Mount Mitchell Climate Vegetation & Wildlife
Average Summer Temperature: 65.9°F
Average Winter Temperature: 17.0°F
Mount Mitchell is characterized as a humid continental climate, bordering on subalpine, with mild summers and long, moderately cold winters. The peak is covered in a dense conifer forest of native red spruce and Fraser fir, which is especially lush and green throughout the summer. Wildflowers are abundant through the warm months, and native birds feed on wild blackberry and blueberry shrubs. Bears can sometimes be seen along hiking trails and near campgrounds, so keeping clean camps and disposing of waste properly is advised.
Precipitation on the summit of Mount Mitchell is frequent due to its elevation and averages 74.7 inches/year . Heavy winds can also be prohibitive, with gusts recorded at 178 mph .
At its high elevation, however, the flora of Mount Mitchell is also exposed to high levels of pollution, mainly in the form of acid precipitation. Combined with a non-native insect infestation in the second half of the twentieth century, many of the mature firs were killed and the stumps can be seen more readily in the winter months.
Campgrounds Near Mount Mitchell Nc
With its summit at 6,684 feet, North Carolinas Mount Mitchell is the highest peak in the Appalachian Mountains and Americas highest point east of the Mississippi River. The mountain, part of a subrange of the Appalachians known as the Black Mountains, rises in western North Carolina, roughly 35 miles northeast of Asheville. A handful of campgrounds lie within 25 miles of the mountain, which is surrounded by vast areas of national forests and state parklands.
Getting There And Getting Around
The Mount Mitchell track is in the Cunningham Gap section of Main Range National Park, about 120km south-west of Brisbane.
- The track starts at The Crest.
Getting to the Cunninghams Gap section
- From Brisbane drive 116km south-west on the Cunningham Highway.
- From Warwick drive 50km east on the Cunningham Highway to Cunninghams Gap.
For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland.com, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.
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Directions To Mount Mitchell State Park
Most visitors choose to access Mount Mitchell State Park by taking the Blue Ridge Parkway north from Asheville. Mount Mitchell State Park is located approximately 35 miles northeast of Asheville at Milepost 355.4. The entrance to Mount Mitchell State Park is well signed. From the Parkway, it is a 4.5-mile drive to the summit.
Should the Parkway between Asheville and Mount Mitchell be closed due to snow or ice, the alternate route is to take I-40 east from Asheville. Take Exit 72 in Old Fort to U.S. 70. Drive approximately 10 miles to NC Highway 80. Then take NC Highway 80 eight miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Drive south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Park entrance.
History Of Mount Mitchell State Park
Mount Mitchell is part of the Black Mountains, a range formed more than a billion years ago. Scientists say the once lofty and rugged peaks were worn down by erosion to the rounded shapes you’ll see today.
In 1835, Dr. Elisha Mitchell, a science professor, headed to the Black Mountains to measure their elevations. Using barometric pressure readings and mathematical formulas, he estimate the height of Mount Mitchell. Even without modern technology, he was just 12 feet off. In 1858, the highest peak in the Black Mountains was named after Dr. Mitchell to commemorate his findings.
In 1915, Mount Mitchell was established as North Carolina’s first state park.
Dive deeper into the history of Mount Mitchell State Park and learn more about Dr. Elisha Mitchell by checking out our interactive guide: Explorers of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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Camping Near Mount Mitchell
Between the park office and summit, Mount Mitchell State Park maintains nine family campsites for tent-only camping. Each site is equipped with a grill and picnic table. Campgrounds and adjacent restrooms are open from May 1October 31. Visitors may also leave their vehicles in the park overnight to backpack into the Pisgah National Forest as long as they register on the forms provided at the trailheads near the parking area or at the park office.
Mount Mitchell Education Center
Learn about the history and ecology of Mount Mitchell directly from park rangers in their fully equipped classroom. Developed for grades 46, available educational materials introduce students to the forest types of the Blue Ridge Mountains, focusing on the potential causes for forest decline in the mountains and at Mount Mitchell. Most events are free, though some require pre-registration. View the park events calendar for more info.
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Mount Mitchell Tr 190
This trail climbs from the Black Mountain Campground to Mount Mitchell the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. The trail enters stands of red spruce and Fraser fir that fill the air with scents of Christmas above 4,500 feet. At mile 4.0 there is a large grassy field available for tent camping.
Total Length: 5.7 miles
Total Elevation Change: 3,630 feet
Degree of Difficulty: Difficult
Beginning Point: Black Mountain Campground
Ending Point: Mount Mitchell State Park
Average Hiking Time: 6 hours
Amount of Use: Heavy
Area Trail Map: South Toe River, Mount Mitchell & Big Ivy Trail Map
USGS Quad Maps: Celo and Mount Mitchell
Trails & Hikes Near Mount Mitchell
Mount Mitchell State Park is a wonderful location for a variety of outdoor activities, including short strolls or more extensive hikes. The park has an extensive trail network, including entry onto the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail.
Remember to wear appropriate clothing and carry proper gearthe high altitude means Mount Mitchell and surrounding areas can be chilly year round. See additional park rules about hiking and bear safety.
Current Weather Conditions:nchighpeaks.org
Length: 0.75 miles, round trip
Description: Self-guided nature trail from Mount Mitchell Trail to mountain summit. Features the highest spring in the eastern U.S.
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Seasonal Access & Safety
Mount Mitchell State Park is scheduled to be open every day of the year except Christmas Day. The park is accessible by hiking, backpacking, or via a 4.6-mile road off of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Park accommodations, including campsites, museum, gift shop, and restaurant, are open MayOctober. Accessibility by car in colder months is subject to the Blue Ridge Parkways opening hours.
Because of its elevation, Mount Mitchell and surrounding areas can be chilly, even in summer. Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and carry proper gear. See additional park rules about hiking and bear safety.
For park alerts, updates, or directions, visit ncparks.gov/mount-mitchell-state-park.
Camping At Mount Mitchell State Park
Although there is a small tent campground located in the park, those that go RV camping at Mount Mitchell State Park usually choose to set up for the night in one of the nearby RV campsites. There are plenty of places to camp in the surrounding Cherokee National Forest, such as Asheville Bear Creek RV Park and Campground. Sites here are large and level with full 30 and 50 amp hook-ups. There are 25 large pull-thru sites, big rig sites, and 65 back-in sites. Amenities include free WiFi and cable TV, three bathhouses with restrooms and showers, laundry facilities, and a clubhouse.
Another nearby campground that Asheville campers choose to use is Mama Gertie’s Hideaway Campground. Many people camp here due to a large number of amenities available such a dump station, pavilion for gathering, roomy hot showers and restrooms, rec room, pet area, and a fitness room, to name just a few. The campground is open all year round with both pull-thru and back-in sites that offer picnic tables, fire rings, and 20/30/50 amp service.
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Mount Mitchell History & Geography
Mount Mitchell is the highest peak in eastern mainland North America and the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains . The nearest higher peak is Lone Butte in Colorado. The range containing Mount Mitchell was formed during the Alleghanian orogeny between 325260 million years ago. Originally known as Black Dome for its wide, rounded shape, the summit was named for Dr. Elisha Mitchell, the first Westerner to explore the Black Mountain subrange of the Appalachians in 1835. The distance between the endpoints of this J-shaped range is only 15 miles.
Mount Mitchell is protected by its namesake state park, one of the first national parks in America . The park, which includes a museum, observation deck, and network of trails and campsites, is accessible via a 4.6-mile road off of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.
Mount Mitchell is located near Burnsville, NC and only 19 miles from the regional hub of Asheville, NC.
Campgrounds At Mount Mitchell Nc
Black bears are common at Mount Mitchell.
Mount Mitchell, surrounded by national forest, state park and national parklands, offers campers a rustic experience year-round. The largely undeveloped area in western North Carolina has a very small campground that also provides an access point for backcountry campers. Nearby campgrounds offer more amenities such as hookups and modern bathhouses.
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Mount Mitchell State Park Overview
Mount Mitchell State Park has 9 tent campsites located in the center of the 1,946-acre park. The campground is open from May through October. It is also close to a couple of nice trails including the Campground Spur Trail and Old Mitchell Trail.
Campground amenities include potable water, restrooms, trash collection, a picnic shelter, concession stand, gift shop, museum and ranger residence. Each campsite also has a table, fire ring and grill. A restaurant is also located about 1/2 mile from the park office.
Recreation & Activities
Popular outdoor recreation in the area includes hiking to the summit of Mount Mitchell . It is the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Other activities include biking, picnicking and wildlife viewing.
You may also like Crabtree Falls campground over in Virginia.
Tips For Hiking Mount Mitchell
As one might expect of the highest point in NC, there are ample hiking options to explore through Mt Mitchells pristine forests and its neighboring peaks .
Mt Mitchell State Park offers seven different hiking trails. But you can get more mileage by making your way into the surrounding Pisgah National Forest, or by starting from the Black Mountain Campground and trekking to the top on foot.
Hiking trails at the park include trails to the Mount Mitchell summit, to surrounding ridgelines and peaks (including the 6,637-foot Mt Craig, as well as to surrounding campgrounds.
Due to the fact that these hikes involve North Carolinas highest points, it is VITAL to remember that Mount Mitchell weather can be unpredictable and chilly, even in the summer months.
We highly recommend that hikers wear appropriate clothing , carry the common hiking essentials, and always be on the lookout for ice on the trails!
Level of difficulty: Easy
Distance: Less than 1/3-mile
This 280-yard paved road begins at the upper Mount Mitchell parking lot and leads to the summit observation platform.
While the Summit Trail gets steeper near the top, this is one of the relatively easy hiking trails thats great for all ages.
On a clear day, visitors can see as far as 85 miles and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding mountains that make up the Pisgah National Forest.
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The Assault On Mt Mitchell
The Assault on Mt Mitchell is an annual 102.7-mile bicycle race.
The grueling race runs from downtown Spartanburg SC, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, to the summit at Mt. Mitchell State Park in North Carolina a total vertical ascent of more than 10,000 feet!
Theres also an off-road version of this race for those who prefer mountain biking to road cycling.
Yancey County North Carolina
|Location within the U.S. state of|
|North Carolina’s location within the|
|313 sq mi|
|Land||313 sq mi|
|Water||0.6 sq mi 0.2%|
Yancey County is a located in the of . As of the , the population was 18,470. Its is .
This land was inhabited by the prior to settlement, as was much of the Southern region.
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Mt Mitchell State Park
In the heart of the Black Mountains of western North Carolina stands Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Named for the dark spruces and firs that cover the slopes of the higher elevations, the Black Mountains contain more than 20 peaks that rise above 6000 feet. Six of those peaks are among the ten highest in the eastern United States, making the Blacks the highest mountain range in the Appalachians.
Mt. Mitchell is also the namesake and centerpiece of the 1,946-acre Mount Mitchell State Park, located 33 miles north of Asheville off the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker #355. Due to its relatively high elevation, the mountain and park encompass an environment that’s more comparable to Canada than the Southern Appalachians. As a result, many of the plants and animals in the park are similar to those found in the boreal forests of Canada.
The mountain is named after Elisha Mitchell, a professor from the University of North Carolina who determined its height in 1835. On a return trip in 1857 to verify his earlier measurements, Mitchell fell to his death at nearby Mitchell Falls. His body is buried next to the platform where a stone marker memorializes his work in the area.
In 1915 a bill was introduced in the state legislature establishing Mount Mitchell as the first state park, and in the process created the North Carolina State Parks System.
Mount Mitchell State Park
One of those places that stand apart from the ordinary, Mount Mitchells dramatic summit is the highest point east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet and was the inspiration for one of the nations first state parks. From its easily accessible observation deck, the spruce-fir forest of Mount Mitchell State Park leads the eye to unmatched views. A museum explains the mountains cultural and natural history, and its trail network allows visitors to explore up close, offering short hikes near the summit and challenging treks leading to adjacent wilderness areas. A nine-site tent campground is open in warm-weather months, and backpacking opportunities abound, including entry onto the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail. A concession area and a full-service restaurant serve visitors from May to October.
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Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost : Mt Mitchell
The highest peak in the eastern United States at an elevation of 6,684 ft, Mt. Mitchell is located in the 1,855-acre Mt. Mitchell State Park. While State Parks are managed separately from National Parks such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mt. Mitchell State Park is only accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway by taking NC 128 at Milepost 355.4 to the summit. The breathtaking views and climate at the peak make Mt. Mitchell a popular stop for many Parkway travelers.
Mt. Mitchell State Park includes hiking trails, picnic spots, and an observation deck with 360-degree views. Seasonally in May October, visitors can enjoy the onsite Natural History Museum, restaurant, gift shop, and camping. Reservations for camping at Mt. Mitchell are managed by North Carolina State Parks.
Top Hikes At Mount Mitchell State Park
1. Summit Trail Hike from Parking Area: From the summit parking area, take the easy-to-follow paved, handicap accessible path just a quarter mile to the observation deck. While the trail is short, it is steep. But the amazing 360-degree views at the top are well worth the effort.
2. Balsam Nature Trail: Discover the balsam aroma of the Fraser firs on this short, 0.75-mile trail from the lower summit parking area. A tiny stream located along the trail is the highest spring in eastern America. This trail is considered moderate.
3. Old Mitchell Trail: Instead of driving to the summit, park at the State Park office and hike your way to the top! This strenuous trail travels 2.2 miles each way and was the primary trail for reaching Mount Mitchell during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Hikers should allow about three hours.
4. Deep Gap Trail: Hike from the highest peak east of the Mississippi River to the second highest one . On the ridge line of these giants of the Black Mountain range, you might find yourself above the clouds! It is 2.1 miles round trip from the lower summit parking area at Mount Mitchell to Mount Craig. The hike is considered moderate to strenuous.
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Hiking In Mt Mitchell State Park
Most of the trails in the park connect with trails on adjacent U.S.Forest Service land, thus making for excellent backpacking opportunities or extended day hikes.
Balsam Nature Trail This is a short easy loop hike through a dense fir forest. This self-guiding nature trail at the summit identifies unique elements of the boreal forest it travels through. A short spur near the end leads to the highest spring east of the Mississippi, which runs at a constant 37 degrees.
Camp Alice Trail Leads from Camp Alice, the location of a logging and a Civilian Conservation Corps camp, to the Old Mitchell Trail just above the campground. Although short, this is a steep and rough trail that travels through beautiful sections of Fraser fir forests. The Mountains to Sea Trail also follows this route.
Commissary Trail This is an easy hike along a gently sloping gravel road to the historic logging/CCC camp site below the summit. The trail provides great views of Mount Mitchell while passing through grassy fields on Bearwallow and Grassy Knob Ridges. The trail also connects with the Mountains to Sea Trail, the Camp Alice Trail, and the Buncombe Horse Range Trail.
Summit Trail – This is an easy 0.1 mile path that leads to the observation deck at the summit.