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Looking Glass Rock Hike

Southern Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

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Looking Glass Rock Hike

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  • The trail to Looking Glass Rock is well maintained and has bridges crossing most streams.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • Looking Glass Rock Trail.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • The steep switchbacks in the first mile.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • Dense patches of rhododendron populate the trail.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • A hint of the view to come can be seen in late fall through early spring.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • The trail becomes steeper and narrower as you approach the top.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • A false summit makes a convenient picnic spot.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • The false summit also serves as an emergency helicopter landing pad.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • After the heli-pad, the trail continues to narrow.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • The trail levels off, and you'll see backcountry campsites on either side.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • The slanted rock at the top of Looking Glass is an inviting place to sunbathe.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • The view from Looking Glass Rock.- Looking Glass Rock Hike
  • - Looking Glass Rock Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Well maintained trail for most of the trip.
Cons: 
Big crowds. Sometimes difficult to access.
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Region:
Southern Blue Ridge Mountains, NC
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,649.00 ft (502.62 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
6.40 mi (10.30 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,320.00 ft (707.14 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The hike to Looking Glass Rock is a 6.4-mile round trip walk that summits a popular climbing area and an iconic feature in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and a remote feel, despite being located less than 30 minutes from Brevard and an hour from Asheville.

From the trailhead on National Forest Road 475, this trail begins gradually but soon climbs steeply along a ridge, switchbacking through groves of Carolina hemlock. The steepest portion of the trail begins around the 1.5 mile mark and continues until the 2.5 mile mark, where the trail levels off and a large flat rock is used as an emergency heli-pad. More commonly (and preferably), it makes a great picnic area.

Above the heli-pad the trail becomes much more varied and eroded, passing large rocks and the occasional muddy patch. A wide campsite can be found on the left of the trail shortly before the summit, which is thickly wooded and provides no views. Continuing downhill along the trail will reveal the true prize of the hike: excellent views of the Pisgah Ridge, Black Balsam Mountain, and the Blue Ridge Parkway from the brink of a granite outcrop that juts several hundred feet above the valley.

The rock is slippery when wet, and it curves gradually away, so use caution when exploring this area. It is impossible to get a clear view of the vertical portion of the cliff without actually climbing up, so stay on the flatter portions near the forest and enjoy the view surrounding you.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(4 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(30 within a 30 mile radius)

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