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Mount Mitchell High Loop

A classic hike to the summit of Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River.

Hiking Difficult

6.4 km
356 m
356 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.8 km
High Point
2 km
Mount Mitchell High Loop Map

Affectionately referred to as the "High Loop," this is one of the more popular hikes to summit Mount Mitchell. Soaring high at 6,684 feet above sea level, the mountain is home to a unique ecosystem and provides incredible views of the surrounding Blue Ridge.


Stage your hike at the Old Mitchell Trailhead, and begin by hiking north on its namesake trail. Shortly into the hike, you'll be rewarded with some initial views from Hallback Mountain as the path alternates between serene meadows and southern Appalachian spruce-fir forests. Typically confined to the northern latitudes, this unique ecosystem is fragrant and picturesque, making you feel as though you've been transported into another realm.

Leaving Hallback, the trail continues its way towards Mount Mitchell, passing the state park's restaurant along the way. Skirting along the edge of the official campground, the trail makes one final push to the summit.

Atop the observation deck, enjoy the sweeping views from the highest point east of the Mississippi River. A placard denotes the official summit, and the nearby parking area makes the summit accessible by car for the less adventurous.

Instead of retracing your steps, this loop returns via the Camp Alice and Commissary Trails. The path follows an old road bed and provides a wide array of flora and fauna to complement the incredible views you've already experienced. In the summer, you may even notice fresh berries lining the trail.

Sources: https://ashevilletrails.com/mount-mitchell-state-park/old-mitchell-trail-commissary-trail-loop/



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between April and October


  • Alpine
  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area