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Balsam Nature Trail

A dark view of Mount Mitchell State Park
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Current status of park facilities   

The summit observation tower is now open every day. 

Picnic Shelters are available on a first come first serve basis, and are not reservable this time of year. 

The following facilities are closed for the season:    
- Restrooms at the Summit                                
- Campground                                                          
- Restaurant                                                            
- Gift shop and Snack Bar                                        
- Museum

The park office lobby area is open for self-service information from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily.

Overnight parking is permitted for people backcountry camping in the surrounding National Forest. Please fill out a parking pass and leave it on the dashboard of your car. Passes are located in the boxes where the overnight parking signs are at the summit parking lot. There is no overnight parking permitted at the park office. 

Please check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly. 

To check Blue Ridge Parkway road closures, please visit their website.

Please note that this alert is updated only when something changes. 

 Last updated on: Saturday, April 3, 2021

Balsam Nature Trail

Balsam Nature Trail at Mount Mitchell State Park

This short 0.75-mile self-guided nature trail starts at its junction with the Mount Mitchell Trail and ends at the tower summit parking lot. A tiny stream located along this trail is the highest spring in eastern America. Its average temperature is 36 degrees. This spring was a major water source for park personnel during the developmental stages of Mount Mitchell State Park.

ALERT: Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and carry proper gear, as the high altitude makes the climate of Mount Mitchell chilly, even in summer. Beware of ice on trails.

Trail Location: 
Upper summit parking lot
Trail Point of Interest: 
Self-guided interpretive panels
Trail Length: 
0.75 miles
Trail Type: 
loop
Trail Difficulty: 
moderate hike
Trail Use: 
Hiking
TRACK Trail
Trail Surface: 
natural surface
Trail Blaze: 
white triangle

Map of North Carolina – Mount Mitchell State Park


Contact the park
 

828-675-4611

mount.mitchell@ncparks.gov

 

Restaurant

828-675-1888
 


Address
 

Park office

2388 N.C. 128
Burnsville, NC 28714

GPS: 35.7528, -82.2737
 

Hours
 

► 

  • November to February:
    7:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • March to April:
    7:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • May to August:
    7:00am to 10:00pm
     
  • September to October:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

► 
 

  • November to March:
    9:00am to 5:00pm on weekdays; closed on weekends
     
  • April to October:
    9:00am to 5:00pm daily
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

► 

  • The museum is currently closed until further notice.
     
  • May to October:
    10:00am to 6:00pm
     

► 

  • The restaurant is currently closed all year for renovations.
     
  • May 3 to August 31:
    11:00am to 7:00pm
     
  • September 1 to October 31:
    11:00am to 7:00pm
     

► 
 

  • May 24 to November 22:

Friday to Tuesday:
10:00am to 1:00pm, 2:00pm to 5:00pm 
 

► 

  • This service is temporarily unavailable until further notice.
     
  • July 1 to October 31:

Friday to Sunday:
10:00am to 6:00pm
 

  • At any other time:
    Please call the park office several days ahead of your visit to schedule this assistance.