Mount Mitchell

Update: I finally had a chance to see the new upgrades at Mt. Mitchell this weekend. The new lookout tower is really impressive.

Mt. Mitchell Restaurant is the highest restaurant on the east coast, located on the highest mountain east of the Mississippi. The menu ranges from burgers to mountain trout. The dining room overlooks the mountains. Since this is located in a state park there is no beer or wine offerings. If you want a similar dining experience with a more upscale menu and a great wine and beer selection, travel down the Parkway another hour to the Pisgah Inn. (Watch out for the Parkway police officers so you don't blow a needless 100 bucks as I did yesterday.)

Mt. Mitchell in November.

The state park offers great (although very strenuous) trails and a few nice tent campsites. If you’re looking for an easy hike try the Balsam Nature trail. It’s a beautiful trail and only a mile or so round trip. If you’re looking for something more strenuous try the Camp Alice or Old Mt. Mitchell trails. They are much easier going down the mountain than they are coming back up it.

Mt. Mitchell is located in the Black Mountains, which contains 18 of the highest peaks on the east coast. Several of these can be reached via the Deep Gap trail (also called the Black Mountain Crest Trail). The three peaks seen here are Big Tom, Balsam Cone and Cattail Peak. Just behind me a couple hundred yards up the trail is Mt. Craig, the second highest peak on the east coast. All four of these peaks are over 6500’. Deep Gap is one of the most beautiful trails you’re likely to find near Greenville, but is very strenuous. Fortunately the temperature, in theory, should be about 20 degrees cooler than in Greenville (3.5 degrees per 1000’ in elevation).

At this elevation the weather and temperature change rapidly so remember to take a variety of clothes with you. Also, it’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure the park is open.

Location: 35°45'53.49"N 82°15'55.02"W
Distance from downtown Greenville: 92 miles by Google. The best route though is I26N to I40 to 17, then hop on the Parkway for the rest of the drive.

This picture shows the damage from a recent storm on Bald Knob Ridge trail located about a half mile from Mt. Mitchell State Park. There are a couple hundred trees such as these down in this area, several of which have destroyed a campsite and covered the trail, so camping could be hazardous.


Patrick said...

You blog was a great find! I live in Greenville,SC, enjoy those short trips in the area and thanks so much for sharing your discoveries. I'm also into Geocaching but haven't done it in a while. I'll be subscribing to your blog via my feed reader and look forward to new posts!

Eric said...

Thanks for stopping in Patrick.