Route: Mt Mitchell (NC)

North Carolina, US
5.3 mi

Mt Mitchell (6684') is the highest peak in the eastern USA.

The ascent from Briar Bottom is gains nearly 3700' in about 5.25 miles.  Start at the Briar Bottom TH, for the ascent time stops at observation deck.  While there is a Strava segment for this, it is important to report your actual (watch) time, as relying on GPS can be off by many seconds.  Also, the Strava Segment doesn't go to the actual observation deck.


Mt. Mitchell Vertical Kilometer

The vertical kilometer is a coveted challenge and one of the greatest tests in aerobic fitness! I haven't seen many of these in the U.S. so I thought we would get one started on the highest point in the east, Mt Mitchell. Would have loved to have this end on the observation deck, but unfortunately it is just shy.

Starting point: Mount Mitchell trail head. Park at the Black Mountain campground and walk the Briar Bottom trail for 0.25 miles before it forks right to put you on the Mount Mitchell trailhead.


I started both my attempts at the 0.0 sign on the bridge on the parking lot side of the river. The GPX provided on this page starts a little farther up the trail but that seemed like the logical beginning to me, as it is where they begin marking the trail.

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Completed the Mitchell Vertical Mile on 4/6/24. Started in Old Fort on the Curtis Creek Bridge on Hwy 70/E Main St to get a low enough start point. My route took me > 19 miles to complete. The last 2 miles were all snow and ice. This was a beautiful day with big views and a whole lot of quiet until the summit.

For the Mitchell Vertical Mile, I propose the following "rules": you must start anywhere at or below the confluence of Curtis Creek and Hwy 70/E Main St in Old Fort, North Carolina (or at any point along the Catawba River from Lackey Town Road East) to ensure you start below 1404' and gain a net vertical mile (5,280') to the summit of Mt. Mitchell at 6684' by any route of your choosing. Stop your tracking device once you reach the elevation marker on top of the tower.