Hike Looking Glass Rock

North Carolina Looking Glass Rock Trail

Added by Justin Costner

  • Distance: 6.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation gain: 1,700 ft.
  • All seasons hike - great in the winter
  • Epic views of Appalachian Mountains

This is a really nice, moderately difficult hike along a cascading creek, up switchbacks, and through wildflower fields. A couple miles in, you'll reach a helipad that is used for rescuing injured rock climbers - Looking Glass Rock is a popular destination for world class climbing. There is a small trail leading away from the helipad with nice views of the lower cliffs.

Continue past the helipad to the summit, which has a few campsites but doesn't actually yield the greatest views. Keep hiking along the main trail past the summit to reach the Upper Looking Glass Cliffs - be sure to keep a safe distance from the edge. This is a great spot to kick back, eat lunch, and enjoy the view of the Appalachian Mountains all around you.

To find the trailhead from Asheville take I-26 East until the exit for Hwy 280 (towards the airport). Head west on the 280 towards Brevard for about 16 miles and turn right onto Hwy 276 North just past the shopping center. This will take you into Pisgah National Forest where you'll drive 5.3 miles and make a left turn, following signs for the Wildlife Center. About half a mile on this road, look for a parking lot and trailhead on the right hand side of the road.

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes
  • Layers
  • Camera
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Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round



Easy Parking

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How to Get There

20 days ago

Good Workout, Awesome View

The trail starts out with some pretty tough switchbacks and then flattens out to a slight incline till you get to the peak, then it's just a short downhill hike to the view. A very safe hike since it is usually pretty crowded and there is a helicopter landing pad at the halfway point. A very good view of the surrounding mountains that makes the hike totally worth it. There are also a few campsites on the peak that would be fun to backpack to.

20 days ago

4 months ago

Tough Hike, Great View

Hard 3ish mile hike to the top but completely worth the view. Did it with two other college teammates and we got a great workout of it and some great memories

4 months ago

over 1 year ago

Take a left on Fish Hatery Road just off of U.S. 64 west of Brevard, NC and there it is, a fairly moderate trail in the heart of Pisgah National Forest. The trail features amazing views of wooded forest and a breathtaking overlook of the forest at the peak of Looking Glass Rock. The mountain was once a part of the Biltmore Estate, but is now very well maintained by the U.S. Forestry Service. Perfect for any hikers, one of the best trails in western North Carolina!

over 1 year ago

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