Using multiple trails in the Montreat trail system, you are able to link up multiple peaks, stellar views, and technical trails!
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — River/Creek — Spring — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
START/FINISH: Located at the parking lot adjacent to Lake Susan. 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.)
Leave the parking lot and find the Gate Trail
(blue blaze) which runs from the parking lot to the creek and heads downstream. Follow this trail through the playground, beside the tennis courts, around the softball field, and through it's many twists and turns. After passing below several Montreat houses, you'll pop out in a clearing with dirt and gravel...be looking diagonal-left for Rainbow Mountain Trail
(gray blaze) which is near an out-building with the number 3 on it. Take this trail up and over Rainbow Mtn. being careful to watch for the summit trail at a key intersection near the top (where we will veer right).
After going up and over the summit, turn right at the intersection with Rainbow Rd./Tr. and follow this, staying 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 numerous 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
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 Trestle/Mitchell Toll. Stay left here to continue on 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.
After a short time on this singletrack trail, you'll come to the left turn for Walker's Knob (there is a shelter there). Take this side trail a short ways to Walker's Knob; then head back to Graybeard Tr. and turn left to continue up towards Graybeard. 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. The trail ends at a gravel road. Run the gravel road until it turns to pavement; then turn right onto Graybeard Trail
Rd. and take this back past Lake Susan to the parking lot and the FINISH!!!!!