Mount Mitchell (NC) Observation Tower
Posted by: PFF
N 35° 45.898 W 082° 15.907
17S E 385637 N 3958618
Quick Description: Observation platform built in 2009 to replace an aging stone structure with steep, narrow steps. Located on the highest point in the Eastern United States.
Location: North Carolina, United States
Date Posted: 8/24/2009 6:24:09 PM
Waymark Code: WM72T2
The original stone tower was demolished in 2008. In 2009, a new observation tower was dedicated by Lewis Ledford, Director of North Carolina State Parks (and former Ranger at Mt. Mitchell State Park).
Like a similar tower on Clingman's Dome, this one is handicap accessible through the use of a long ramp.
The 280-yard trail from the parking lot has been smoothed by interlocking paving blocks. It is a steep grade, but most visitors will not have a problem. Just go at your own pace, and take frequent pauses to catch your breath.
The panorama from the tower is 360 degrees. The elevation at the base of the platform is 6,684 feet, which is the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, Mount Mitchell experiences fog and clouds on eight days in every ten. But on a clear day, the view is astounding. Keep in mind that the temperature will be much cooler/colder than Asheville or Burnsville. Even in summer, a sweater or windbreaker will feel comfortable.
At the summit: The grave of Dr. Elisha Mitchell. On the floor of the viewing platform is a compass rose and an outline of the state, with a special benchmark disk positioned accurately within the outline. In the parking lot is a concession stand and rest rooms, and on the way to the summit, along NC-128, is a restaurant which operates May through October.
To reach the State Park, take the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mile Marker 355.3 (Black Mountain Gap). Exit onto NC-128 and go 4.8 miles to the parking lot for the observation tower.
Height of Look-Out Tower in feet: 6,684.00
Opening times and fees:
Free. The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed in winter, giving no access to Mount Mitchell.
Parking Area: N 35° 45.986 W 082° 15.923
Please log only if you have been up there and you must include a photo of the scenic view from the top.