MTB Project Logo

Kitsuma/Point Lookout Loop

Difficult
 4.6 (139) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A couple of tough climbs before earning a grin-inducing, fast descent through Pisgah National Forest


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

9.9

Miles

15.9

KM

55%

Singletrack

3,159' 963 m

High

1,616' 493 m

Low

1,642' 501 m

Up

1,672' 510 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

35%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Allowed

Overview

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.

Description

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Logan Watts with improvements by Paul Stahlschmidt and 2 others

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 139 votes

#1

in Montreat

#34

Overall
  4.6 from 139 votes
5 Star
69%
4 Star
25%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
1%
1 Star
1%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Montreat

#34

Overall
1,030 Views Last Month
70,734 Since May 19, 2013
Difficult

1%
0%
5%
5%
90%
0%

Photos

Flow riding with Singletrailer.
Oct 28, 2015 near Black M…, NC
On the way back to the trailhead.
Aug 7, 2016 near Black M…, NC
Kitsuma - Pisgah National Forest - Montreat, NC - 10/1/2017
Oct 7, 2017 near Black M…, NC
Sunset view of mountains, trees and church near lower trailhead and parking spot
Dec 27, 2019 near Black M…, NC
Some great views along the paved Point Lookout Trail climb.
Mar 13, 2016 near Black M…, NC
Take in the view after a pretty tough climb.
Jul 20, 2020 near Black M…, NC

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Minor Issues 28 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Apr 10, 2021
Mike Ermlich
Muddy challenging. Worth it 10.6mi — 2h 38m
Mar 31, 2021
Jack Lynch
9.9mi
Mar 23, 2021
Moth Man
Mar 16, 2021
Mike Nosal
Fogged-in but pretty dry until the last bit of downhill. MUST RIDE experience! 10mi — 2h 50m
Oct 21, 2020
David Slump
9.8mi — 1h 55m
Aug 10, 2020
Drew Pugh
Lots of ruts and deep braking bumps this morning. Very little flow, but a good hard ride nonetheless. Climbing to the peak is a challenge! — 8h 45m
Jul 6, 2020
Brock Ladd
Jul 1, 2020
Liz Rosainz
9.5mi — 1h 40m