Mount Mitchell is a mountain in North Carolina. It is 6,684 feet (2,037 m) tall, the tallest in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The top of the mountain is the highest point in the United States east of the Black Hills in South Dakota. The mountain was named after Elisha Mitchell, a professor at the University of North Carolina, who determined its height in 1835, and fell to his death at nearby Mitchell Falls in 1857, having returned to verify his earlier measurements. The ascent of Mount Mitchell is now rather easy, since a 4.6 miles (7.4 km) road (NC 128) off the historic and scenic Blue Ridge Parkway runs nearby, and a 980-foot (300 m) trail leads through a conifer forest to the summit. The 40-foot (12 m) stone observation tower on the summit was torn down in late 2006. A new observation deck was constructed and opened to visitors in January 2009. Also on the summit is the tomb of Dr. Mitchell.