I had so much fun going up Mt. Mitchell that I decided to check out another "local" trail on Thursday morning. Brian suggested I check out the Kitsuma trail in Ridgecrest, which is literally just off 1-40. I headed over early Thursday morning and was surprised that the gate was open at 6:00 AM. I had a headlamp since I expected it would be dark under the canopy. I knew little about this trail but read that there were some nice switchbacks as you climb to the top. The weather was again near perfect and I decided to take it very easy since a) I was running on unknown terrain and b) I was a little tired from the day before.
I had a lot of fun on this trail and figure it was about a 10 mile loop, with the last portion on an asphalt road. At a picnic area there is a turn and I went left and ended up on the road. Perhaps if you go right you can stay on the trail. Trail was pretty well maintained and is no doubt very popular. Definitely one to consider if you are in the Asheville area.