*Mt Mitchell is the highest peak in the eastern US with an elevation of 6,684 ft above sea level.

The mountain was first measured by Elisha Mitchell, a science professor at the University of North Carolina, in 1835. Through a combination of barometric pressure readings and mathematical formulas, Mitchell was able to calculate the height of the summit—which would eventually bear his name—to within 12 feet of today’s measurements. 

Mount Mitchell became North Carolina’s first state park in 1915. Parkway visitors can take a side trip to the state park at milepost 355.4 to enjoy breathtaking views from the summit’s observation deck, visit the museum and restaurant, or take a scenic hike through the Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest—which can only be found a few places on earth.*

A subrange of the Appalachians, Mount Mitchell reigns supreme as the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Its soaring 6,684-foot summit offers breathtaking panoramic views and a unique ecosystem that rivals Canada's boreal forests.

Located in Yancey County, Mount Mitchell is just a 30-mile drive northeast of Asheville, a popular tourist destination known for its stunning Blue Ridge Parkway and vibrant arts scene. From Asheville, you can take the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to mile marker 355 and then follow NC Highway 128 to reach the summit.

The crown jewel of Mount Mitchell State Park, the peak is easily accessible by car, making it a great option for visitors of all ages and abilities. A paved pathway leads from the parking area to a breathtaking observation deck, where on a clear day, you can see for miles across rolling hills and distant mountains.

For those seeking a deeper exploration, the park offers a network of hiking trails that delve into the cool, spruce-fir forests blanketing the mountain's slopes. These trails range from easy strolls to challenging hikes, catering to all experience levels.

A trip to Mount Mitchell isn't just about the views. The park's unique high-elevation environment fosters a diversity of plant and animal life uncommon in the southern Appalachians. Keep your eyes peeled for red-breasted nuthatches, red foxes, and various wildflowers that thrive in the mountain's cooler climate.

So, if you're looking for a taste of adventure and a chance to conquer the highest peak east of the Mississippi, then look no further than Mount Mitchell. With its stunning scenery, rich history, and diverse ecology, this western North Carolina treasure promises an unforgettable experience.

*Source: Blue Ridge PKWY*


Image Credit: NPS Image - Looking down the sprawling mountain at the winding road leading up to the peak of Mt. Mitchell with clouds overhead.  A. Armstrong


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