The Ultimate Guide To Asheville and the Western North Carolina Mountains
The Ultimate Guide to Asheville & the Western North Carolina Mountains

The Online Version of the Best-selling Regional Guidebook

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Mount Mitchell
State Park

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   Mount Mitchell State Park is in the Black Mountain range, which reaches higher than the Blue Ridge or Smoky Mountains. At 6,684 feet, its dominant mountain Mount Mitchell is the highest peak in the eastern United States. A cool climate, unique flora and fauna and easy access from the Blue Ridge Parkway make this a very popular vacation spot. Mount Mitchell State Park offers tent camping, six trails of varying difficulty, nature study, picnic areas, Natural History Museum and restaurant. The Park is 1,727 acres in size, and the summit of Mount Mitchell is famous for its spectacular views. On a clear day it is possible to see for more than 70 miles. The Natural History Museum located on the way to the Stone Observation Tower at the summit has dioramas, exhibits and recordings that present some of the unusual higher elevation plants and wildlife.
    These high elevations give Mount Mitchell a cooler climate than the surrounding lowlands, a climate more typical of the boreal forests that dominate Canada and Alaska. Flora and fauna associated with the mountainís ecosystem are atypical of the southern Appalachians. Rare and uncommon plant and animal species live in the spruce-fir forest that covers the summit. This spruce-fir forest is among the rarest of forest environments in North Carolina, and one of the most endangered.

Wild & Furry Animals of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, by Lee James Pantas

    The Park was created in 1916 by individuals concerned with the destruction of virgin forests by logging, and the mountain was named for Dr. Elisha Mitchell, the first person to take measurements of the Black Mountains, which include Mt. Mitchell. Dr. Mitchell is buried on the summit of Mount Mitchell at the base of the 42-foot tall observation tower.

Website: Mount Mitchell State Park
Location: Northeast of
Distance: 1Ĺ hours from Asheville
Address: Milepost 355 on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Telephone: 828-675-4611, Park Office
Hours: November-February: 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; March & October: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. ; April, May and September: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; June-August: 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; tent camping from May 1 through October 31; park closed Christmas day.
Fees: None; campsites $8 per night
Allow: Minimum of two hours to hike to summit and see exhibits
Of Note: Parking and restrooms are wheelchair-accessible but pathways and picnic shelters are not.
Mount Mitchell is the highest peak in the Eastern United States.
Tips: Restrooms available at campground but no showers or hot water. A restaurant is located near the en-trance Ranger Station. Maps of the parkís trails and further information can be obtained at the station. Mt. Mitchell is visible from Asheville from the River Ridge Shopping Center and from I-240 and I-40 in that part of town.
Directions: Take the Blue Ridge Parkway north from Asheville. The entrance to the park is at Milepost 355.






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