High Peaks was formed in 2010 by a small group of avid hikers from Yancey County, home to the Black Mountains and Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in the Eastern U.S. Drawn by the natural beauty of the Southern Appalachians, they found a wealth of hiking trails but no sustained effort to improve or maintain these trails. The Association was founded to promote hiking and other outdoor activities, to improve and maintain trails and to help conserve the area's natural beauty.
We are partners with the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest (Appalachian Ranger District), Mount Mitchell State Park, Carolina Mountain Club, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. We lead monthly hikes and strolls and send out work parties year-round to clear downed trees, weed-eat and improve the tread of our trails.
Over the years, the club has completed a surprising range of projects; a small sample includes: building a 25-foot log footbridge over Neal's Creek on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, removing hundreds of downed trees blocking the Black Mountain Crest Trail in the aftermath of a passing hurricane, re-blazing all local trails, installing a traveler information AM radio station at Mt. Mitchell State Park, cleaning trash from Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks, installing signposts every half-mile with elevation and distance information on the Mt. Mitchell Trail and placing tree-identification signs on the Devil's Den Nature Trail at the Black Mountain Campground.
Perhaps our most ambitious work has been to apply for - and win - a series of $60,000 grants to rebuild the badly-eroded Mt. Mitchell Trail. As the primary route used by hikers climbing the country's tallest eastern mountain, this trail gets tremendous use but has been neglected for decades. The grants have funded the hiring of young crews who camp out for weeks at a time and do the back-breaking work of installing steps, water diversion structures and other features in an effort to slow - and hopefully stop - the erosion.
We encourage you to use this website to find a hike, to join our club, to pitch in on a work day or simply to make a donation to support our efforts. We are a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization incorporated as a North Carolina non-profit. We are volunteers committed to the outdoors and in particular the Black Mountains, and invite you to join us in enjoying and preserving this priceless natural treasure.