Getting to Mt. Mitchell Like a Local

A scene along Curtis Creek
A scene along Curtis Creek

From the Community Center here at Creston, one can see across to Mt. Mitchell, a distance of approximately 13 miles.  At 6,684 feet above sea level, it is the highest peak east of the Rockies and features a wide variety of flora and fauna as a result of the change in elevation from its base to its summit.  On some days it appears as if you could almost reach out and touch it, or at least take a nice day hike to get there.  But what is the easiest way to actually get to the summit from Creston?

There’s a saying that applies particularly well to distances in the mountains.  “As the crow flies” is a phrase used by generations of mountain folks to imply that in a straight line it may only be a mile or two from point A to point B.  In reality because of the winding roads and mountains themselves, it may end up being many miles from point to point.  For example, most visitors would travel from Creston to Mt. Mitchell by way of I-40 to Asheville, then up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, a total trip of nearly and hour and a half, and 50 miles.  However, there’s a shorter way of which few people know that is equally scenic.

From the nearby town of Old Fort, one can get on Curtis Creek Road and follow it all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway, then on to Mt. Mitchell.  Total distance is just 33 miles and less than an hour.  Along the way, you’ll follow Curtis Creek for part of the way before the pavement becomes a gravel roadbed.  Don’t worry.  The road is smooth enough for a luxury sedan although during a dry spell you may get a little dusty.

This is a real bragging point for our Creston property owners in that they can easily be at the highest point in the eastern United States in less than an hour from their home.  There aren’t many mountain communities that can make that claim.