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Kitsuma Peak and Point Lookout – Pisgah National Forest, NC

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
10.2 mls N/A N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

4 hours and 30 minutes with 45 minutes of breaks
1,825 ft
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Park at the Old Fort Picnic Area or next to the gate if closed. 35.63479, -82.22019

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins (Contact Zach)

This hike utilizes two popular Pisgah National Forest trails between Black Mountain and Old Fort, NC to circumnavigate the Royal Gorge of Swannanoa Creek. Frequently used by hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers, you will never be alone on this hike. The tradeoff for this lack of isolation is easy navigation, well-maintained trails, and good views throughout. Starting at the Old Fort Picnic Area, the Youngs Ridge Trail (also known as the Kitsuma Peak Trail) initially climbs out of the Royal Gorge and follows the top of the narrow ridgeline. Youngs Ridge parallels Interstate 40 as it climbs to Swannanoa Gap on the Eastern Continental Divide. The high point of Youngs Ridge is Kitsuma Peak, which has a cliff on the west side with excellent views of the mountains surrounding the Swannanoa Valley. The trail steeply descends to Swannanoa Gap and briefly follows I-40 before ending at the western trailhead. From here it is a 1.1-mile road walk to pick up the Point Lookout Trail. As atypical as trails come in Pisgah National Forest, the Point Lookout Trail is paved, following the old route of U.S. 70 through the Royal Gorge. The path is relatively open with many viewpoints, the best is Point Lookout with an eastern view of the South Mountains. This is a great training hike if you are looking to increase your distance and stamina for more difficult trips in the national forest.

Mid January
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