The spectacular summit of Mount Mitchell is the highest point east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet. It's a remarkable spot that offers commanding views of the surrounding countryside, so it was no great surprise when it was chosen as the site for North Carolina's first state park in 1915.
Naturally, the first thing you should do when visiting this 1,996-acre park is head to the summit's observation deck, which is easily accessible via a steep path from the parking lot. Make the short climb and you'll be rewarded with 365-degree views of spruce-fir forest and surrounding wilderness areas -- on a clear day, you can see as far as 85 miles away.
It's a magnificent sight and well worth the visit, but there's also a whole lot more you can see and do in Mount Mitchell State Park. If you're feeling energetic, there are numerous hiking trails that allow you to immerse yourself in the park's best natural scenery. Trails range from easy to strenuous, so make sure you know what you're getting yourself into before setting out.
The park also offers excellent wildlife and bird watching, a shady picnic area in a mile-high location, mature hardwood forests, and a nine-site family campground. Open from the start of May until the end of October, the campground features restrooms but no showers or hot water. Campers also have the option of leaving their vehicles in the park overnight to backpack into the Pisgah National Forest.
There is no fee to enter Mount Mitchell State Park, but make sure you check the camping fee that applies when reserving your site. Your pet is welcome to join you in the campground, but you'll need to keep them on a leash and under control at all times. As always, you'll also need to clean up after your pet whenever necessary.
Mount Mitchell is an iconic destination that offers an awesome experience for all nature lovers. If you ever get the chance to explore it with your furry friend, don't pass it up.