Seven peaks in the Black Mountain range are over 6,000 feet, and 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell is the highest point in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River. The Black Mountains were part of a larger area proposed for national park status in the early 1970s. The Blacks have unique high-elevation communities including virgin spruce-fir forests. They also shelter dozens of rare species, including many that are typically found hundreds of miles further north. The challenging Black Mountain Crest Trail traversing the 12-mile crest of the Black Mountains and is the highest trail in the entire Appalachian Mountains.