Trail Run Project Logo

Mount Mitchell



11.7 mile 18.8 kilometer out and back
69% Runnable


Ascent: 3,651' 1,113 m
Descent: -3,650' -1,113 m
High: 6,663' 2,031 m
Low: 3,012' 918 m


Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 43% (23°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Matthew Meek

Ascend the tallest peak in The East from humble beginnings in Briar Bottom Group Campground.

Matthew Meek

Features Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views

This park is EXTREMELY dog friendly, granted they must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 ft.


This fantastic run takes you from Briar Bottom Group Campground (Poplar Shelter) to the summit of Mt. Mitchell and back again.

Need to Know

There is no overnight parking at the campground, so you'll have to park a good way down the road if you want to park overnight.


Leaving from Poplar Shelter, follow the Mt. Mitchell Trail #190 as it makes a steady climb of over 3600 feet on a safe and well marked, albeit-technical, trail along multiple ridgelines to the summit. When on trail, be sure to follow blue trail blazes whatever you do. This should ensure you make it to the right place, but if in doubt, you can always use the Trail Run Project mobile app to keep you on track.

If you're looking to do this as an overnight, keep your eyes peeled for dispersed campsites and accompanying fire rings. Some of the best spots are located near mile three at a field and stream located near the trail, as well as around mile four near Commissary Ridge and an adjoining field.

Upon reaching the top of the Mt. Mitchell Trail #190, bear left onto the Mt. Mitchell Summit Trail for otherworldly views from the overlook before making the trek back to the campground. If you'd prefer not to make the trek down and can arrange a shuttle, cars can reach the summit via NC 128.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background


Rate This Run

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In


Oct 12, 2019
Katie Connors
Nov 9, 2018
Mike D
Took longer route in middle (yellow diamond), summited Mitchell, down Commissary/Horse Trail/Mitchell. Wet, muddy, slick in the rain. Lots of hiking 13mi
Oct 17, 2018
David B
Fun run with the altitude gain unrelenting but doable. Tons of roots and rocks so watch your step.
Apr 20, 2018
Caitlin Mooney
Mar 19, 2018
Sam Marshall
Snow and ice up top 11.2mi
Dec 29, 2017
Lexi Gross
hiked, not ran 12.5mi

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 29 votes


  4.6 from 29 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Run Rankings


122 Views Last Month
6,280 Since Jun 20, 2016



View from the Mt. Mitchell summit.
Mar 10, 2016 near Burnsville, NC
View towards Maple Bald
Jul 26, 2018 near Burnsville, NC
Summit view
Aug 19, 2018 near Burnsville, NC
Mountain views abound on this portion of the MST.
May 14, 2017 near Black M…, NC
Mt. Mitchell summit. Photo by Jake Blood.
Mar 25, 2016 near Burnsville, NC
Backcountry Campsite Commissary Hill at intersection of Mt Mitchell Trail #190 and Horse trail
Jan 12, 2020 near Black M…, NC


Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running