Mount Mitchell High Loop

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

Trail Running Difficult

Distance
6.3 km
Ascent
356 m
Descent
356 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.8 km
High Point
2 km
Gradient
12˚
Mount Mitchell High Loop Map

Affectionately referred to as the "High Loop," this is a popular hiking loop frequented by runners. Soaring high at 6,684 feet above sea level, Mount Mitchell is home to a unique ecosystem and provides incredible views of the surrounding Blue Ridge.

Description

Stage your run at the Old Mitchell Trailhead, and begin by heading north on its namesake trail. Shortly up the trail, 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/

Difficulty

Difficult

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

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

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

April, May, June, July, August, September, October

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area