Primarily doubletrack and a steady climb up to the top of Heartbreak Ridge
trail. Long sections of loose river stone, so settle in and get used to the rocks. Along the way you can stop for some awesome views of the mountains. At the end of the trail where you'll find two old campers (one a trailer and the other a van), you'll find the trailhead for Heartbreak Ridge
The Mt. Mitchell Railroad and Logging Company was started in 1914 when a route for a narrow gauge switchback railroad started about one mile east of Black Mountain
and ran to about 3/4 mile from the top of Mt. Mitchell, where Camp Alice was built for the loggers to live. The purpose of this railroad was to log balsam trees for building airplanes in support of World War I. The balsam logs were brought from Mt. Mitchell to a sawmill located just beyond what is now the entrance to the Old Toll Road.
The railroad was at times used as a tourist attraction but its primary purpose was logging. The logging operation prospered until the end of the war and it was no longer profitable. The railroad was converted to a toll motor road. The motor road became one of the biggest tourist attractions in the area. It was not unusual for 150 cars a day to make the trip. It was a one way road, up by 11 AM and down by 4 PM. You could spend the night at Camp Alice which had been converted to a rustic inn and restaurant. The Toll Road was successful until 1938 when the Blue Ridge Parkway was opened and the State of North Carolina built a free road to Mt. Mitchell.