4.64 out of 5
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↑ 1,900 ft
↓ 1,900 ft

Out & Back
avg time
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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Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (223 total check-ins)
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  Matthew Beauchamp   1 week ago
  jordan.dalton   on Sep 21, 2019
Photo & Video Gallery (84)
Trail Photos & Videos (84)
Reviews (34)


May 29, 2019
CyberBomb Gnarly  
Review: Climb the14 switchbacks& enjoy amazing downhill action. Said & done.


May 2, 2019
John Fisch Epic  
Review: This is a great loop. I prefer parking at the bottom (west) end and starting with the long, gradual climb up the paved greenway trail. The grade is consistent and there's no motor traffic, so it's an easy but pleasant way to earn most of your vertical. Once on the singletrack, the first mile is a vicious climb, and there's a couple short climbs thereafter, but the rest of the trail is an absolute scream of a downhill. Not very technical, more roots than rocks, but there's some good line of sight that allows for some real speed, and there's some seriously steep, real dive bomber sections. The view from the top is also nice.


December 6, 2018
Review: What a great trail! Initial climb is challenging, but not overly tough. Keep your momentum up as you go into the switchbacks. Once at the top, you are treated to a great view of I-40 weaving through the mountain valley below. The trail along the ridgeline is full of kickers and woop-de-do's that are just plain fun. There are a few spots that demand your attention along the ridgeline, else you end of in the laurels. Once down to the bottom, the ride up the paved side road was constant grade and made for a good recovery. I would definitely ride this trail again!


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.

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


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.

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.


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


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.


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.

Kitsuma MTB Trail 4.64 out of 5 based on 34 ratings. 34 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
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