The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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Don Nelsen
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Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by Don Nelsen » April 29th, 2016, 5:35 pm

AKguy80 wrote:Those are some nice pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Some questions for those of you who are familiar with the area and were able to get to any of the trails for Mt Mitchell.

1) If you go to the gate "old" route, would parking just outside that gate cause issues with those land owners, who seemed to indicate they did not want trespassing for hikers trying to get to the old trail? ...

...It is bizarre to me that most of the routes to Mt Mitchell have become increasingly more difficult to access.
Property maps show that the landowner's gate is right at his property line so parking just outside the gate is on public state or national forest land. There is plenty of room to park on the shoulder.

Here is a map of the problem area. Taking the bushwhack route as shown adds 7.2 miles to the RT and 1,350' EG getting to the original Mt. Mitchell trail making the total RT 12.8 miles and 3,550' EG. Originally, the Mt. Mitchell hike was 5.6 miles RT and 2,200' EG.

Image
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AKguy80
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Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by AKguy80 » May 3rd, 2016, 8:50 pm

Thanks for clearing that up. I might have to give it a try as it still seems closer than the north Siouxon route (which I don't even know is still open).


Depending on the timing I may be able to help with the trail blazing that was previously mentioned as well. I would love to see that new route make the connection with the old good trail.

How would we go about organizing this so that it can happen?

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Eric Peterson
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Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by Eric Peterson » May 4th, 2016, 5:36 am

Did I miss it? I opted for something a lot shorter and closer to home Sunday...

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Don Nelsen
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Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by Don Nelsen » May 4th, 2016, 8:26 am

AKguy80 wrote:Thanks for clearing that up. I might have to give it a try as it still seems closer than the north Siouxon route (which I don't even know is still open).

Depending on the timing I may be able to help with the trail blazing that was previously mentioned as well. I would love to see that new route make the connection with the old good trail.

How would we go about organizing this so that it can happen?
Eric Peterson wrote:Did I miss it? I opted for something a lot shorter and closer to home Sunday...

I went out Sunday and was able to find all of an old trail that just needs some picking up. I could use some help with that. The "new" Mt. Mitchell trail is 7.4 miles RT and 2,070 total EG. There are a few sections of the new route that could use some flagging too, at least until a good tread gets worn in. It is really hard to see in a few spots and it's easy to get off-route. The road to the TH is suitable for any car, too, with parking for five or six cars, maybe more with care.

There are three geocaches near Mt. Mitchell that haven't been visited in years and I intend to go back and claim them all as soon as possible.

Also, when I reached the "old" Mt. Mitchell trail, I found it much in need of some lopper work due to years of fir and hemlock growth over the route. Wouldn't hurt to fix that while there.

dn
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K.Wagner
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Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by K.Wagner » June 7th, 2016, 12:28 pm

Somehow I didn't get the notices about these updates, so my apologies for being a little late.

1) For anyone who likes obscure routes, pick up the route that Don mapped. He and "The Other Kelly" have done quite a bit of work trying to open it up. It is actually pretty easily followed for most of the distance, but I would say that a GPS is a requirement, just in case you loose it out on the eastern end.

2) The 1000 / 6000 road that crosses over the Siouxon Crks and links between Canyon Crk and the E Fk Lewis River (ie: Cougar) is blocked for awhile because of logging operations. The closure is near the summit of the ridge, and doesn't affect travel from the south side.

3) The Canyon Crk Rd (Healy Rd / FR43????) was blocked for awhile by a slide. The road that you want is just past this slide area (pretty obvious as you drive through it). It is the second left possible after you cross the high bridge over Canyon Crk.

4) As to the parking along the 10 road, I always park back about 100 yards. There is an ATV track on the uphill side there, and that takes away some of the implication that you're going around the gate. I just hiked the old trail last weekend. It is in amazing good shape, and just a gem of a trail. I crossed Rain Crk just on the far side of the property boundary (unmarked or fenced) and the crossing was actually dry, bare river gravel.
Kelly
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Don Nelsen
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Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by Don Nelsen » June 7th, 2016, 4:33 pm

Update: I hiked the whole route with AKguy80 on 5/30 and we improved, with a few flags, the first three miles of the new route and lopped all of the upper section of the Mt. Mitchell trail. There remain a few short sections that require ones attention to flags or old blazes but the entire route is good and should not be a problem for an experienced hiker. As Kelly said in the previous post, a good GPS would be useful to follow ones track back should you lose the trail. AKguy80 led most of the way but even though he had never been there, had no problem staying on track.

Logging operations required we come in from the south via Healey Rd./FR54, etc. but when we checked farther up the road we found that the barricades were down and we could have come in from the north as well. Appears the barricades are only up while they are logging on weekdays.

Frankly, IMO this is a better way to Mt. Mitchell than the old route. More interesting scenery, more old-growth, option to scale Sugar Loaf (P 3726) on the way and a few interesting geocaches, should you be so inclined.

Here is the map:

Image

and:

Image
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K.Wagner
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Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by K.Wagner » June 7th, 2016, 9:08 pm

As much as I liked hiking the "Old Mt Mitchell" Trail last weekend, I have to agree with DN 100%. My trip using the "Old" trail was 16 miles and 3,500 feet of elevation gain.

I'm sure that Don has more accurate numbers, but the "New" route is around 10 miles and 1,500 feet. And, you get to hike under "The Wall!" seen here from Mt Mitchell.
43-Sugar_Loaf-S.jpg
Kelly
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kepPNW
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Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by kepPNW » June 8th, 2016, 5:42 am

Wow, I've wanted to get there ever since hearing about it, but still haven't. Maybe this is the final inspiration. :)

How's the road access (to, and on, S3000)? Thanks!
Karl
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Don Nelsen
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Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by Don Nelsen » June 8th, 2016, 9:11 am

kepPNW wrote:Wow, I've wanted to get there ever since hearing about it, but still haven't. Maybe this is the final inspiration. :)

How's the road access (to, and on, S3000)? Thanks!
The road is a good gravel road, plenty wide for two cars passing in opposite directions. S3000 is good, too, but narrower with a few small potholes. On weekends, when no logging is going on, you can come in from either the north via Cougar or from the south via Chelatchie Prarie. The way from the north is faster by about 20 minutes, but longer. Have a good forest road map with you as the signage is almost nonexistent and the junctions aren't always obvious.

BTW, The hike is only 7.4 miles RT and 2,200' vertical. Adding Sugarloaf Ridge on to the hike would only be another 6/10 mile and 240' vertical.

We can thank a group of beargrass harvesters (or poachers, as the case may be) for some of this route, and of course Kelly Wagner for finding it. I've made two trips back to pick up the trash the poachers left - about 100 cans and at least 50 bottles, grocery bags, soup bowls, etc. There is still an abandoned camp site that needs cleaning up but it's out of sight of the trail so I've left it for the time being.

dn
Last edited by Don Nelsen on June 8th, 2016, 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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K.Wagner
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Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by K.Wagner » June 8th, 2016, 9:19 am

BTW Karl, congrats on getting published this morning! Does this mean that we have to add "Sir" in front now? :lol:
Kelly
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