9.4 miles
1,614 ft
-1,691 ft
3,165 ft
High Point

The trail starts at the Kitsuma trailhead through a gentle forest road next to Interstate 40 then quickly goes straight up as the 14 switchbacks hammer your thighs. When the forest floor is somewhat dry, it's possible, but challenging, to clear all of the switchbacks on the way to Kitsuma Peak. After the initial ascent, enjoy being fooled by a quick downhill before being greeted by the second, steep but short climb. After the two lung-busters, there is a beautiful, mellow ridge ride where you are graced by some nice views of Mt. Mitchell before you start the hair-raising descent.

The legendary 2.8 mile downhill towards the Old Fort picnic area begins with a rocky descent into a quick left-hand switchback. Water bars, doubles, drops and a couple of berms accent the ridiculously fast, sometimes narrow and flowy track through the forest. If the trail is wet, watch the roots on the trail as they may have the urge to throw your wheel off the skinny sections of trail.

Once you wipe the grin off your face in the Old Fort picnic area, turn left on Old US 70, and then take the first left into a paved road closed to motor vehicles. Follow this winding 5 mile mellow climb and then hang a left back on Royal George Road back to the Kitsuma trailhead.

Detailed Description
Kitsuma is a 9 mile popular expert route located near Black Mountain North Carolina. This mountain bike only route. This route includes 2 trails. This route climbs 1,614 ft with a max elevation of 3,165 ft then descends -1,691 ft.
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19 Reviews & Comments

  • + 0
aagdagon1976 (Jan 21, 2023 at 11:54)
Best way to get up to Kitsuma, easy climb with great views
  • + 1
feekstar (Jun 27, 2022 at 9:58)
Trail Kitsuma
Interesting disclaimer about bikes not being allowed at the top... I've been riding this trail for over 20 years and ride it a few times a week usually. The top is definitely open to bikes, and KDH1 is one of the better (short) DH rips. Enjoy
  • + 1
erollins (Jun 1, 2022 at 16:58)
Trail Kitsuma
Watch out for the roadies on the ride up the greenway, they roll in packs of 20 and hug the inside of blind turns zooming down.
  • + 2
blowmyfuse (Dec 6, 2021 at 13:59)
Trail Kitsuma
Trail is being groomed weekly and volunteers are NOT hikers & overworking the trail to the point of it being a flow trail for downhill speed only. Hikers be warned. They're banking the turns, raking it to make it faster, chipping away at the sharp edges of the trail corridor to make them more arced and making it their personal bike park trail.

Someone keeps going through and digging giant ditches and blowing leaves off the trail. They've even started removing roots on the shallower climbs. Feels unnatural & is getting wider. Too much primping.
  • + 0
sflanagan2 (Oct 22, 2021 at 11:12)
Trail Kitsuma
I’ve ridden Kitsuma many of times but rarely more than 2 times a year, lots of fun trails in Pisgah. Initial uphill is a burst but over pretty quick. The downhill section is pretty fast but not overly rowdy at all. The climb out on the paved trail is enjoyable with someone else as you’ll be shooting the shit and it’ll be over with in no time, some good views as well.
  • - 3
BennetgapBen (Oct 17, 2021 at 7:01)
Trail Kitsuma
This trail sucks don't waste your time. Just go to bent creek.
  • + 1
therealnobody (Oct 10, 2021 at 14:52)
Trail Kitsuma
Don't be a whimp. Pedal it or shut up about the climb.
  • + 1
abovejl (Sep 28, 2021 at 17:31)
Trail Kitsuma
Seems to be a bunch of whiny comments on here so don't believe the naysayers. Don't be a shuttle bunny and Ride the whole loop. Get stronger and do 2 laps. Work on getting even stronger and link it up with Star Gap and Heartbreak. Now you have become a Pisgah rider!
  • + 0
Poehlman356 (Sep 21, 2021 at 18:03)
Trail Kitsuma
  • + 0
btsgw (Jun 1, 2021 at 18:53)
Brutal climb and not nearly the pain too play ratio of other Pisgah routes.
  • + 0
taospinner (May 1, 2021 at 21:58)
Trail Kitsuma
I agree with Meriding. This trail is good but not great like the awesome Pisgah stuff. In regards to Legita*shole9000’s comment- don’t be that guy who runs over people on the way down. There are hikers who use this trail and cyclists who ride up this two way trail so keep a keen eye out for others and please respect those who actually enjoy steep technical climbing.
  • + 0
Dknox20 (Oct 28, 2020 at 5:14)
Trail Kitsuma
The climb to the trail is not hard and if it werent for the overlooks it would be really boring on paved road. However, when you start riding the switchbacks on Kitsuma its going to take a lot of grinding it out????. The downhill was great and really long so worth it but if you want to hit it again you really need a shuttle. All of the DH features on the trail had an easier path if you dont want to jump. The first downhill though was a little intimidating with how steep it was. Just take it easy and enjoy.
  • + 0
MeRiding (Jul 19, 2020 at 16:21)
Trail Kitsuma
Find it overrated. Prefer riding Avery Creek, Bennet Gap or Lower Black Mountain in Pisgah or Big or Cedar Rock in DuPont.
  • + 2
Greedfox (Jul 9, 2020 at 21:46)
very nice climb. I prefer to ride up the greenway instead on shuttling for kitsuma, the warm up helps to mitigate injuries. there is a beautiful overlook as well that takes my breath away every time I go up it, you can see all the way out to the the other side of Marion county.
  • + 0
Greedfox (Jul 9, 2020 at 21:34)
Trail Kitsuma
The best downhill in asheville. Catch it after a rain and it is at it's best imo, but make sure to do a full bike check before you come. The climb up the greenway is easy and nice, and has a beautiful overlook, but shuttling will cut the climb in half.
  • + 0
mmajzm (Apr 30, 2020 at 12:48)
Awesome ride.
  • + 2
SCxXxMTB (Aug 25, 2019 at 20:32)
Trail Kitsuma
It's not supposed to hard... it's a speed ripper. This trail is a flow trail on steroids and is pretty great. Anytime you point downhill you pick up speed fast. Has a few turns that sneak up on you so be aware
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Trails in Route


  • Riding area
  • Primary Activity
    Mountain Bike
  • Difficulty rating
    Black Diamond
  • Bike type
    AM, XC
  • Ridelogs
More Stats for Kitsuma mountain bike route
  • Altitude change
    -77 ft
  • Altitude min
    1,618 ft
  • Altitude start
    2,762 ft
  • Altitude end
    2,687 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    6 miles
  • Distance down
    3 miles
  • Distance flat
    443 ft
Avg: 4.5 (4 votes)
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Trail transparency
youtuber Mountain Biking Kitsuma, First Ride In Pisgah
Mountain Biking Kitsuma, First Ride In Pisgah
trail: Kitsuma
10:23 | 680 | comments: 0 | favs:
Oct 23, 2018
youtuber Heartbreak Ridge Breaks Me?
Heartbreak Ridge Breaks Me?
trail: Kitsuma
15:37 | 602 | comments: 0 | favs:
Nov 6, 2018

Recent Trail Reports Along Route

Jan 11, 2023 @ 3:56am
Jan 11, 2023
For clarity, the repair work from Dec 2022 is complete on this Kitsuma-adjacent greenway and it is OPEN now.
Point Lookout Trail Greenway
Jan 10, 2023 @ 7:56pm
Jan 10, 2023
For clarity, the repair work from Fall 2022 is complete on this Kitsuma-adjacent greenway and it is OPEN now.
more reports »
  • By matts67 & contributors
  • #8181 - 5,255 views