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Kitsuma/Point Lookout Loop


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

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3,159' 963 m


1,616' 493 m


1,642' 501 m


1,672' 510 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Allowed

Features -none-


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.


Shared By:

Logan Watts with improvements by Paul Stahlschmidt and 2 others

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 136 votes


in Montreat


  4.6 from 136 votes
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564 Views Last Month
68,532 Since May 19, 2013



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


Current Trail Conditions

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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
Jun 20, 2020
Ruby DayBranch
May 19, 2020
Abbi and Kurt Lawton
Pretty easy and scenic climb up the paved road from the picnic area followed by a punchy climb then a partly smooth and partly rowdy downhill dream.
Mar 6, 2020
Charlie Scharfen
Started at bottom. Parked @old fort picnic area. Pedaled up old 70 W (all paved). Hour to top. Downhill is fast w small drops and exposed at times 9.9mi — 1h 50m
Feb 29, 2020
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