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This is a beautiful hike offering wonderful views of the mountainous region. It is part of a network of trails, so be sure to follow the blue blazes.

The trail begins at the bulletin board. Follow the blue blazes just across Forest Road 472. You will cross the bridge. The blue blazes will lead you across Briar Bottom Campground Road to the primitive trail. The trail climbs with several switchbacks through virgin stands of hardwoods. After about 1.5 miles, the trail intersects the Higgins Bald Ground Trail on the left. Stay right following the blue blazes of the Mt. Mitchell Trail. The trail crosses Setrock Creek at mile 2.7, and the Higgins Bald Ground Trail intersects again on the left. The trail enters old growth stands of red spruce and Fraser fir filling the air with scents of Christmas above 4,500 feet. At mile 3.9, Buncombe Horse Range Trail intersects. At mile 4.0, a campground with large grassy fields is for tent camping. There is a stream nearby. At about 5.4 miles, the trail intersects the Balsam Nature Trail. The trail terminates at the Mt. Mitchell State Park Museum. Continue right to the highest peak east of the Mississippi. A lookout tower is on top that provides amazing views. The Mt. Mitchell State Park parking lot is visible from this point. Note: While hiking, you will follow the blue blazes for the Mt. Mitchell Trail and white blazes for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. When you reach the intersection with the Higgins Bald Ground Trail, you will only follow the blue blazes while you stay on the Mt. Mitchell Trail. The Mountains-to-Sea's white blazes will follow the Higgins Bald Ground Trail and will rejoin the Mt. Mitchell Trail in about 1.3 miles.

Directions: From Burnsville, NC, Travel east on US 19E for about 4.3 miles to an access road to SR 80. Turn right (south) and travel .6 mile and turn right again on SR 80 (south). Follow this road for 11.6 miles to the Mt. Mitchell golf course and turn right on Forest Service Road 472. This road changes to gravel. After it changes, you will arrive at an intersection at which you can go straight or take a right. Turn right on this road (Forest Service Road 472). Go past Black Mountain Campground and a parking lot on the left that has a bulletin board with trail maps and information. Park here. This is the trailhead.

Elevation: 6,650 feet

Elevation Gain: 3,630 feet

Distance: 5.7 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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