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Published on Oct 18, 2010
The Mt Mitchell peak in North Carolina is the highest peak in the NC Appalachian mountains and is the Highest Peak East of Mississippi at 6,684'. The ridge trail is really a nice hike along the mountain. There are many ways to access the trail, and there is a back country campsite along the ridge, just before the commissary ridge trail.
The commissary trail offers wonderful overlooks and views of the east side of Mt Mitchell and the NC Appalachian mountains, as seen in these slides. The parkway overlooks, and even the fire tower are visible from this ridge.
I have hiked it several times, and it is as full a day as you want to make it. The weather can also change and the rain gear or poncho in your backpack make the difference.
As always take plenty of water, drink before you are thirsty and rest before you are tired, and enjoy the hike to the ridge and the views from the mountain.
I like taking the Old Mitchell trail down to the back country campsites. Then I turn right following the ridge trail to the Camp Alice trail head where you can hike back up to the summit, or head for the restaurant, and much more if you have the energy :)
The pictures are from my hike on 10/2/2010, and there were more tents at the back country site than I have ever seen there.
I visited the area a month before, and as well as over the summer. The back country sites were way too crowded this October compared to just one month before in September.
Along with lots of trails to other summits and this nice ridge trail, people not up for hiking miles in the wilderness can walk up from the parking area to the top, or even get a ride up from a ranger. The park is easy to access, but every-time I go I find myself on the trails and meet interesting people.