Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mt. Mitchell Summit, Highest Point in Eastern USA

Mt. Mitchell State Park,
Black Mountains, 
Yancey County, 
North Carolina

Hiking Trails:
Summit Path (Paved Path)
Balsam Nature Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 0:50 hour
Estimated Distance: 0.9 Miles

Pros: Highest Mountain in Appalachians
Cons: Easy to get to with paved path
Level of Difficulty: Very easy

I travelled with my family on a camping trip to North Carolina, where we experienced the eclipse. We were in Old Fort, near Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain in North Carolina, and the tallest mountain in the Appalachian Mountains and in the eastern United States, at 6684 feet.

There is a road that climbs all the way up the mountain, near the summit. It is a fully paved road off the Blue Ridge Parkway, with a parking lot and short paved path to the very top. There is also a short 3/4 mile trail in the summit area as well traversing a Balsam Fir forest with some interesting geology.

We parked at the parking area at the top, took the paved path to the top, and then took the Balsam Trail loop back to the parking lot. This is a very short and easy hike considering the scope and height of this mountain. The weather at the bottom was very hot, in the low 90's. As we climbed the weather decreased, until at the summit it was a very comfortable and sunny low 70's.

Map of the Route

View of Mt. Mitchell from the Blue Ridge Parkway, on the Way

Another View of Mt. Mitchell from Blue Ridge Parkway, Zoomed Out

View from the Picnic Area near the Top of Mt. Mitchell

One of the many Monarch Butterflies at the Mountain

Me at the Summit Sign

Summit Sign at Mt. Mitchell

View Tower on Mt. Mitchell

View from Summit Facing West

View Facing North to Parking Lot and Mt. Craig

View Facing Northeast

Me at the Summit Tower

View Facing East

View Facing South and the Summit Road

View Facing South

View Facing Northwest

Me at the Rock at the Summit

Another View at the Summit Rock

View Facing East

View Facing North, Mt. Crowd

Me at a Cave on the Balsam Nature Trail

Trail Info Sign

View Facing East from the Balsam Summit Trail

Balsam Nature Trail Sign

Bumble Bee on a Flower

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