Mitchell State Park
Gap Trail (aka Black Mountain Crest Trail)
||None along the Deep Gap Trail.
Water fountains, Restaurant, and Snack Bar at Mt.
Mitchell State Park.
7.0/10 - Starting from Mt.
Strenuous: 9.0/10 - Starting
from the Carolina Hemlocks Campground
Trail - 9.0/10
Ridge Trail - 7.0/10
- Deep Gap Trail from Mt. Mitchell to Colberts
Miles - Colberts Ridge Trail
Miles TOTAL (one way)
||Excellent Views (when the weather
cooperates), highest mountain peaks east of the
is not allowed along these trails except for the
area around the Deep Gap Junction. Campsites
are available at both trailheads:
Mitchell State Park: (828) 675-4611
Hemlocks Campground: (828) 682-6146
as described requires parking a car at each trailhead.
It can hiked in either direction depending on
whether you prefer a long, strenuous climb or
a long descent.
The weather along the Black Mountain peaks is
very unpredictable. Be prepared for temperaturs
20-30 degrees cooler than surrounding areas.
The Deep Gap Trail (also know as the
Black Moutain Crest Trail) begins at the Mt. Mitchell
summit parking area. Before beginning the hike, I would
reccommend climbing to the top of the Mt. Mitchell Tower where
you can see all the peaks that you will be hitting on your
hike. Make sure you have an adequate water supply before
beginning your hike as there are no reliable water sources
along the Deep Gap Trail.
Deep Gap Trail takes you from Mt. Mitchell to
Deep Gap, hitting many of the Black Mountain peaks along the
way. On a clear day, the views from this trail are breathtaking!
But, even with the frequent fog, it is still an excellent
trail. One of the more interesting features along the
trail are the thousands of ghostly tree skeletons that inhabit
the area. The forest of The Black Mountain Peaks has
been hit hard in recent years by a combination of acid rain,
and an insect called the Balsam Wolly Adegid.
is nothing flat about this trail as it takes you to the top
of the following peaks:
- 6684 feet
- 6648 feet
Peak - 6581 feet
- 6596 feet
Peak - 6584 feet
Potato Hill - 6475
trail descends and climbs several hundred feet between each
of these peaks. There are no switchbacks used here,
making for some very steep sections.
After Potato Hill, the trail
descends about 700ft to Deep Gap where it comes to a junction
with the Colberts Ridge Trail. If you didn't park a
shuttle car, this is good turn around point. Another
hike option is to continue to the North on the Black Mountain
Crest Trail which heads uphill again to hit three more Black
Mountain Peaks. For this hike, you will turn right (West)
onto the Colberts Ridge Trail.
Colberts Ridge Trail descends just about the
whole way from 5700ft at Deep Gap to 2750ft at the South Toe
River. It is an interesting trail with lots of rocks
to climb over and around for much of the way. The trail
appears lightly traveled with some sections being very much
half ways down there are two nice bald rock areas, which offer
some excellent views. The Black Mountain Peaks that
you passed over earlier can be seen to the South West.
From the Bald Rock areas, the trail becomes
wider and less interesting as it continues downhill to the
Colberts Ridge Trailhead and small parking area (3-4 cars)
on Colbert Creek Road (SR1158). If your shuttle car
is parked at the Carolina Hemlocks Campground, cross the Road
and make your way down hill to the South Toe River.
The campground is on the other side of the river.
Gettin' There :
to Mt. Mitchell State Park
- Blue Ridge Parkway to NC128 (Mile Marker 355).
Head north on NC128 for about 5 miles. The road dead
ends at the Mt. Mitchell Parking Area and Deep Gap Trailhead.
to Carolina Hemlocks
Campground - Blue Ridge Parkway
to NC80 (Mile Marker 345). Head north on NC80 for about 5
miles. Campground will be on the left.
to Colberts Ridge Trailhead
- From the Carolina Hemlocks Campground head North on
NC80 for 1/2 mile, turn left on Colbert Creek Road (SR1158),
about 1/2 mile, the trailhead and a small parking area will
be on your right. Or, from the campground it's a short
hike to the trailhead if you don't mind wading across the
South Toe River to get there.