Mount Mitchell Ridge Trail

Mount Mitchell Ridge Trail

The highest peak east of Colorado! What could be more enticing to mountain hikers? Nothing, I guess. So, on the sunny day of June 22, 2019, with thunder coming and going most of the day, bringing with it the threat of rain, Deena Thomas and Ranger Bob set out to experience Mount Mitchell’s high altitude trails. In consideration of our ages, we drove to the main parking lot near the top and took the tourist route to the tower at the tippy top. In consideration of the crowd of people, we only stayed there a few minutes. Then we drove part way back down the mountain and started the real hike along the northern ridge to Mount Craig and Big Tom Peak.


Near the top of the road to the parking lot we encountered one of Deena's law firm attorneys, Dan and his wife, who were biking up the very steep road. We had a nice visit.

At the beginning of the hike we ate a picnic lunch of Deena’s home-made, delicious, healthy, fresh food. After cleaning up the site we hiked north down, and down, and down a very steep, rocky trail. The path is well graded and well maintained so traversing it is not too tough, just committing – because returning to the parking lot requires hiking back up, and up, and up the same trail. Further up the trail we traversed some sections with long, steep rock inclines and no obvious steps, which were considerable tougher.

We saw some wonderful views of the Black Mountains in all directions. We passed a fair number of other hikers who were uniformly pleasant with whom to chat. We did not quite make it to Big Tom due to the ruggedness of the trail and the constant threat of bad weather with the danger of lightening. On the way back to the parking lot the rain finally caught up with us and we were happy to be prepared with rain suits. A good time was had by all!

Bob Laney

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Bob is the site curator and writer of Blue Ridge Outing. Since starting the Blue Ridge Outing travel blog in 2002, Bob has written, recorded and documented countless expeditions in the US and around the world.