This past week, I decided to get out of dodge for a while and take a small road trip up around Western North Carolina. I was ready to see some fall colors, turn off the (work) phone for a while, and see some friends I haven’t seen in a long while. Quite a few of my planned stops revolved around national parks I hadn’t been to before (or at least don’t remember).

Mitchell at Mount Mitchell

Mitchell at Mount Mitchell

The first park on my list was Mount Mitchell located in Burnsville, NC. At first it made the list simply because I saw my name on the map but then I read up on the park and found out it was the highest point east of the Mississippi.

The weather last week was perfect and the day of my visit to Mount Mitchell found a cool breeze and the sun shining. While it was cool up on the mountain, you could have gotten away with shorts as long as you stayed in the sun. If you plan on going, I would check the weather before you leave as I’ve heard of snow being on top of the mountain even though it is warm at the base.

Plan on taking at least three hours to see everything at a leisurely pace. You will need more time if you plan on doing some hiking and/or have children with you. They have a nice museum where you can read up about how the mountain was formed as well as how the mountain was measured by Dr. Elisha Mitchell. From 1835 to 1844, Dr. Mitchell made several trips to the area in order to calculate the elevation of the mountain. Long story short, Dr. Mitchell was able to calculate the elevation to within 12 feet of what it is calculated at today. And you thought you were smart with your fancy phone…

The park has a nice restaurant with an incredible view outside the windows so tack on another hour or so to your trip if you want to catch a pretty good meal while you are there. And of course they have plenty of gift shops to pick up some knickknacks for yourself or friends. I had to get a Mt. Mitchell hat!

Do yourself a favor and plan a trip to the top of the mountain. If at all possible, I would suggest going when the colors are changing and during the week so as to avoid crowds.  For more information on the park, visit the North Carolina State Parks website. From there you can read up on all of the available activities.

To see more photos from Mount Mitchell as well as other pics from the trip, check out my album on Flickr.