Mount Mitchell Sign
Shawn and I decided to take a trip up to Mount Mitchell while we were in the Asheville area. It was a nice drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had never been on the parkway, but had heard it was an awesome road to travel on. It was a good hour drive up Blue Ridge Parkway (it was only about 35 miles but all the curves in the road slowed progress) to reach the bottom of Mount Mitchell. Make sure your gas tank is full because we didn’t see one gas station the whole way there.
View from top of Mount Mitchell
Once you turn off of Blue Ridge Parkway you will have to take another road pretty much all the way to the top of Mount Mitchell. They also have a nice restaurant looking over the mountain about half way up. After reaching the top there is a parking lot looking down on the road we traveled up on and all across the mountain range. As we stepped out of the car I noticed instantly that we were going to have a bug problem so bring plenty of bug spray. There were flies everywhere.
There is a short trail, but very steep, that takes you to the tip-top of Mount Mitchell. They have benches every 20 feet or so to stop and take a rest. When you get to the top you will notice a stone structure that is the grave of the man who discovered Mount Mitchell. Walking past the grave site is a bridge leading up to a platform area which is the highest point east of the Mississippi. This is the best view from the mountain.
Founder of Mount Mitchell Buried Here
We had a good trip up there. I think the drive up to Mount Mitchell down the Blue Ridge Parkway was more enjoyable to me. Do I recommend traveling to Mount Mitchell? Yes, because who wouldn’t want to stand on the highest point east of the Mississippi!
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Josh and I in September of 2010 decided to reach South Carolina’s highest point and check out Caesars Head Park. This was all to be done in the same day. We did it iron man style, what I call it when you drive to a location and then do the activity without no rest. We left from Myrtle Beach about 4 am in the morning driving to Sassafras Mountain(SC highest point at 3650 ft) It was boring drive all the way till you get to Greenville that is when the hills start kicking in. Nothing can be more boring than driving 75 miles of nothing but flat straight roads that present no challenge to drivers except for the occasional slow driver in the fast lane.
We reached the Sassafras Mountains around 9am in the morning with no problem. I think it was all luck and we put a lot of trust in Garmin GPS we had with us. No road signs are available pointing to the mountain just so you know. You can basically drive most of the way up the peak to a small parking lot and the rest of the way is a small hike. Josh and I were kinda disappointed with the view, which was none. The problem was the time of year we decided to do this trip, the tree still had plenty of leaves which block all the good views. I best recommend going in late fall or early spring when all the leaves are laying on the ground. We provided a little video of the summit and the road leading to it and also the SC marker. We only lasted about 15 minutes up there before boredom set in. On to the next destination.
Driving to the Caesars Head Park afterwards was a little confusing and got lost a few times. But when we reached the outlook point it was all worth it. I think you have to be there in person to fully appreciate it. For us it was definitely a wow factor with the view. We decided to tackle the trails leading to raven cliff falls. It cost around $3 to $5 to park and it is all about honesty. They have a box where you put the parking money in the envelope and shove it in the box. Josh and I underestimated the length of the hike and the fitness level.. Taking the hiking challenge showed us how out of shape we were and turned out to be a wake up call. The trail goes up and down around several hills and took us about 45mins to just reach the outlook of the falls. It would have took us another 45mins to the base and we wanted no action on that task. The day was taking a toll on us by then. After the hour and half hiking we decided to get something to eat. Short video of both outlook follows.
The closest town was about a 15 minute drive from where we were at. We were looking for a quick fix and found it in my favorite style of fast food concept. The ability to order from two separate fast food menus in one building priceless. Sometimes I like to take my favorites from both and create a mash-up order. Long John Silvers/KFC combo was a winner for me because we don’t have Long Johns by the beach for obvious reasons.(A lot of fresh seafood places in Myrtle Beach). I’m always got my eye out for the combo styles of Taco Bell, KFC, A&W and Long Johns Silver when on the road.