After adventuring around Chimney Rock, North Carolina we headed off to Mount Mitchell in the late afternoon to make sure we had some daylight left. That was a big success! See the pictures if you don’t believe me! Mount Mitchell is 6,684 feet above sea level, making it the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. It is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Burnsville in Yancey County, North Carolina; about 19 miles northeast of Asheville. It is protected by Mount Mitchell State Park and surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest.
THIS INFORMATION IS FROM THE MOUNT MITCHELL STATE PARK OFFICIAL WEBSITE: One of those places that stand apart from the ordinary, Mount Mitchell’s dramatic summit is the highest point east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet and was inspiration for one of the nation’s 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 mountain’s 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. Campers and hikers, please read the Bear Advisory.
The drive up to Mount Mitchell is breath taking and beautiful. The weather was prefect and we were fortunate to go during an above average temperature for the month of April. By the time we left the mountain, we had a pullover on as the temperature hit 59 degrees until we got to the lower elevations. The Blue Ridge Parkway deserves its own blog post, but until then…check this out…BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY!
You have to travel up NC-128 almost 5 miles to reach Mount Mitchell State Park. It is a good climb by car and the scenery is amazing! Be on the look out for rabbits, dear, and maybe a bear or two! We only visited to view the majestic mountains, but there is plenty to do and learn on the mountain. For the “hardcore” hiker here is a trail map for the more adventurous! The state park has something going on all late spring and summer. Take a look at their schedule.
We made it to the parking lot and then continued on to the 360 degree overlook. This is a walkway with pavers and pavement to the top. It is not a hard walk, but is a bit of an incline. You will have panoramic views. Amazing photo opportunities. We arrived at the top about 6 pm and the lighting and sunset was AHHHHMAZZING! I was raised in Blowing Rock, North Carolina and the mountains have always filled me with a peaceful feeling. If it wasn’t for the winters I would be living in the mountains. For the months of May-August…you can’t bet High Country living….but that is for another time and another blog post!
I would highly recommend a trip to Mount Mitchell if you love the mountains and especially the mountains of North Carolina and Smokeys. I would recommend going later in the day towards dusk. The lighting will be amazing and there will be less people. If you can get lucky, like we did, you can have some time to take in the scrency and the sounds without anyone else around! Feel the gentle breeze against your face and the unbelievably clean smell of fresh air. Breath it in…relax…let the stress of life leave you. If you listen hard enough….you can hear God talking to you…you can’t get much closer in these “neck of the woods”!