02 Sep Trail Guide – Mitchell Lick Trail No. 154
Trail Guide – Mitchell Lick Trail No. 154 (2.5 miles)
From signed intersection with King Meadows Trail near Hooper Bald, Mitchell Lick Trail frequently follows old logging roads approximately 2.5 miles to a signed (barely legible and rotten sign) trail junction at the upper end of Snowbird Creek trail. Mitchell Lick Trail allows for a nice overnight hike using King Meadows trail to make a loop that includes the entire length of Snowbird Creek trail. A side trip to the top of Hooper Bald would be a worthwhile addition to the loop hike. Another side trip to Sassafras Falls should be considered. Mitchell Lick Trail is seldom hiked and can be difficult to follow at times. The heavily wooded trail maintains elevation above 4000 feet as it crosses below ridge tops as it occasionally dips down to creeks during its cross slope traverse between the lower slopes of Hooper Bald and the headwaters of Snowbird Creek.
Areas: Snowbird Wilderness Study Area
Snowbird Creek Trail
Snowbird Area Trails:
Hooper Bald Trail
Burntrock Ridge Trail
Sassafras Falls Trail
Map and trail details:
Mitchell Lick Trail and the upper portion of Snowbird Creek trail are shown with the heavy blue line. Kings Meadow is in yellow and the route to Hooper Bald via Kings Meadow trail and the half mile Hooper Bald trail are shown with a green trace. To complete the loop, the remainder of Snowbird Creek and Sassafras Creek trails are also traced in yellow.
If traveling in the direction from Hooper Bald toward Mitchell Lick (Snowbird Creek), take care where you can see from the track that I left the trail. This is not a problem traveling in the other direction. Starting from signed trail junction with Mitchell Lick trail and King Meadows trail, look for a spot 0.2 miles from the sign where the trail splits. You should go right, dropping off the ridge top. At 0.5 miles and a gradual 206 ft descent beyond the trail sign, reach a point where the trail turns right and steeply descends for about 150 feet to rocky creek bed. Warning: It is easy to miss where the trail bears right here because a well worn trail proceeds straight ahead along the ridge line. I piled sticks to help future hikers realize the trail does not proceed straight ahead.
After reaching the rocky creek bed, walk down the creek bed about 50 feet looking for trail on left.
Directions to Hooper Bald and access to Mitchell Lick trail.
Follow Snowbird Road 4.7 miles to Highway 143 (Cherehola Highway) and continue another 14.4 miles to Hooper Bald parking lot on your left. There are restrooms and picnic table at the parking lot. Hooper Bald is a half mile walk up trail from the parking lot. To reach Mitchell Lick trail, take the Hooper Bald trail and look for a trail sign only a few hundred yards beyond the parking lot. Turn right and descend on King Meadows trail. It will pass through overgrown areas and a number of split log crossings of small brooks. Some parts of the trail near its intersection with Mitchell Lick trail are hard to follow. You may see surveyor’s tape marking the trail.
Directions to Snowbird Trailhead with access to Mitchell Lick trail via long hikes on either Snowbird Creek trail or King Meadows Trail (7.5 miles).
Link to Google Map Directions: Robbinsville, NC to Snowbird Trail Head
Turn by Turn Directions:
From Topton and Andrews, enter Robbinsville on Hwy 129.
Turn right on North Main Street.
After proceeding through downtown Robbinsville, bear to the right on tight curve, Junaluska Road.
Junaluska Road shortly becomes Snowbird Road. Proceed on Snowbird Road for 4.7 miles
Turn left to stay on Snowbird road for another 2.1 miles. (There is a sign for Snowbird Complex?)
About 0.1 mile after passing intersection with Cornsilk Branch Road where there is another sign for Snowbird Complex, look for a 180 degree turn on Snowbird Road that descends immediately following the turn. (There is no sign and it is easy to miss. )
Immediately after a crossing bridge, turn right on a small road (Big Snowbird Road) with one-lane bridge. Cross the one-lane bridge. You will also see a sign at this junction that shows “Little Snowbird” straight ahead and Big Snowbird to the right. The key is to look for the one lane bridge on right.
Continue straight onto Big Snowbird Rd.
This road eventually turns into one lane unpaved Forest Service Road 75 with occasional campsites alongside Snowbird Creek. The road dead ends at a turnabout where there is a campsite and trailhead sign. – 4.09 mi (plus another 4 – 5 miles after Big Snowbird Rd turns into FS 75.)