Location: Mount Mitchell State Park & Black Mountain Crest
Distance: 8 miles
Hike Type: Out & back
Trail Condition: Fair
Trailhead Description: Parking lot at Mount Mitchell
Mt. Mitchell Parking Lot to Deep Gap and Return; This 8 mile hike includes Mt. Craig, Balsam Cone, and Potato Hill, and can incorporate Mt. Mitchell. From the Parking Lot hikers will follow the Black Mountain Crest Trail to Deep Gap and return.
Highlights: This hike will be along the most rugged & scenic trail in the Black Mountains, the Black Mountain Crest Trail. We’ll follow the ridge from Mount Mitchell to Potato Hill & then return on the same trail. Starting with Mount Mitchell we’ll climb Mount Craig, Big Tom, Cattail Peak, and end at Potato Hill - all at elevations greater than 6000 feet.
This hike will be on the timeworn Black Mountains (rocks dating back to 1.1 billion years). Very few trails like this east of the Mississippi.
We will meet at the Folk Art Center at 9:00 AM and depart once everybody arrives and not later than 9:10. It is approximately a one-hour drive to Mt. Mitchell. We will start the hike around 10:00 and return about 3:00 and be back to the Folk Art Center about 4:00. These are just time estimates so plan accordingly
The climate of the Black Mountains is more like that of Canada than North Carolina. You should wear appropriate clothing and carry proper gear as the high altitude makes the climate of Mount Mitchell chilly.
Dogs must be on a leash at all times in the State Park & you need to carry water for your dog, since there is no water along the trail.
Did I mention this trail was tough!? I rate this one difficult from end to end, with very little, if anything less than difficult in between...rocky, lots of roots, uneven, up, down, hand over hand at times and narrow in lots of spots HOWEVER, this is a beautiful trail and one of my favorites.
Mt. Mitchell State Park Map
Driving Directions: Mount Mitchell State Park is located 33 miles north of Asheville off the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) at mile marker #355. From the BRP Folk Art Center Asheville, take the Blue Ridge Parkway north to mile marker #355 and turn left onto NC 128, which leads to the park. Take NC 128 until it ends at the parking lot for Mount Mitchell. Trail head is on the left past the tables.