Consensus:    (details)
  4.6 from 29 votes
blueBlack  Intermediate/Difficult from 19 votes
Rank: #1 in the Pisgah National Forest area
#5 in NC, #32 Overall
Views: 16,678. Last 30 days: 695
Condition Details | Update
Featured Ride in the area near Black Mountain,
“A couple of tough climbs before earning a grin-inducing, fast descent through Pisgah National Forest”
Logan Watts on May 19, 2013
Getting There     GPX File     Print
9.615.4 milesKilometers 1,756’535 m Ascent 3,165’965 m High 7% Avg Grade (4°)
55% Singletrack -1,770’-539 m Descent 1,608’490 m Low 29% Max Grade (16°)
1:50 average time for 9.7 miles. Details

The Kitsuma Trail is a classic must-ride Pisgah loop that features a challenging 12+ switchback climb with a backdrop of Mount Mitchell (the tallest mountain East of the Mississippi) views and an awesome ~3 mile descent containing gravity defying water-bars, flowy sections, and some steep rocky areas that are the signature of the Pisgah experience.
Need To Know
To get to the Kitsuma trailhead, take exit 66 off of I-40 toward Ridgecrest and turn right at Dunsmore Ave. Take a quick right on Old US 70, where you'll pass Ridgecrest camp on the left. Follow the road down to Yates where you'll make a quick right and an immediate left on Royal George. The trailhead lies at the end of the road.
The trail starts at the Kitsuma trailhead through a gentle forest road next to Interstate 40 then quickly goes straight up as the 14 switchbacks hammer your thighs. When the forest floor is somewhat dry, it's possible, but challenging, to clear all of the switchbacks on the way to Kitsuma Peak. After the initial ascent, enjoy being fooled by a quick downhill before being greeted by the second, steep but short climb. After the two lung-busters, there is a beautiful, mellow ridge ride where you are graced by some nice views of Mt. Mitchell before you start the hair-raising descent.

The legendary 2.8 mile downhill towards the Old Fort picnic area begins with a rocky descent into a quick left-hand switchback. Water bars, doubles, drops and a couple of berms accent the ridiculously fast, sometimes narrow and flowy track through the forest. If the trail is wet, watch the roots on the trail as they may have the urge to throw your wheel off the skinny sections of trail.

Once you wipe the grin off your face in the Old Fort picnic area, turn left on Old US 70, and then take the first left into a paved road closed to motor vehicles. Follow this winding 5 mile mellow climb and then hang a left back on Royal George Road back to the Kitsuma trailhead.
View in 3D
5.0 (3)
Miles of old-school Pisgah riding that includes one epic descent
near Marion, NC
3.8 (4)
A great endurance ride with lots of climbing. An alternate climb to the top ...
near Black Mountain, NC
3.7 (7)
A 3 mile loop at Buffalo Creek Park with lots of climbing and fast, flowing d...
near Lake Lure, NC

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PHOTOS of Kitsuma
  3.7 from 3 votes
On the way back to the trailhead. (Black Mountain, NC)
  3.3 from 3 votes
Cruising along the ridge and taking in some killer views. (Black Mountain, NC)
  3.3 from 3 votes
Some great views along the paved Point Lookout Trail climb. (Black Mountain, NC)
  3.3 from 4 votes
Bombing down Kitzuma Trail (Black Mountain, NC)
  3.0 from 4 votes
Switchbacks !!!! Very tough first 1 mile. (Black Mountain, NC)
  3.0 from 3 votes
Sign at trailhead (Black Mountain, NC)
  3.0 from 1 vote
Flow riding with Singletrailer. (Black Mountain, NC)
  2.3 from 3 votes
All those switchbacks do earn you a great view... (Black Mountain, NC)
  1.5 from 4 votes
The bottom of Kitsuma at the picnic grounds before Old US 70 (Black Mountain, NC)