If you’ve explored the Blue Ridge Parkway, chances are, you’ve seen this beauty from the other side. A steady three mile climb up lands you at the top of a sheer drop down: Looking Glass Rock is a height junkie’s dream. The trail winds through thick hardwood forest as you pass the plants and small animals that call Western North Carolina home.
Get ready: The trail is situated within Pisgah National Forest. From Brevard (accessed off Interstate 26), take a right off Highway 280 W onto Highway 276 N. This will take you into Pisgah. A little more than five miles later, turn left at the sign for Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. Go almost half a mile and look for the parking area on the right for Looking Glass Rock Trail Head. This is a popular trail – on a warm weekend in summer, parking could be hard to come by.
Get set: The trail head, along with the trail, is well-marked. Just follow the yellow blazes!
Go: You’ll climb 1,700 feet over the course of the 3.25 mile ascent. Your muscles are going to burn – the switchbacks should help with that a bit. You’ll pass a small stream, mountain laurel and rhododendron. About a mile from the summit, you’ll reach a flat granite covered area. It’s actually a helicopter pad used by crews rescuing distressed rock climbers. There’s a side trail that goes to a lower vantage point. Continue following the yellow blazes to reach the summit in about 1.25 miles.
Once you emerge from the tree line, you will probably sit RIGHT DOWN. It’s VERY STEEP and easy to slip.
One wrong move could end fatally. Take a seat, have a snack and take in those beautiful, blue, rolling mountains.
Effort: For the new hiker, I would allot up to five hours to complete the 6.5 mile hike. Definitely bring lots of water and snacks. If you’re an experienced hiker, it will take less than three hours.
Takeaway: I would suggest leaving the kids and pups at home for this one. The view at the top is absolutely stunning. As a result, it’s also incredibly DANGEROUS. At least once a year, someone falls to their death from this cliff. With that said, the Looking Glass Rock trail is a fabulous day hike. Check out Looking Glass Falls down the way, or read our review for the John Rock Trail, a less strenuous, five mile option right next door.