Mount Mitchell Via North Siouxon Creek

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Joined: December 3rd, 2018, 8:52 pm

Mount Mitchell Via North Siouxon Creek

Post by Willrus_5 » May 14th, 2023, 8:24 pm

Took advantage of the awesome weather this weekend and decided to give the long and to my knowledge, only current viable route up to Mount Mitchell. I also had never been to Black hole falls so was pretty excited for the day.

With the lack of trip reports on here and other sites on the North Siouxon I was actually surprised to see two other cars when we arrived to the TH at 9am.

I wont speak much on the trail to black hole falls as that has been previously documented, I will say the trail is in great shape and has some awesome log bridges. There was even a guy out clearing some of the brush on the trail.
Black Hole falls had strong flow from all the recent snow melt
After checking out the waterfall and saying goodbye to our friend who was just planning to do a 10 mile day we started our journey into the unknown up to Mount Mitchell.
The junction to continue going up. I thought out loud to my buddy Mack that this was just to keep people on the right track to the waterfall and not an indication of the trail conditions to come...

About a 1/4 mile up from the junction there is a nice campsite, thats where the guy who was doing some tread clearing work was camped. Thanks again to that guy!
Shortly after the campsite the worse blowdown section of the whole trail comes into view.
At the time I couldn't help but feel that it was about to be "one of those days."

After hurdling our way through the blowdown section we soon came up to the upper creek crossing.
We looked at each other and both decided that the risk/reward ratio wasn't worth the bridge crossing. We had both already started to sweat with the hot morning temps so the creek crossing was quite pleasant, although the rocks in the shallow water were pretty slick.

The next mile or so was really enjoyable, sure there were occasional blow downs but not nearly as bad as right after Black Hole falls. At no point were we wondering where the trail went.
Typical trail conditions above the upper creek crossing, mossy trail with the occasional blowdown to navigate. The structure of the trail is in real good shape but definitely could use a little TLC.

The trail slowly made its way out of the thick forest and into an old road bed. We found an old sign, that like the trail had seen better days.
The old road bed provided us with the first real view of the objective for the day.
This section of the trail is slowly fading away, as overgrowth had made the old road bed very thin and is continuing to make the trail slide further and further into the bank.

As the trail continued east, we slowly saw that we were emerging from the valley and would soon be heading west up towards the direction of the peak. We were soon surprised to see that there would be another wet creek crossing as the trail started traversing west.
This sign is a little better shape that the previous.
The (upper) upper creek crossing, it looks worse than it is in the photos and both of us had no trouble crossing it twice.
The trail conditions slighty improved after the crossing and we were able to move quickly even though the incline was pretty steady. That was until we came to some section with some overgrown scotch broom. We thought nothing of it and moved through it swiftly. That was until I looked down at my legs to see that those plants had ticks on them. This completely caught my off guard as I wouldn't think ticks would be around this area. Unfortunately for us, they seemed to be thriving in this more exposed, dry roadbed. From here until the final section of the Mount Mitchell trail we would probably pull off about 15 ticks between the two of us.

Once we got past this section we were at the recent clearcut that met up with the old trail. This was the only hard navigational section as a small portion of the trail had been obliterated by logging. Luckily for us we could see the trail up ahead and were able to pick out way through the destruction.
St Helens from the logging road
After the clearcut the trail enters a thicker forest that has some similarities to the lower sections. We started hitting snow patches around 3100' that progressively got worse and unavoidable.
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Upper trail section before snow hit
Right before the trail become totally snow covered we came across another excellent water source about 500 feet below the summit. I am not sure if this is an annual stream but it was a welcomed surprise. Along with this source the whole trail really had pretty frequent water sources that made the hot day much more manageable. After crossing the last stream the trail become pretty snow covered. Instead of trying to follow the trail we decided to just head straight up, the area was wide open and cross country travel was pretty easy.
IMG-1266 (1).jpg
A few mins later the summit came into view and we were treated to an awesome three Volcano view to the north with Swift Reservoir too. The prominence of this peak have to give it one of the best views in the region.
We took sometime eating some snacks and taking in the views. To the south we could see Hood. I particularly liked seeing some of the upper sections of the North Siouxon Creek trail from above.
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The old roadbed section going back into the woods. Some of the many neat summit block rocks in the foreground.

As much as we wanted to stay at the summit we realized that we still had 10 miles to go back to the car. The rest of the trip had no surprises and we were able to shave about an hour off our approach time. As we got within a couple miles to the TH we saw 4 different groups/individuals out hiking. I am glad to see some of the beginning sections of trail getting use. I hope my post may inspire others to go check out more of the trail up to Mount Mitchell. Theres a good camp spot by the falls, shortly above it and right before the upper creek crossing by the second sign that I posted above, although this site might be home to more ticks that its worth.

For more route info including a GPX, along with a couple more photos.


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Re: Mount Mitchell Via North Siouxon Creek

Post by cmbaker91 » May 15th, 2023, 9:51 pm

Thanks for sharing this trip report. Appreciate all the photos. I've been curious about exploring this area, though the stream crossings look like they could make the rest of the day a bit unpleasant!

Also, this should be added to the North Siouxon and/or Mitchell Mountain pages in the Field Guide. Not sure how to do that or signal to mods to do that though.

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Re: Mount Mitchell Via North Siouxon Creek

Post by bobcat » May 16th, 2023, 9:58 pm

cmbaker91 wrote:
May 15th, 2023, 9:51 pm
Also, this should be added to the North Siouxon and/or Mitchell Mountain pages in the Field Guide. Not sure how to do that or signal to mods to do that though.
I link the latest TRs to relevant Field Guide entries at the end of every month.

With the last upgrade, a few years ago now, the feature that allowed posters to do this themselves no longer functions.

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