Hiking the Point Lookout Trail

Philadelphia Vireo by Simon Thompson

Old Fort

McDowell County, NC

October 9, 2022

Monarch Butterfly by Simon Thompson

Register by clicking the ‘book now’ button above, or by contacting the Ventures office. We accept credit cards for an additional fee (2.9% for MC, Visa, Discover; 3.9% for AmEx), but you may also pay by bank transfer, cash, check, or money order. This Venture is limited to 10 participants.

Time: We will meet at 7 AM in the parking lot of the J & S Cafeteria at the River Ridge Mall off I-240 in East Asheville. You could also meet us at the entrance of the Point Lookout Trail, although parking is limited to only a handful of vehicles. Cost: $60

An easy day walking downhill (and then back up!) along an abandoned paved road. Most of the walk will be in the shade, but there are some sunny areas which we will walk through.

The paved, 3.62-mile Point Lookout Trail follows the Old NC 10/Highway 70 route through the Royal Gorge, once known at the Central Highway, through the Pisgah National Forest. The trail descends more than 900 feet between Ridgecrest and Old Fort, with long-range views from the famous Point Lookout (a tourist attraction of yesteryear). From the lookout, the trail crosses over the railroad and offers several nice views of several rail tunnels. The Point Lookout Trail is frequently used by runners and cyclists, so we will have to keep our eyes open for them.

The birding can be very enjoyable as well at this time of the year. On an October morning last year we had 5 species of Vireo, including multiple Philadelphia Vireos, as well as Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Wood and Swainson’s Thrushes, Scarlet Tanager and 16 species of warbler. Bay-breasted Warblers were the most common, but American Redstart, Black-throated Green and Chestnut-sided were also common.

This relatively unknown spot has the potential to be a beautiful and easy local birding location.