Point Lookout Greenway Trail in Old Fort

The Point Lookout Greenway is a 3.5-mile paved walking/biking trail near the Inn, in scenic McDowell County. The route used to be Highway 10, then Highway 70 {now called Old Highway 70}, and it was blocked off decades ago in this particular stretch from Ridgecrest to Old Fort. When it was the main highway, before the construction of Interstate 40, there was a gas station and restaurant, and a beautiful overlook.

Point Lookout has what we call a top end near Ridgecrest, where our portion of Mill Creek Road to the Inn on Mill Creek begins. From the top end, you venture downhill, over railroad tunnels, with views of Young’s Ridge and Royal Gorge. Most people who start on this end park at the Point Lookout Trail barricade where our road begins.

The bottom end is just past the intersection of Old Highway 70 and the paved portion of Mill Creek Road east of the Inn. The bottom end meanders above a little section of the Swannanoa Creek. Near the bottom end is a picturesque Baptist church, and you can park on the road near the church. Please be respectful of the church and the houses at this end.

With a 900-foot elevation difference between the top end and the bottom end, the trail is considered easy-to-moderate depending on whether you’re traveling by bicycle or by foot, and depending on whether you’re traveling downhill or up. And if you’re walking with two innpugs who like to stop and sniff every few feet, it is very easy. The incline is fairly gradual since the trail is more than three miles long.

Most of the trail is surrounded by Pisgah National Forest, so this is a great walk or bike ride for the spring {wildflowers!}, summer {shade! yummy wild berries!} and fall {beautiful foliage!}.

In fact, autumn may be the best time to be on Point Lookout Trail because of the lengthy fall color season we have here in the mountains of North Carolina. At the original Point Lookout overlook, which is approximately one mile from the top end of the trail, you can relax on one of the benches and take in the gorgeous Royal Gorge. Here are some photos we took at the overlook in late October of 2010:

The Point Lookout Trail was established through a joint partnership between the North Carolina Department of Transportation Highway Division 13, the Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation, McDowell County, the town of Old Fort, the U.S. Forest Service, and local property owners. The McDowell Trails Association maintains this beautiful trail.

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