At 6,684 feet and the inspiration for one of the nation’s first state parks, Mount Mitchell offers plenty of hiking and camping opportunities as well as a dramatic summit. There is a dramatic 360 degree viewing deck, a museum explaining the mountain’s cultural and natural history, and and extensive trail network for exploring. There are short hikes near the summit and challenging treks leading to adjacent wilderness areas. A nine-site tent campground is open in warm-weather months, and backpacking opportunities abound, including entry onto the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail. A concession area and a full-service restaurant serve visitors from May to October.
In the winter months it's important to check weather conditions as the summit can be several degrees cooler than the lower elevations. Also, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers the only vehicle access to the park and is often closed due to icy conditions during the winter months.
It is not uncommon to encounter black bears at Mount Mitchell State Park, particularly in warm weather months. Please read the information about bear awareness.
The park is a great place for a hike and picnic. The shady picnic area, open year-round, is located at the north end of the summit parking lot. Forty picnic tables, stone grills and drinking water supply all the essentials. Two picnic shelters with fireplaces are perfect for group picnics. Each shelter accommodates up to 16 people. Use of the shelters is free of charge unless reservations are requested. This is also a concession stand and gift shop -- open daily from May through October from 10am until 6pm. The restaurant located approximately a half mile from the park office is open May through October.
When to Go
The park and trails are accessible year long. As noted above, it's important to check conditions and park accessibility during the winter months.
The nine-site family campground is open from May 1 to October 31. Each site is equipped with a grill and picnic table. Restrooms for use during warm seasons are located nearby. Showers and hot water are not provided.
Campers may leave vehicles in the park overnight to backpack into the Pisgah National Forest. Visitors who leave their vehicles in the park must register on the forms provided at the trailheads near the parking area or at the park office. Leave the form on the dashboard of your car. Mount Mitchell offers a choice of trails from which to enjoy the nearby alpine woodlands.