WNC: 4 Hiking Trails That Are a Must When in Town

Mt. Mitchell

They say ‘go big, or go home’, so I started with the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. 😉 The elevation that this trail takes you is 6,684 ft.

  • You can easily access this state park through the Blue Ridge Parkway, or you can take the highway. If you’re looking for a more scenic route, I would recommend the parkway over the highway every time.
  • If you are wanting a GOOD HIKE, I would recommend parking at the black mountain campground once you arrive to the state park, and begin on the Mt. Mitchell Trail. This trail is around 5 miles and climbs roughly 3,000 feet, but it is very strenuous (The views are worth it).
  • If you’re not into the more strenuous hikes, I would recommend driving all the way to summit parking lot, and taking the 1/4 of mile trek to the summit, and then hiking over to Mt. Craig, which is a 2 mile, mild hike from the summit. This mountain is the second highest peak in the Eastern United States.

There is TONS to do at this state park other than hiking: camping, enjoying a bite to eat at their restaurant on-site, concession stand, and gift shop. This park free of charge and also dog-friendly! If you’re planning for a long day spent here, I would highly recommend camping at one of their campsites.

  • If you are looking for just a day-trip, I would recommend bringing two vehicles and park at your starting location and your ending location to help ensure you can finish the trek before the sun sets.

Black Balsam KnobB

What I love most about this series of balds is the amount of options you have. You can hike as little or as much as you would like and still be able to see some incredible 360 degree views of the Appalachians.

  • My favorite way to hike the balds is through the 5 mile loop. This loop takes you around many different balds and leads you right back to where you parked.
  • The trail consists of rocky, grassy, and level ground, so I would consider this hike to be pretty mild, and very obtainable for someone who is not used to hiking very often.
  • If you’re hiking during the summertime, a perfect way to cool off is to take a drive to skinny dip falls (3 miles off the parkway).

This trail is the perfect way to spend a summer day. I would recommend having a picnic at one of the balds, or even spending the entire evening and camping (You must camp 1,000 feet away from the trails).

Craggy Pinnacle

Craggy forever holds a special place in my heart. The scenic drive on the parkway to these views is truly priceless. You truly feel like you’re on the edge of the world, and it’s an unbelievable feeling.

  • Once you arrive, you will see a visitors center and a huge parking lot. The view is amazing from here, but just wait, there’s more!
  • The best thing about this location is the amount of driving that you get to do on the parkway and then the short 1.4 mile hike to the summit of the mountain! Yep, you read that right. Just 1.4 miles to see these gorgeous views.
  • This trail is perfect for a family, or if you’re looking to do multiple trails in one day.
  • If you’re looking for a view to take your breath away, head up to the summit for either sunrise or sunset.. or both 😉

Max Patch

I have been coming to this bald since I was a little girl, and for that, this trail will always be my absolute favorite. The bald is located right in my hometown of Hot Springs, NC.

  • Balds are truly amazing in this part of the country. While, this bald is not natural, due to a clearing in the nineteenth century, it’s truly breathtaking.
  • This bald is located right on the Appalachian Trail, and is one of the main resting stops for thru-hikers.
  • There are 2 options that you have when you get to the main parking lot. You can take the direct 1.4 mile hike to the summit, or you can do a longer 2.4 mile loop around the bald to the summit, I, personally love hiking, so I like to do the 2.4 mile loop.
  • What I love most about this hike, is that it is the perfect place to have a picnic, fly a kite, bring your dog, or play Frisbee.

Tips for Future Hikes

  1. Bring plenty of water!
  2. Bring an extra layer of clothing, as many of the hikes are 5,000-6,600 ft. in elevation. The temperatures are usually 20-30 degrees cooler.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes. If you’re like me, and hike in your Chacos for 15 miles, you’re gonna want some flip-flops or tennis shoes to slip on right after! (Lesson Learned)
  4. Bring a light-weight drawstring bag or day-trip back-pack. This, my friends, is your HOLY GRAIL. Put a first-aid kit in here (This is a must), snacks, your water, extra shoes/socks, extra clothing. Just anything, that you think you will need for the specific hike!
  5. Have fun, talk to other hikers, and enjoy yourself and God’s wonderful creation.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog! Hiking in the Appalachians is my favorite thing to do when I’m home, if you have completed any of these hikes, let me know in the comments! I would love to know your thoughts about them – Stay Peachy!


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