get.

Check out the complete list here. ( Updated July 2024)

Mt Mitchell Trail Maps

Mt Mitchell Hike Marker
There are lots of these blue blazes along the Mt Mitchell Trail. Just follow them and you'll be in the right place.
Mt Mitchell Hike Marker 2
There are also these trail posts every 0.5 miles.
Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

Elevation Profile

Mt Mitchell Hike Elevation
While there are some level spots to catch your breath, overall this is pretty much straight uphill. When you're at the top, you just go down the way you came.

Mt Mitchell Hike Directions

Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 2
Start by walking across the bridge into the Black Mountain Campground. Make the left when you cross the bridge.
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 3
Bear left over the bridge and hike down the dirt road toward the Mt Mitchell trailhead.
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 4
After about 0.25 miles, make the right onto the Mt Mitchell Trail. The trailhead is well-marked.
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 5
Start climbing!
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 6
At about 1.5 miles you'll reach Long Arm Ridge, and you get a little breather on the climbing.
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 7
At about 2 miles you arrive at the junction with the Higgins Bald Trail. Hike right and continue on the Mt Michell Trail.
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 8
A mile later the Higgins Bald Trail rejoins. Keep hiking straight.
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 9
When you approach Commissary Hill, the Buncombe Horse Trail joins from the right. Keep straight.
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 10
And shortly after that, make the right and continue uphill on the Mt Mitchell Trail.
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 11
You'll enter Mt Mitchell State Park from Pisgah National Forest.
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 12
As you approach the summit, keep straight when the Balsam Nature Trail goes off to the right.
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 13
When you come out at the paved path, make the hard left to continue to the summit.
Mt Mitchell Hike Directions 1
And here you are, the summit of Mt Mitchell.
Mt Mitchell Hike Map Summit
From the summit area, continue downhill on the other side to visit the snack bar, restrooms, museum, and gift shop. When you're done, come back past the summit and go back down the Mt Mitchell Trail.

Need More Info?

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.