View Southwest - Black Mountains

Looking back toward the entrance to the park. There are several interesting things to note in this view. Let's start in the background. The cloud-shrouded ridge is Blackstock Knob on the right, and Clingman's Peak on the left. If there were no clouds, you'd see radio towers bristling all over Clingman's Peak. And just behind Clingman's Peak is Potato Knob. Below Potato Knob a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail - and another excellent hike! The building in the upper left of the photo is the park's restaurant - and to the left of that are the open meadows that were once going to be ski slopes! The park office is behind the peak above the restaurant. The Old Mitchell Trail wraps around that peak, goes over the little lump just this side of the restaurant, then drops off the ridge below the next clump of buildings. The cluster of buildings just left of center are the park's maintenance facilities, and employee and ranger residences. The campground is in the woods just to the right of those buildings. A trail intersection can be seen in the clearing in the lower-right of the photo. This is the Old Mitchell Trail. Coming down from the summit, you would go straight through the clearing to reach the campground. You would turn left onto the Camp Alice trail/MST/Old Mitchell Trail to head down the mountain, then right at the next intersection to travel just below the ridgeline where the maintenance building is. Then the trail comes up the ridge where the curve in the road is past the maintenance building. If you went straight at that second intersection, you would end up at Camp Alice. And finally, in the lower-left of the photo is Camp Alice, an excellent easy destination when starting from the Park Office. It's also included on a moderate hike up to the summit and back from the park office.