I wasn't completely satisfied with just driving to the High Point. Maybe thats because I went up there a bunch of times while I lived in the area. So Me and two others guys decided to hike there. We found out about an old logging road that goes from Ridgecrest Conference Center (just outside of Black Mountain) all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. From there you hike along the road into the park and jump on the Moutnains 2 Sea trail to the summit. The whole hike is about 16 miles. We started early in the morning before daylight and started up. You have to love the Southeast because it was already muggy and warm. The weather was perfect. Our first break we walked a couple hundred feet off the trail and found a rock ledge with a wide open view of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The trail was pretty empty excempt for a runner and a couple mountain bikers. Once we got into the state park we only had about 4 miles left, but for some reason they seemed like the longest 4 miles of my life. It wasn't tough, it just never seemed to end. Finally we got to a sign that told us we where withing 1 mile of the summit. The ascent was a good one. The trail switchbacked though a forest that reminded me of when Luke went to find Yoda in the swamp. We arrived at the summit in a midst of people who looked at us like we might have over-exaggerated the 1/4 mile hike to the summit. Once we got up their we found that the nearest phone to call a ride was another 2 miles. It was a great hike!
After already bagging Georgia and South Carolina's highpoints earlier that day we were determined to get North Carolina's as well. We left Asheville on Blue Ridge Parkway just after dark and encountered signs that said "No thru traffic 8 miles ahead (it's about 35 to the summit road). Unaffected by the signs, we discovered 8 miles down the road another sign that said "Road Closed at Mount Mitchell." We then proceeded to drive through the thickest mountain fog I've ever seen . . .at night. I was driving 15 mph down the middle of the road and it took forever to get to the summit road. We drove up to the parking lot and hiked the trail to the summit with 45 mph winds and mist/fog/rain. We snapped the picture only to get back to the warm car and begin the 2 hour drive back to Asheville. We definitely shouldn't have been out there but we're young and crazy enough to try and we got it done and the warm beds and Taco Bell in Asheville were great.
See Brasstown Bald for start of day. After tagging GA and SC I drove straight to NC's Mount Mitchell. I got to the top at about 2:30pm and ran into some people from Phoenix AZ, I thought it was funny to fly all the way across the country then drive several hundred miles just to run into people that lived less then 20 miles from me. We talked a bit and took pictures for eachother then they went into the tower and I did a short interview with some news crew that was up there for some story on all the trees that are dieing. From there I went straight to VA's Mount Rogers.
I tried to post my trip report here earlier but it didnt seem to show up so this may be a double post or I may have posted under the wrong state. sorry.
"Reaching the summit is optional,getting back down isn't" - Ed Viesturs
The plan was to drive directly to Mt. Mitchell from Mt. Rogers via the Blue Ridge Parkway but the road was closed before Mitchell and I was required to approach Mitchell from the Asheville side. Finally circling around, the BRP was closed out of Asheville. I was informed at the Folk Art Visitor Center that the road was under repair from winter slides, but there was a back road to Mitchell if I had to get there. Town Mountain Road comes out on the Parkway just below Mitchell, from there it was a short drive and easy walk to the summit. The views from the tower on the top of Mitchell were impressive. After a nice stay on the top I returned to the parking lot and figured there was still time to hit Clingmans Dome before dark. With the road closures it was 190 miles from Rogers to Mitchell.
Next up was Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina. A late snow had closed Black Mountain campground, our intended camp. The road wasn't blocked by any barriers or snow though, and no one was around to forbid us from camping there, so we had the whole campground to ourselves, without running water (river right there anyway) or unlocked bathrooms. Not bad. In the parking area we talked to a photographer who was there taking pictures of bears, but we didn't see any ourselves. The next day, our loop route up Mt. Mitchell started from the Mt. Mitchell trail, splitting off from it with the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, then heading northeast on a wide old dirt road that is used as a horse trail in summer, cutting straight uphill on the Tom Connector Trail, and approaching the summit on the Black Mountain Crest Trail, heading over Mt. Tom and Mt. Craig along the way. On the way down, we just took the Mt. Mitchell Trail the whole way. This was a pretty nice hike too, with less interesting land and flora, but with a real feeling of being up high. The horse trail and Black Mountain Crest Trail were the best parts, and the Tom Connector was nearly a bushwhack, though maybe that was just because it was early in the season.
I contacted Mt Mitchell State Park and was told that the actual summit is inaccesaible due to construction of the new summit tower (due to be completed Labor Day '07). The highest point that can be reached is the summit parking area. If you have been to Mt Mitchell recently (spring 07) please let me know if you were able to get to the top. Thanks
It is possible though you do have to climb around the gate blocking the pathway. It is quite difficult to find the actual highest point though as there is a bunch of construction materials there. After the drive up through the fog it was definitely worth it even though I couldn't see a thing.