- Mount Mitchell, located in the Appalachian Mountains, is the tallest mountain in the Eastern US at 6,684 feet.
- The Mount Mitchell Trail is the highest mountain hiking trail in the Eastern US and offers majestic views throughout the journey.
- Mount Mitchell State Park has more to offer than just the mountain, including delicious restaurants, the Mount Mitchell Museum, and other trails with waterfalls and kayaking opportunities.
When it comes to mountains in the continental US, most minds go directly to western mountain ranges like the Rocky Mountains or the Sierra Nevada range which is abundant in scenic spots for the most picturesque moments. However, the Eastern US is home to ranges like the Appalachian Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains which may not be quite as tall or snow-capped but still possess their own flavor of majestic marvel.
The tallest mountain east of the Mississippi, Mount Mitchell, is found deep within this region in the Appalachian Mountains. This area is already infamous in the outdoorsman scene for being home to the Appalachian Trail with all of its mysteries and legends. Mount Mitchell trail is a popular one that leads hikers through Pisgah National Forest; it’s the highest mountain hiking trail in the Eastern US.
Mount Mitchell, The Highest Peak In The Eastern US
The Appalachian Mountains
Mount Mitchell, towering above the others in the Black Mountain subrange, is found in a state park of the same name in North Carolina. It lies deep within the mountains northeast of Asheville which serves as a base for a variety of magnificent hiking spots.
Hikers regularly traverse many trails through Pisgah National Forest to bask in the glory of this mountain. The artsy mountain town of Asheville itself is more than worth a visit on the way in or out with tons of things to see, do, and eat.
Trails through the forest on route giving great views of Mount Mitchell are plentiful and range in difficulty ranging from the quite easy 0.4-mile Campground Trail to the quite strenuous 11.3-mile Black Mountain Crest Trail.
One of them, simply named the Mount Mitchell Trail, has been declared the definitive path in which to experience Mount Mitchell.
Best Trail To Summit Mount Mitchell And Where To Find It
The peak of Mount Mitchell
Mount Mitchell Trail is deep within the Black Mountain Range but is not too difficult to find. Leaving Asheville, travelers can find one of the most popular routes to the trail by simply following the long and winding Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoying the awesome scenery until reaching the Black Mountain Campground.
From there, the journey to the summit begins at Briar Bottom Trail which can be followed until it later converges with the Mount Mitchell Trail.
The Mount Mitchell Trail Is The Highest Mountain Hiking Trail In The Eastern US
Mount Mitchell State Park North Carolina Ridge Scenic Highway
Like many trails in Appalachia, some of those surrounding Mount Mitchell are most suitable for advanced hikers in good physical condition. Mount Mitchell Trail belongs to this category. It is a somewhat lengthy and strenuous hike with a considerable increase in elevation.
- Difficulty: Hard
- Length: 11.1 miles out & back
- Average time to complete: 7 hours 7 minutes
- Ascent of trail: 3,691 feet
However, the majestic views of Mount Mitchell throughout make the journey more than worth it. After reaching the summit, hikers can enter the observation deck, which is the highest point in North Carolina, and take in 360-degree views of the Appalachians.
On a clear day, this vista can span as far as 85 miles. This observation deck can also be reached by car following the road from the entrance of Mount Mitchell State Park that leads directly to the summit.
Visitors also have the option of taking their time to absorb the beauty of the Black Mountains subrange with an extended backpacking trip by taking advantage of the limited campsites available.
- Best times to visit: March through November
- Camping: 9 tent sites with overnight car parking available (registration required)
- Dog-friendly: Yes, but a leash is mandatory
Mount Mitchell State Park Is More Than Just Mount Mitchell
Mount Mitchell as seen from the south
Although this fantastic trail featuring some of the best views of Mount Mitchell is one of the main attractions of Mount Mitchell State Park, there is much more to see and do. Visitors who are not avid hikers can occupy themselves with delicious local restaurants or visit the Mount Mitchell Museum.
Also, a myriad of other trails await, offering waterfalls and kayaking to shake up the agenda from solely climbing summits. Many of these trails are also less demanding than the popular Mount Mitchell Trail and make for an easygoing stroll through nature instead of an intense climb to the top.
No matter the desired agenda for a foray into the Appalachian Mountains, Mount Mitchell State Park is sure to provide a worthwhile outing and the Mount Mitchell Trail to the summit should not be missed by any hiking enthusiast.
What adventurer doesn’t want to explore the highest mountain hiking trail in the Eastern US?