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Kitsuma/Point Lookout Loop

Difficult
 4.6 (160) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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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 160 votes

#34

Overall
  4.6 from 160 votes
5 Star
69%
4 Star
26%
3 Star
3%
2 Star
1%
1 Star
1%
Recommended Route Rankings

#34

Overall
404 Views Last Month
84,545 Since May 19, 2013
Difficult

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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
Beginning the descent just after second peak.
Mar 18, 2021 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

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 17 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Nov 10, 2022
Joshua Jacoby
Aug 27, 2022
Buck Berryhill
Jul 24, 2022
Courtney Willemin
solo trip; started at old fort picnic area; crashed hard on the way down, went over the handlebars; right knee took it hard, time will tell
May 17, 2022
Adam Darnell
Hated it. Came expecting some awesome downhill experience. Nope. Solid long climb to start then a lame downhill with rocks, roots and rare jumps
Feb 14, 2022
Kevin Ruiz
Dec 29, 2021
Hayden Hughes
Dec 2, 2021
- PRiiZE
great ride...although leafy and i bought it 2 x. 10.3mi — 2h 30m
Sep 20, 2021
Mike Nosal
Parked at foot of the Old Rte. 70 and finished descending Kitsuma. 1794' in less than 10mi. 9.6mi