In 1986 our family did a highpoints driving trip and hit Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Kentucky's high points.
The Blacks are one of my favorite places to hike. I have been lucky to live close and have summitted in all seasons and all weather. The coldest nights I've spent in the woods have been up in the Blacks, -10 degrees. The mountain is most easily climbed from the parking lot but can be climbed via the Buncombe Horse trail or the Mt Mitchell trail. All these climbs involve 3000 feet of gain. Longer ascents via Colbert Ridge, Woody Ridge, and Bowlens Creek/Black Mt Crest trail. The trails are maintained well inside the state park but only cleared every few years in the NF. The crest trail is steep and rocky, prepare for long stretches of ice in winter. (In my opinion the Black Mt crest trail and the Grandfather trail are the two toughest trails in the Southeast US).
Weather can be unpredictable and bad. One spring I took dayhikes around Easter weekend. On Thursday (April 12, 2001) I carried my son (then 4yo) up to Celo Knob. It was warm with temps in the 60's. Five days later (April 17, 2001) I was on the ridge between Potato Knob and Steppes Gap in blizzard conditions. That day the temp was 27, snowing, with a 30 mph wind.
In November of 2003 I was hiking in the Blacks with temp in the 50's and sun. That night a cold front came through the area with morning temps in the 20's and hurricane force wind gusts. If its cloudy with temps in the 40's in Charlotte, be prepared for wind, snow, and below freezing temps in the Blacks (and other high peaks in the SE). Review Alan deHarts NC hiking guide or the FS map for the Toe River valley.
Summited Mt. Mitchell with high winds, snow, and ice. Hiked from the bottom, no cars used.
A friend and I hiked from the Black Mtn. Campground to the Mt. Mithcell summit. Not a bad hike, but a bit harder than expected. He stayed on top while I ran back down the trail to pick up the car and drive around to get him. 6 hours of hiking total (4 up and 2 down).
We drove up and and walked the short path to the tower. The weather was against us - No View whatsoever....we had planned on hiking the Deep Gap Trail over to Mount Craig, but just left instead...after our encounter with lightning on Grandfather Mtn, we weren't feeling very brave...
Probably state highpoint #1...
Drove to Asheville, NC from Sassafras Mtn, SC. Attempted to access Hwy. 128 from the East from Hwy. 80 to Blue Ridge Parkway. Road closed due to damage from Hurricane Frances. Drove 80 miles back around to Asheville and drove up Blue Ridge Parkway to Hwy. 128. Parked at campground below Mt. Mitchell. Hiked 2 miles round trip on the Old Mount Mitchell Trail. Few people. Clear day with nice views at the summit. HP #9.
This was our sixth state highpoint! It was a very windy day. We were happy to visit the highest point east of the Mississippi River.
I love the Blacks. What can I say?? I bagged all 11 Blacks in a three-day trip, as part of conquering the Southern Sixers.
I've been up the highest point east of the Mississippi more times than I can remember. I went to school at Montreat College which is in Mitchell's shadow. I've hiked up from the Black Mountain campground twice, and walked the touristy gravel trail from the parking lot off the BRP most the other times.
Absolutely beautiful scenery. Third in our "highpoint quest".
I've driven, hiked, and biked to summit parking lot. This range and Grandfather rank as my all time favorites. Been to summit in shorts and t-shirts, been to summit in blizzard. Have seen the growth, death, and regrowth of the spruce forest over the last 23 years. The views after a winter cold front has passed are almost without comparison. Everyone should read History of Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mountains: Exploration, Development, and Preservation (Paperback) by S. Kent Schwarzkopf or Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains : An Environmental History of the Highest Peaks in Eastern America (Hardcover)by Timothy Silver. Facinating place.
Highest point in eastern North America! Earned it from the bottom instead of the road to the top. Black mountain crest is really beautiful and rugged. Good views and very windy.
I did this one first as a drive-up with my girlfriend. Later, I did it with my brother and we decided to walk up. The Blue Ridge Parkway was closed after the summit road due to trees felled by one of the many Hurricanes that year. (Ivan?) We had intended on going to Blackrock, but it was too late and I didn't have a good enough map to navigate around. We decided ultimately to do a shorter hike up, on the Old Mount Mitchell trail (see park map) which runs parralell to the road but which feels islolated at times. The total hike was two miles through sometimes lush forest. I'd recommend this trail to anyone who wants to hike up the summit but is constrained by time or other factors.
Biked to the summit from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Highpoint #23. Got here a little while before the gate opened, caught a few ZZZs before driving up. Third stop in our effort to bag GA-SC-NC-TN-VA-KY in 24 hours. Went up around sunrise once the gate opened. Definitely want to come back & hike around here.
Mt. Mitchell appears to be just at the height where a treeline would form if it were any higher. The trees are having some trouble staying alive at the summit. You can actually tell the difference in the air, as well, even if it is only 6600 feet up. Nice view from the lookout tower.
Started at the Black Mountain Campground and hiked to the top on a great, clear day. The hike itself was shorter and easier than expected, but to our surprise, the Black Mountain Campground and access was closed due to construction. Had to walk an extra few miles to get to trailhead, i suggest you check the Park Service website first.
Not a cloud in the sky all day. In the low 30s on top; it had just snowed a day or two before, so much of the trail and trees were covered. Great day. Also took in Hallback, Gibbes and Potato Knob.