To visit Mount Mitchell State Park is to experience what it might feel like to stand at the top of the world. It’s the highest point east of the Mississippi River, but it’s also shrouded in natural beauty, stately evergreens, and a magical allure that you can only find in North Carolina. Plus, getting there means taking one of the most scenic routes in America: the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here’s more on why a day trip to Mount Mitchell State Park is one of the very best you can take in North Carolina.
A trip to Mount Mitchell State Park is one that belongs on every North Carolinian’s bucket list. For one, it’s the oldest of North Carolina’s state parks and was established in 1915 by the state legislature.
The park can be found just 35 miles northeast of Asheville, and many visitors opt to take the scenic route via the Blue Ridge Parkway.
What sets Mount Mitchell apart from other North Carolina peaks is its size — it’s the grandest peak in all of Appalachia at 6,684 feet — and its accessibility. There’s a 1/4 mile paved and accessible trail that leads to an observation deck.
The paved trail is ADA wheelchair accessible but visitors should note that it’s uphill.
From this viewpoint, visitors will enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding Black Mountains. It’s important to note that on eight out of ten days, the summit is covered in fog due to high elevation.
If you’d like to hike, there are plenty of trails within the park’s 5,000 acres. A great introduction hike is the Balsam Nature Trail, a 0.9-mile trek that offers fascinating information about the area.
At such high altitudes, the plants and animals are similar to what you’d find in the alpine environments of Canada. How fascinating is that?
And be sure to notice the wonderful, fresh scent of balsams and Fraser Firs along the way!
So whether you visit for just an hour or decide to spend an entire day in the park, you’ll feel enriched by your visit on every level.
Have you visited Mount Mitchell State Park before? If so, tell us all about your adventures in the comments below — we’d love to hear from you! Be sure to consult the official Mount Mitchell State Park website before your visit to check on weather conditions. The temperature on Mount Mitchell can sometimes be up to 20 degrees colder than what you’d experience in nearby towns.
Address: 2388 NC-128, Burnsville, NC 28714, USA