Looking Glass Rock

Looking Glass Rock

*One of our Top Ten Hikes in the Southern Appalachians!

  • Location: Pisgah National Forest, NC
  • Distance: 5.3 miles out and back (some sources list it as 6)
  • Elevation Gain: 1700 ft
  • Our Time: Four hours
  • Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous
  • Best season: Fall or Spring
  • B.I.T. Rating (***1/2)

2011-2012 959

Directions: From Brevard, NC: Take US 276 northwest for about 5 miles, then turn left on Fish Hatchery Road (sign says Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education.) If you see signs for Looking Glass Falls, turn around, you missed the turn. The trailhead is directly off Fish Hatchery Road on the right.

Brief Description: One of the best known sights from the Blue Ridge Parkway is iconic Looking Glass Rock, with its towering sheer cliffs. But the view from the clifftops is incredible too, and this hike takes you directly to the top of that imposing precipice.

Looking Glass Rock from the Blue Ridge Parkway…the trail leads right to the top of those cliffs.

Why do this?

  • Only one view from this trail but its a great one
  • Sprawling 180 degree panorama, one of the best in the South
  • You can see right across to the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Almost no sign of human habitation (apart from the parkway)
  • Wide rock slabs make for great viewing
  • Generally safe if one avoids Le Stupid
  • A pretty straightforward trail, generally moderate hiking
  • Real chance of seeing Peregrine Falcons
  • Many other things to visit nearby
  • Looking Glass Falls, John Rock, several other small waterfalls
  • Stage out of excellent Davidson River Campground or the great little town of Brevard

But first Consider:

  • Its a long walk to get to just one view
  • Middle sections are somewhat steep
  • The summit of the rock is actually treed in, view is just downhill past it
  • These cliffs are not a place to horse around
  • Serious or injury or death is possible here
  • Don’t go out on the rock slabs if they aren’t dry
  • NOT recommended at all for icy conditions
  • Falcon nesting sometimes closes the trail
  • This trail can be quite crowded
  • Parking is limited; cars will be parked up and down the road on peak weekends
  • You may be forced to park down at the wildlife center and walk back

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