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Lookout Mountain and Rattlesnake Mountain - Montreat Conference Center, NC


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
7.4 mls N/A N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
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5 hours and 15 minutes with 1 hour and 45 minutes of breaks
1,865 ft
Montreat Conference Center
Ridgecrest Conference Center
Montreat Trail Map (PDF)
Ridgecrest Trail Map (PDF)
Trail Description and Directions (PDF)
Montreat, NC Weather Forecast
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Parking for Lookout Mountain. 35.64269, -82.29094

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins ()

This hike explores the outstanding rocky summits on the eastern Swannanoa Rim around the border of the Montreat and Ridgecrest Conference Centers. Montreat is a small community in the Swannanoa Valley that features a private college, conference center, and 40+ miles of trails in 2,500+ acres of dedicated wilderness. The Ridgecrest Conference Center has 1,300 acres between Montreat and I-40 with many trails to explore.

This hike begins with the Lookout Trail, the most popular short hike in Montreat for a good reason. The hike is only 1.4 miles round-trip and the views from Lookout Rock are outstanding. While most hikers turn around here, you can continue straight towards Ridgecrest to visit two rocky knobs with big views. You’ll then follow the East Ridge Trail along the eastern Swannanoa Rim before returning to the parking lot. For the distance and difficulty, the views on this hike cannot be beat in this region of North Carolina.

When you enter Montreat stop by the Montreat Store on the 2nd floor of the Moore Center Building. This is at the intersection of Lookout Road and Assembly Drive beside Lake Susan. They have a free paper map and you can also purchase a color topographic map for $8.99.

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