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Great loop to get away from the crowds around Rainbow Road Trail and Lookout Mountain.
Be prepared for lots of elevation gain and rocky terrain. These trails offer great views (especially during the winter), which make all the climbing worth it.
Add distance by either continuing further along the Eastern Ridge Trail, the old Toll Road Trail, or the Trestle Trail.
You can easily add miles to this loop by either continuing along the Eastern Ridge Trail or by adding miles on the Trestle Trail.
Park at the top of Appalachian Way in Montreat and head straight up the fire road. At the top of the fire road, take a right onto the Trestle Trail until you reach the camping hut. Behind the hut, take the trail directly up the mountain until you reach the Eastern Ridge Trail.
Continue climbing on the Eastern Ridge Trail, past a few overviews until descending back down to the fire road and to your car.