4.63 out of 5
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↑ 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
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Trail Q&A
Rider Questions


Q: Does anyone know if old 70 is open again to ride up? Or is it fine to ride up it as long as it's after 5 or a weekend? -Guest

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Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (188 total check-ins)
  Butch Greene   5 days ago
  Arbkarm   1 week ago
  IANDOWLING   2 weeks ago
  IANDOWLING   2 weeks ago
  dyobbi   on Oct 12, 2018
Photo & Video Gallery (78)
Trail Photos & Videos (78)
Reviews (31)


June 26, 2018
Review: Rode this after riding Star Gap/Heartbreak Ridge. I parked at the bottom at Old Fort Picnic Area and climbed up Old US 70. The climbs at the top of Kitsuma are tough but the descent back down is super fast and fun as hell. This is a must ride if in the area imo.

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September 18, 2016
Review: 9/16/16 tree down across the downhill section of the trail

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June 30, 2016
JeffWest Trailblazer  
Review: Note, the road back to the trail head is closed from the park on the back side of the mountain. You have to take Old Mill Road (I think that is the name). It is a long uphill ride back.

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Granny Gear

June 25, 2016
Typhoon33 Granny Gear  
Review: Initial climb to Kitsuma peak is no joke, especially the first few switchback sections. When you think youve reached the top youre not quite there yet. A couple more climbs and then its a rough rutted downhill for what seems like forever. Its pretty steep and loose in many sections but not particularly technical except for a couple sections near the top. Brakes and hands get a workout from the steep descent but its a great ride. When I got to the the bottom and took a left out of the park i quickly learned that the usual route back to the top is now closed for repair until September and the detour along the Mill road is a couple of miles longer. A 12 mile loop all together.

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April 9, 2016
Review: Hold on tight because this downhill is FAST FAST FAST

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September 2, 2015
tom mayer Gramcounter  
Review: I read the other reviews & I still went. That switchback climb was hard & steep, but really not that bad. Yes I hiked a bunch of it but I've hiked worse. My big problem was the views along the ridge. I almost wiped out a couple times check out the awesome views rather than where I was going. The views are awesome, STOP & take them in if you like. The downhill was great, I need my brakes adjusted though, make sure your brakes are good. Then the final phase that I thought would be the worse than it was the 6 mile ride back to my truck. It's paved and stays pretty much the same slope angle, gets a little boring at times but there are a couple of good views of the mountain & ridge I just rode to keep me company. I'm 45 & just started exercising again in the spring & started mtn biking in May & was able to do the loop in an hour and 45 minutes.

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August 11, 2015
Review: Sweet. I love that the climb at the beginning limits the number of people riding the trail. Lift accessible DH is nice, but I think THIS is what mtn biking should be. Grind your way up, and reap the rewards all the way down! I rode it on a 26" hardtail, so I may have been a little under-equipped, but had a blast nonetheless.

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July 29, 2015
Review: The switchbacks going west to east up the mountain are steep and tight. Not super technical though; a few roots and rocks.

There are a couple of false summits on the trail, so don't get too excited when you first start descending. There's a little more climbing to go.

Once the descending begins in earnest, it's a wild ride. You can get going very fast and get in over your head if you aren't careful. There are a couple of tighter turns that you can easily overshoot.

There are a couple of root sections and some straight down the mountain sections. Be a little conservative on the descent if it's your first time down, and make sure your brake pads are in good shape!

Similar Trail: Star Gap

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June 25, 2015
kamoteus Doubletrack  
Review: If you love long downhill this will be perfect for you Padyakeros! Just pure adrenaline rush once you're @ the top of Kitsuma Peak. Start @ the trailhead hitting 14 switchback of uphill climb to the Peak of Kitsuma. Make sure your brakes are working! Then 4-5 miles of DH descending to the bottom with some pretty big jumps before hitting the picnic area at the bottom of Old Fort Pisgah National Forest.
Now ready to ascend on a pave trail going back to your car. Five miles of 6% grade of beauty and madness ;-)
Enjoy the ride and live another day to RIDE!

Similar Trail: Headley Trail

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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

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Kitsuma MTB Trail 4.63 out of 5 based on 31 ratings. 31 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
Feature Article
Race Report: 2015 Jerdon Mountain Challenge
Everything You Need to Know About Mountain Biking and Visiting Pisgah National Forest
Race Report: 2015 Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell (ORAMM)