At the Summit of Mount Mitchell

Top of the world, Mount Mitchell State Park, NC

Observation deck at the summit of Mount Mitchell State ParkIt’s pretty easy to get to the highest point in the eastern US; visit Mount Mitchell in western North Carolina and most can easily maneuver the 285 yards paved Summit Tower Trail to the top observation deck.  It is handicap accessible.  But be prepared for chilly weather with temps about 20 degrees cooler than lower elevations, experts say the climate is more like Canada than North Carolina.  At 6,684’ you will be rewarded with a 360-degree view for up to 85 miles of the surrounding Black Mountain Range and the On he trails, at Mount Mitchell State ParkPisgah National Forest.  There are many trails of varying levels throughout the Park and several easy trails from the summit. The informative signage about wildlife, plants, and geology make it a particularly enjoyable, educational experience for families.

The Summit and Dr. Mitchell's grave at Mount Mitchell State ParkElisha Mitchell, for whom the mountain is named, was a professor and scientist for 39 years at the University of North Carolina.  He died attempting to prove this particular mountain is the highest east of the Mississippi.  His estimations had been challenged by Thomas Clingman (of Clingman‘s Dome fame) and in 1857 at age 64, he was gathering more evidence when a fall of 35-40′ into a pool of water caused his demise.  Modern-day science has proven Dr. Mitchell’s calculations to be correct.  His grave was moved from Asheville to the summit in 1858, where many had wanted it to be immediately after his death.

View from Mount Mitchell State Park, NCYou access the Mount Mitchell State Park from the Blue Ridge Parkway and it is open generally from May – December.  Bad weather can limit access.  There is ample parking and a snack bar at the beginning of the Summit Trail.  The Mt. Mitchell Restaurant, with more parking and equally beautiful views, is a little farther down the mountain.  Note, the restaurant will close next season (2020) for a complete renovation.



At the summit of Mount Mitchell State ParkTwo Trivia Facts:

  • Mount Mitchell is not located in Mitchell County, but rather, Yancy County
  • On the plaque commemorating the death of Dr. Mitchell, University is misspelled (its Unversity). The original plaque was replaced in 1928 when the misspelling apparently occurred.

About KFBuchsbaum

A lover of words, learning something new every day, exploring new places, and meeting people from different cultures is what feeds my spirit. One significant thing I learned from my years in market research is that time away from an experience dilutes the memories.  You lose the highs and lows and end up with middle-of-the-road impressions.  The reason I started to blog, was to capture experiences real-time, in the moment.  I hope my moments help you relive some of your own great adventures or maybe plan some new.

Posted on August 28, 2019, in North Carolina, North Carolina, Western, USA and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. How far is Mt. Mitchell from Linville Ridge?



  2. We could do with another visit to that area!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great article, Karen!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Waiting for that nice weekend day to visit. Thanks for the overview!



    Liked by 1 person

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