Swannanoa Valley Museum Hosts Guided Hike to Secluded Mitchell Falls
On Saturday, June 2nd, the Swannanoa Valley Museum will host a hike on a private land preserve, with permission of the owners, to what is now known as Mitchell Falls. Mitchell Falls is a 25-foot waterfall located in Yancey County, North Carolina on the slope of Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain in the Appalachian Mountain chain, and highest point in the eastern United States. This is the site where Dr. Elisha Mitchell fell to his death on June 27, 1857 while trying to prove that the mountain that now bears his name is the highest in Eastern North America.
The hike is moderate, and follows an old logging road surrounded on both sides by a wild and remote wilderness area. After leaving the valley floor it is mostly uphill with a few steep sections, which can be tiring for those without hiking experience. There are several stream crossings and a short bushwhacking portion from the road down to the base of the falls that requires the use of a rope. Museum volunteers will provide assistance so that all hikers are able to make the steep descent.
Besides the beautiful Mitchell Falls themselves, the highlight of this trip is the dramatic history of the waterfall and surrounding land. Local expert, Wendell Begley will tell relate the story of Dr. Mitchell, the events that led up to his death, and the struggle to find and return Dr. Mitchell’s body to Asheville. Begley will also point out landmark ridgelines as well as old wagon and horse routes not used since the 1800s.
Participants should meet at 8:30 am in the parking lot of Black Mountain Savings Bank to carpool to the hike site in Yancey County, about 1.5 hours away. Bring lunch, snacks, drinks, hiking sticks, cameras, etc.
Cost is $50 for Museum members; $75 for non-members. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 828-669-9566. Pre-payment would be appreciated.