Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mt Mitchell Camping May 27-30, 2011

View of Mt Mitchell Summit Tower from the Camping Area
The Camping area at Mt Mitchell State Park is for tents only.  There is a parking area for a single row of cars with no room for a longer vehicle.  At the end of the parking is a shed of firewood for sale and a path to site one.  To reach the rest of the sites you must climb a set of stone steps and proceed uphill on the gravel path.   Sites two and three are before the restrooms.  Sites four and five are across from the restrooms.  The rest of sites six through nine are uphill from the restrooms along the path.  There is a water spigot near the restrooms and one by site seven.

The sites are small but adequate and all have a tent pad, table, fireplace with grill, lantern stand, and bear box.  The surface of the site is gravel and  all the trees and bushes have been left undisturbed between the sites allowing for privacy.  The bear box is a large metal cabinet which was large enough to hold our cooler, two bins of food and cooking utensils, camp stove, and other odds and ends with no problem.  Most of the sites have a view of the surrounding mountains.

After we had  made several trips up the hill with our gear the rangers stopped by our site.  They mentioned that the trail past our site led up to a gravel pull off where we could park while loading and unloading.  This made loading at the end of the weekend much easier.  The rangers instructed us on the use of the bear box and made rounds every night to be sure all campers were storing everything that might attract bears.  They told us about a brand new cooler that had never been used being torn up by the bears because they recognized it as a food container.  They said not to keep items like soap and toothpaste in the tent as they smelled like food to the bears.

The lowest point in the campground is 6230' of elevation.   This makes the weather more like Canada then North Carolina.  During the middle of the day the sun got hot in the campsite but at night it felt like the 40's.  Clouds came over the mountains several times over the weekend putting us in damp fog for short periods of time before they moved on.  

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