Looking Glass RockTrail #114

3.1 mi - Moderate - This popular trail receives very heavy use during the summer and the autumn color season. It entails a virtually constant climb to the top, so be mindful of your physical condition and take plenty of water in warm weather. The numerous switchbacks enable an otherwise “difficult” incline to be rated as “moderate.” You may be tempted to shortcut across these switchbacks, but doing so causes a great deal of subsequent erosion damage, so please stay on the trail. As you climb, you will notice changing forest types as the soils become drier and less fertile; Table Mountain Pine seems to grow out of solid rock in some places. After approximately two miles, along a rather flat stretch of trail, a spur trail across flat, open rock to your left leads to a beautiful view to the west and southwest that includes John Rock. This is a good destination for those who decide not to go to the end of the trail. (The yellow blazes painted on the rock surface may be faded, so look for a large, white “H” on the rock—an emergency helicopter landing site—to the left of the trail; then proceed diagonally ahead to your left until you reach the rock’s rim. To return to the main trail, proceed on another diagonal through small stands of trees until you rejoin it.) The last mile of the trail is the steepest, and the view suddenly presents itself as the trail tops out and leaves the trees: You will be rewarded with a panoramic vista, looking northward across a wide valley to high balds and the Blue Ridge Parkway environment in the distance.

Approximate Elevation Change: 1,700 feet
Blaze: Yellow

At a Glance

Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Hiking Trail: foot traffic only.
Water: yes
Restroom: none
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information

Directions: Leaving parking lot of Pisgah District Ranger Station/Visitor Center, turn right (north) onto US 276. Proceed 3½ miles north, and turn left onto FS Road 475, signed for the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and Pisgah Forest Fish Hatchery. The paved, signed parking lot for the trailhead is on the right within ½ mile.


Day Hiking

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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