Archived Outdoors

New trail opens near Old Fort

The 3-mile Bernard Mountain Trail is the newest addition to a planned 42 miles of new trail near Old Fort. U.S. Forest Service map The 3-mile Bernard Mountain Trail is the newest addition to a planned 42 miles of new trail near Old Fort. U.S. Forest Service map

A new trail is open in the Old Fort area, an important milestone in an ongoing 42-mile trail expansion project there.

The 3.16-mile Bernard Mountain Trail descends nearly 1,000 feet from the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, following the rocky ridge parallel to Kitsuma. Designed for intermediate mountain biking and hiking, the trail connects from Bernard Mountain Road, accessible via Mill Creek Road, to the Point Lookout Greenway near the Old Fort Picnic Area. While classified as intermediate, the trail also features technical sections and advanced alternate lines for mountain bikers. In contrast to the easy-to-intermediate Gateway Trails, Bernard Mountain Trail is narrow singletrack with many rocky sections and steeper grades.

Along with the trail, a new parking area accommodating 10-15 cars is now open, located off of Mill Creek Road. It’s about 4.6 miles from the new parking area to the bottom of the Point Lookout Greenway, including 1.5 miles along the gated U.S. Forest Service road Bernard Mountain Road. Bikers and runners can loop Bernard Mountain as a downhill trail with the Point Lookout climb for a total route of close to 9 miles. In contrast, hikers may prefer the 2-mile hike up to the Bernard Mountain peak from Point Lookout. 

The trail was built through funding from the McDowell County Tourism Development Authority, and construction was executed by Trail Dynamics.

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