Crest of the Black Mtns-Mt. Mitchell to Deep Gap, exploratory--8 Difficult miles

Location: Mount Mitchell State Park & Black Mountain Crest

Distance: 8 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

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.

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  • Bryan S.

    Thanks Debra for putting this hike together. Interesting outing with all the mud, but beautiful views nonetheless. It was great meeting Nancy and Matt.

    October 20, 2013

  • Debra

    This was more difficult and muddy than I remember. Maybe because I've hiked 10 miles yesterday and hiked Mt. Pisgah the day before. Very beautiful with great views. Glad everybody came along.

    October 20, 2013

  • Matt

    Great hike! Incredible views and we had great weather. A pretty physical hike, about 8+ miles and I'm exhausted. Well worth it for the views. Thank you Debra for planning!

    1 · October 20, 2013

  • Matt

    Hey, just an update - my friend will not be joining us so there is an extra spot open.

    October 20, 2013

  • Nancy C.

    Will be driving from Greenville airport and hope to make it on time. Will email if I get stuck and can't make it.

    October 19, 2013

    • Debra

      I do not have a smart phone. Make sure you email me by 8:45, I'll be leaving the house at that time. Otherwise try to call after that time. Not sure if I'll have service at the meetup place.

      October 20, 2013

  • Matt

    Debra - is it cool if I bring a friend on the hike? And if so could she bring a dog?

    October 19, 2013

    • Debra

      That's fine for both. I added a plus 1 to your name.

      October 19, 2013

  • Susan C.

    Hi. I have done this hike and know how long it took me. It is my favorite in NC. Have you done it and if so how long did it take? I will use your response to decide if I can keep up with you. I want to enjoy this one.

    October 19, 2013

    • Susan C.

      Oh well i got roped into some parent sitting duty so cant go after all. But i have done the last mile. It is tough all down to deep gap and then back up. Some say its a stupid thing to do on the end since u end up DOWN with no view but i hike for fitness AND views so i would do it again. I generally hike[masked] miles an hour depending on terrain. That 8 miles took me 8 hours but i stopped to enjoy and also didnt take enough food so i got too low on energy which will slow u down...went in restaurant and ate everything in sight afterward! Hope u do it again.

      October 19, 2013

    • Debra

      I'm sure it will be posted again, if not by me, by somebody else that usually does this hike. He does not do that extra mile. Sees not reason to. That area is beautiful and I want to check it out that extra mile down and back. Sorry you can't make it this time. Hope to see you on a future hike.

      October 19, 2013

  • Paul T.

    Hi , you are finding some nice alternative hikes to choose from. Hope to join you soon.

    1 · October 19, 2013

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