There have been BEAR ENCOUNTERS reported at Commissary Hill Primitive Camping Area, located on U.S. Forest Service Land. Camping at Commissary Hill is not advised.Posted on: Tuesday, July 24, 2018
There are no entrance fees to enjoy the park. In addition to park-specific rules, please read the systemwide Park Rules for all North Carolina State Parks.
Foraging bears have been active and sometimes aggressive at the Commissary Ridge area. Bear-resistant food canisters or storage sacks are highly advised, otherwise food must be hung correctly at least 150 feet away from tent. Food bags should hang 5- feet below the branch, 5-feet from the tree trunk, and be at least 10-feet off the ground. Bears can and will climb trees and can easily reach food bags suspended at heights under 10 feet.
Failing to behave properly places you and your fellow visitors at risk for property damage and severe personal injury.
Black bears have been active in and around the park, inflicting damage to vehicles and camping equipment. All of these incidents have resulted from the improper storage of food, toiletries and trash. You must secure all food, garbage, and any items that might smell like food to a bear (toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, cosmetics, pet food, cooking and cleaning supplies, stove fuel, etc.) in the bear-proof storage container available at each campground site.
Never leave food unattended, even if in coolers. Secure only in bear-proof container or car trunk with windows completely rolled up.
It's not uncommon to encounter black bears at Mount Mitchell State Park, particularly in warm weather months. A few things to remember:
- Never feed bears. Bears that become accustomed to human food and lose their fear of people often must be destroyed.
- Bear-proof storage containers are available at each campsite. Properly store all food, garbage and items that might smell like food to a bear (toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorants, air fresheners, cooking and cleaning supplies, etc.) when camping or leaving items unattended. If camping in the backcountry, hang your food bag from a rope slung over a sturdy tree limb at least 10 feet off the ground and at least 25 feet away from your tent.
- If approached by a bear, slowly back away while yelling loudly and waving your arms. Remain in eye contact with the bear and do not turn around or run. Throwing rocks or waving sticks may be necessary if the bear follows you. Act aggressively and fight back if the bear attacks.
Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and carry proper gear as the high altitude makes the climate of Mount Mitchell chilly, even in summer. Severe storms above 6,000 feet are unpredictable and can be life-threatening. Fog and winds can impede search-and-rescue crew and helicopter access. Hike and camp in the back country at your own risk.
Never rely on GPS, cell-phone, or rescue beacon devices to prevent/survive emergency situations.
Always be prepared for the worst weather. Closure of the Blue Ridge Parkway occurs frequently when snow & ice accumulate. Be prepared to stay extra days or pack up and leave upon request by a park ranger at any time.
Event permits. Some events—such as weddings, athletic contests, company parties, etc.—may require a Special Activity Permit. If you're unsure whether such a permit is necessary for your event, call the park office beforehand. You can download a Special Activity permit application or obtain one from the park office.
Research and collection permits. A permit is required for any project involving the collection, removal or disturbance of any natural or cultural resource of any state park unit and for projects that require placing monitoring equipment in any state park unit. Learn more about research and collection permits or fill out a permit application online.
A $25 fee will be charged for all returned checks.
Mount Mitchell State Park
November - February: 7am - 6pm
March, April: - 7am - 8pm
September, October: 7am - 9pm
May - August: 7am - 10pm
Closed Christmas Day
Park Office Hours:
8am - 5pm Monday - Sunday, April - October
8am - 5pm Monday - Friday, November - March
May - October: 10am - 6pm
May 1 - August 31, 10am - 8pm daily
September 1 - October 31, 10am - 7pm daily
Concession Stand / Gift Shop:
May - October, 10am - 6pm Thursday through Monday