4.59 out of 5
View Topo Map


↑ 1,900 ft
↓ 1,900 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
Follow the trail along the Interstate until it starts to climb. After 14 switchbacks, go over the top of the ridge. The trail stays on top of the ridge. At the only fork in the trail, take the left side trail. There should be a sign pointing to the Old Fort Picnic area. Once you reach the picnic ground, go to the main road and take the immediate left turn. Go around a white gate 1/8 of a mile up and follow the paved road until you get back to Royal Gorge Rd. again.

The singletrack trail goes from Ridgecrest to the Old Fort Picnic grounds, and through a beautiful section of the Pisgah National Forest. The elevation change is around 2,200 feet. The climb up the 14 switchbacks to the top of Kitsuma is tough, but the downhill off the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge range is worth the effort. The first downhill section is very steep and rocky. In wet conditions, I hike-a-bike this section.

Next is a section of ups and downs with flats and then around 4 miles of super singletrack downhill. The trail is narrow and there are some serious drop-offs if you leave the trail.

The ride back up the Blue Ridge is along a gated (no cars), overgrown, paved road with beautiful views of the ridge line you just rode down and the Blue Ridge and South Mountains. It is about 5 miles back up, but it is not steep.
added by dalmaspBunny Hop February 16, 2004
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
Get Directions
Create a free Singletracks account to get directions to this trail.

Trail Q&A
Rider Questions
Please login or create an account to ask a question.
Recommended Trails
Recommended Trails
Dupont State Forest
Itusi @ Lake Norman State Park
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (22 total check-ins)
  Daniel Sapp   6 days ago
  jij0226   1 week ago
  lokicat   3 weeks ago
  RoadWarrior   on Apr 26, 2015
  enoeht   on Apr 22, 2015
Photo & Video Gallery (30)
Trail Photos & Videos (30)
Reviews (22)

August 23, 2014
Review: The initial climb is challenging, especially for the first timer here. But my goodness that downhill is amazing. Wish I could get my DH bike up there to hit all the drops at full speed, my XC handled it nicely though. I would like to shed some light onto how to get back to the trail head once you complete the downhill:

Once you exit the trail into the picnic area you'll want to head to the right out of the picnic area and onto the road. From here you will take your first left and go by two homes with the creek running beside you on your left. Take that road all the way till you come to the gated area and keep going. It's a challenging climb if you're exhausted from the trail, just lock your suspension, raise your seat, and climb for about 35-50 minutes. There's some great views from the road. When you exit the road you'll be on an open road with cars so be careful. Take that road all the way down till you come to the 4 way cross. take the left and you're on the road back to the trailhead. It's worth it! You may not think so when you're on the climb back but when you get to your car you know it.

Similar Trail: Not many. At least in Western NC

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

August 17, 2014
Review: Love this trail!! Beautiful views at the top:)

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

June 27, 2014
Review: Great trail with a few tough climbs. The downhill section is fast and finished before u know it. I wasn't a fan of the gated highway trip back because it seemed to go on forever. I will do it again but not when it is 89 degrees and high humidity. Must ride for any advanced to intermediate rider.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

February 16, 2014
Review: Yes, nice climb if you like climbs do it twice. Fast downhill.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

January 1, 2014
Review: People aren't lying when they say the climb at the beginning is rough. It a real leg burner work your way up it, take breaks when necessary and you'll be alright because the ride down is completely worth it. Flying along the edge of the ridge at top speed with plenty of obstacles along the way to keep you grabbing the handle bars with all your strength!!! The ride on the road back isn't difficult but a little boring after the roller coaster you just went through. Drove from Charlotte in 2 hrs and it was completely worth it. This trail had me stop a couple times to take in the scenery and smile at how much fun flying down the ridge line was.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

September 16, 2013
Review: The first climb up the switchbacks is a challenge and a good warm up.. The singletrack is good but not great there is alot of erosion and spots for a high risk crash, more of a challenge than it is fun for my taste.. The climb out on the old highway is a easy climb with some great views.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

January 2, 2012
Review: Excellent technical trail with a difficult climb to start the ride. All 14 switch backs are rideable. Trail has been recently modified as you approach the top of the switchback climb. Instead of going to the summit where there is a primitive campsite and descending down the steep back side, a new, short trail has been cut to the right to bypass the original steep descent. This is right before the final push to the summit. The new trail is well-marked with a brown trail sign. This is a great ride but in my opinion, more difficult than Bent Creek and Dupont. The trail is in good condition as a decent amount of work was done to it in the past year. Numerous undulations. It is worth the effort as the trail is very exciting and challenging. The climb back up on the newly paved Point Lookout Greenway Trail is relaxing with good views and no car traffic, since it is gated. It is a long, continuous push but nothing overly difficult.

* Review edited 1/2/2012

Similar Trail: Dupont, Bent Creek

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

June 5, 2011
Review: The starting switchbacks are rough - But whether you ride or walk the bike up, it doesn't take long to get to the top. The trail itself is fantastic! incredible views as you knife along the narrow ridge. The inital descent was so steep the guy in front of me couldnt even walk down it - he basically slid and held his bike sideways to stop at the bottom of the drop. Extremely steep ups and downs and incredibly fun, even moreso for those mad downhill bombers out there (not me). I was not so happy about the 5 mile grind back up on the abandoned road. Very scenic, but I don't like long uphill road runs on my Mtn bike. I Was disappointed that half the loop's mileage is climbing pavement - but the trail part is indeed awesome. Rode 6/5/11. 5 or six large trees down. a few can sneak up on you if you're bombing through, so be careful. I rated a three overall for the whole loop thats mapped here, but the Singletrack section (four miles or so) alone would get a 5. * Review edited 6/5/2011

* Review edited 6/5/2011

Similar Trail: Pisgah, NC

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

March 11, 2011
Review: Great trail. Unfortunately for me this was my first ever trail to ride. The switchbacks up to the top are not that steep but would be tough to ride up (i walked up) but once you get to the top it is an amazing ride down. It is completl worth the way up. After the ride down the 5 mile uphill back to the start is rough. The scenery is good but its just long. All in all tho, a great trail

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

December 26, 2010
Review: I start at the picnic area, exit out and make my way up on the abandoned road. Follow directions carefully at the top, especially along the side road (with traffic), and find the trail head. The switchbacks are challenging. I like to rate my rides at Kitsuma by the number of switchbacks I can make without getting off. Usually 10 of 14 I think is average for me. Some of them are unforgiving if you fall and fail to clip out. Near the top in June Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron are in bloom creating narrow walls of pink and white flowers I have yet to see elsewhere. At the top decide whether you want to carry your bike down the initial descent. Then ride the rest of the way in one of the most beautiful sceneries you'll find in WNC. Only disadvantage is that it's rather short (you may want to make two loops) and it's just one trail in the area.* Review edited 12/26/2010

* Review edited 12/26/2010

Similar Trail: Bent Creek

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

Kitsuma MTB Trail 4.59 out of 5 based on 22 ratings. 22 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed