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  1. #1

    Default Hike time for Mount Mitchell

    I am planning and out and back day hike starting at Black Mountain Campground and heading to Mount Mitchell State Park next week. Could anyone offer an estimate on the time required to complete this hike (roundtrip)? One website suggested 12 hours total, but I hoped to hear from someone who had completed the hike to compare. Is the trail well-marked? Any colored blazes? Are there ladders that dogs will need to climb? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Johnson City, TN


    My wife & I hiked from Black Mountain Campground to the peak of Mitchell, spend at least 30 minutes at the top, and descended back to the campground. It didn't take 12 hours. I don't remember how long it took, but no longer than any other 11 mile hike in the Appalachians. That was in May, and weather could of course make an enormous difference for you. The trail is clear and well blazed. The only difficulty we had was discerning whether we had indeed taken the alternate section, Higgans Bald trail. Turns out we did use this side trail on the way up, but it was confusing because there is no Higgans Bald on it (perhaps the trail is named for a view of a bald?). The elevation gain wasn't as challenging as we expected, and I attribute this to the fact that essentially every step up is a step up. That is to say, typically if a hike ends 3500 feet higher than it started, you actually climb much more than 3500 feet, but not on this trail.

    FYI: Buncomb Horse Range Trail is more difficult and not recommended. I say this because you may be tempted to use it instead since it involves much less gravel road driving. You will intersect it at one point, but your 90 degree right turn is well marked.

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