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The beast loop of Montreat! Killer trails, stellar views, and technical terrain, it has it all. A true mountain run!

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5,370' 1,637 m


2,681' 817 m


3,452' 1,052 m


3,451' 1,052 m



Avg Grade (5°)


Max Grade (30°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


Using multiple trails in the Montreat trail system, you are able to link up multiple peaks, stellar views, and technical trails!


START/FINISH: Located at The Barn at intersection of Assembly Drive and Assembly Circle. Parking is at Anderson Auditorium Parking Lot. To find the parking lot, head up into Montreat, then turn right onto Lookout Rd., and the parking lot is on the right. (Note: all trails will be blazed with a plastic diamond blaze on trees...most intersections are marked, but you must be paying attention and read what's written on the diamond blaze if confused. You can also use the Trail Run Project mobile app to help navigate.)

From start at the Barn, follow Assembly Circle to Lookout Road. Take a left and get ready for a wake up call of a hill. Climb up Lookout Road until you get to Rainbow Road trailhead and take a right onto Rainbow Road (which is a trail). Follow this gentle climbing trail to the intersection with Rainbow Mountain Trail .

After reaching the intersection with Rainbow Mountain Trail stay left at the next three intersections. The last left will put you on Trestle Rd. (there is a FS sign) for about 20 yards until you'll turn right onto Lookout Tr. Go up and over Lookout Rocks. Then after enjoying the view, stay straight over the summit to access East Ridge Trail. This trail will take you over three summits, and amongst it's many twists and turns, it passes several trails that take you off of the ridge, so be careful to follow the blazes of East Ridge Trail (gray blazes).

After going through Sourwood Gap (East Ridge Trail goes straight through), you'll climb Rocky Head Summit, then you'll descend to where East Ridge Tr. dead ends to Old Trestle/Mitchell Toll. Stay left here to continue on Old Trestle and follow it to the first intersection with Greybeard Trail (blue blaze - continue straight across a creek crossing to find the blue blazes of this trail). This trail follows the what's known as the Trestle Switchbacks for a couple of miles of UNBELIEVABLE trail!! Be careful to look for where the Graybeard Tr. makes a left turn near the end of the Trestle Switchbacks. Soon you'll reach Walkers Knob Shelter and the Walker's Knob Trail. Take this short out and back trail for an amazing view of the Blue Ridge Mountains (best view on the course in our opinion). Return back to the shelter and turn left to continue your climb on Graybeard Trail. Be looking on the left as you are climbing up in order to take notice of West Ridge Trail (which you'll take after summiting Graybeard). After going over Big Slaty Mtn.(written on a gray blaze), then you'll do a short out and back to the summit of Graybeard.

After returning to Big Slaty, you'll then take a right turn onto West Ridge Trail. This trail is a sadistic playground of rocks, roots, climbs, and descents! After going up and over many more of the Seven Sister Summits, you'll come to Big Piney Mtn. Turn left here on Big Piney Tr. to descend into Montreat. Turn left at the end of this trail onto Lower Piney Trail. The trail ends at a gravel road. Run the gravel road until it turns to pavement; then turn right onto Graybeard Rd. and take this back to intersection of Assembly Cir just before reaching Lake Susan, turn left and the finish is at the barn!


Land Manager: Buncombe County, NC

Shared By:

Brandon Thrower with improvements by Chris TeBeau

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 19 votes


  4.5 from 19 votes
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99 Views Last Month
12,450 Since Dec 13, 2016
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Almost at the top, looking over the mountains (fall 2020).
Nov 1, 2020 near Black M…, NC
Steep, technical climb to the top of Lookout Mountain.
Sep 14, 2017 near Black M…, NC
Snowy Day on the ridge. Grey Beard Summit 0.3mile behind me.
Feb 15, 2021 near Black M…, NC
West Ridge
Feb 15, 2021 near Black M…, NC
View from the top of Lookout Mountain
Sep 11, 2017 near Black M…, NC
View across the valley.
Apr 20, 2021 near Black M…, NC



Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 9 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Feb 12, 2022
Bill Farley
Beautiful day. More of a hike than a run, but I'll run more of it in April. 14.5mi — 7h 30m
Apr 17, 2021
Micah McLain
Hard as hell — 3h 04m
Feb 16, 2021
Scott Abshire
Feb 9, 2021
Scott Abshire
Did this reverse. Stomping Knob is STEAP! Going the recommended direction you'd be going downhill. Either way, great trail 16.5mi — 6h 15m
Aug 29, 2020
LT Thompson
Aug 26, 2020
Joe P
15.3mi — 5h 27m
Aug 17, 2020
Meredith Bolon
14.4mi — 5h 09m
Aug 1, 2020
Claudia Penaloza

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