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Looking Glass Rock Trail

Pisgah National Forest

Near Brevard, NC

by Jack Thyen (SCJack)

The trail head to Looking Glass Rock off of Hwy 276 near Brevard and the Blued Ridge Parkway

Water: Plenty near the trailhead, No reliable source near the top.

Difficulty Rating: Moderate to Strenuous: 6 out of 10 on the difficulty scale

Trail Quality & Enjoyment Rating: 7 out of 10

Hike distance: 6.4 miles (3.2 miles out and back)

Pros: Awesome views from the top

Cons: Crowds

Camping: Yes, there are several good campsites on and near the summit. 

Hike Description:

The Looking Glass Rock Trail climbs about 1700ft in just over three miles.  The many switchbacks along the way help make for a long, but only moderately difficult climb.Looking Glass Rock from high above on the Blue Ridge Parkway  The views from the top are well worth the effort!  The trail is well blazed and easy to follow all the way.


The trail starts off following a stream with some small cascades along the way, before beginning a series of switchbacks up the mountain.  Much of the trail takes you through tunnels of rhododendron and mountain laurel.

After about 2 miles, the trail reaches a flat rock area, which is used as a Helicopter Pad by the Transylvania County Rescue Squad.  At this point a spur trail heads off to the left past the Helipad, which leads to some nice views from Lower Looking Glass Cliffs.

Looking Glass Rock from the sideAt the Helipad, the main trail heads off to the right and continues its climb to the summit.  There are a couple of nice campsites, but you can't see much from the actual summit.  The trail continues past the summit and after a short descent you will arrive at Upper Looking Glass Cliffs where you will be treated to some spectacular views.  Do not get too close to the edge!  It is very easy to slip, and a fall from here would most certainly be fatal!A wide view



There is another side trail that takes you to the NorthEast face of Looking Glass Rock.  However, this side trail is currently closed due to it being a nesting site for the endangered Peregrine Falcon.  Therefore, after enjoying the views, return the way that you came.



Gettin' There : From Brevard, NC. Head North on US276.  About 3 miles past the Pisgah Ranger Station & Visitors Center, turn left on FS Road 475 (heading towards the fish hatchery).  Looking Glass Rock Trailhead and Parking area is about 1/2 mile on the Right.

Don't fall off!A view from the top







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