Though it is the highest point east of the Mississippi River, Mt. Mitchell is one of the more accessible highpoints. A drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway takes one to Mt. Mitchell State Park. From there, one can drive to a parking lot near the summit and hike a short distance on a paved route to the summit.
In 2016, more people took advantage of this park than in previous years as Mt. Mitchell State Park, home of North Carolina’s highpoint and highest point of the Eastern United States, saw an over 25% increase in visitors in 2016 over 2015.
Anyone who has visited Mt. Mitchell knows that park and mountain are often much cooler than the surrounding areas in the summer, and many will go to the park to escape the summer heat.
Last year also marked centennial celebrations for the state park, so it will be interesting to see if the numbers decline going forward.