210 - Mitchell Ridge Trail     Map     A History

Moderate.  In 2000, the Sipsey Wilderness Hiking Club adopted the Mitchell Ridge Trail for purposes of trail maintenance - just in time for the Southern Pine Beetle infestation and some hurricanes. As of 2007, this long and winding trail is finally clear again and its beauty can be appreciated. Although waterfalls occasionally come alive, the main attractions are the bluffs in the southern part and the scenic views of the forest from the hills and the valleys.

Trail 210 is entirely contained within the Wilderness. The northern end branches to the east off trail 223 - Gum Pond, about a quarter mile south of the Braziel Trailhead. The small 210 sign is back about a yard into the trail and is easy to miss if you are not watching for it.

The southern end of 210 joins trail 208 - Northwest just past Hagood Creek, about a mile (downhill) from the Gum Pond Trailhead. Trail 210 can be hiked in either direction but some prefer to walk north, starting with the 208 downhill access rather than climb it at the end.

From the south, you amble gradually up through hardwood and pine forest and follow along the base of a long bluff. The trail turns sharply back to the left near the end of the bluff and ascends steeply to the ridge. There are some rocks and maybe a cairn where the trail turns. But if you find yourself walking along as the trail peters out, you may have missed this turn.

Once on top of the ridge, the trail flattens out a bit for several miles. This is where the damage from the beetles and the winds is most evident. After this section, the trail snakes up and down hills and hollers before again leveling out about a half mile from its northern terminus at trail 223.

The path can be difficult to follow at times though it is better now than it has been. The trail frequently turns sharply at the apex of each hollow and you may have to step across a small stream. Watch for these turns. A map and a compass are indispensable for hiking this one.

Camping is not very established. A couple of wide, flat spaces on the top of the ridge supply fine views and plenty of firewood. But you have to climb down into the valley to get water. At the ends of the hollers where water may be available, it may be too much of a good thing with the flat sections actually getting boggy. Along the southern half of the trail, however, Braziel Creek flows in the valley below the ridge and that area provides some nice camping, albeit not right next to the trail.

The club's maintenance focus for the past seven years has been to clear the path of downed trees and other impediments. With that task somewhat completed, we hope to make improvements so that the trail is easier to track.