This amazing campsite it at the base of Big Tom. It’s a moderate hike to and from the campsite with great views. There’s fire rings and lots of sites to choose from. I recommend packing in enough water for your stay because there is not a water source at the site. Also no cell service.
It’s a 6 mile hike up Maple Camp Ridge on trail 191 (Buncombe Horse Range) starting from a small parking lot close to Carolina Hemlocks Campground. (Can also be accessed from the Mount Mitchel side). 0.4 miles from the bald is a nice water source. There are 3-4 areas to set up camp, two of them could accommodate multiple tents. An amazing spot to admire sunrises if the weather cooperates.
A bit of a hike, but a great spot! A little below where we set up camp, we found a natural spring for water and theres a decent amount of firewood around. We parked at the top of Mt. Mitchell and took the Ridgeline trail, eventually turning onto the Big Tom Gap Trail and then a left onto the Buncombe Horse Trail. Instead of taking the Big Tom Gap Trail back, we stayed on the Buncombe Horse Trail and it was worth it to do the full loop. The final ascent to back to the parking lot at the peak of Mt. Mitchell was brutal on the lungs and legs! Do not have a heavy pack! We got lucky with great weather in early March. Having followed the weather for a bit after going, I think I’d be planning for April if we did it again.