Looking Glass Rock

  • Highlights: Great views, granite summit, wildflowers
  • Distance: 6.2 mile out-and-back
  • Elevation change: 1,700 feet
  • Difficulty level: Strenuous
  • Trailhead Parking: From US 276 turn onto FS Road 475, signed for the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education; trailhead parking is 1/2 mile on the right.
  • Website: US Forest Service
  • Beer Pairings: Oskar Blues Brewery—Can-O-Bliss Resinous IPA & Death by Coconut Porter

The Hike:

Looking Glass Rock, with its exposed granite surface on three sides, rises 2,000’ from the valley floor and can be seen for miles. It is one of the most iconic summits in North Carolina. The trail, while well marked and well maintained, is a continuous upward climb. Numerous switchbacks and steps make the ascent manageable. 

From the trailhead kiosk, follow the yellow-blazed trail over a small creek and then through the forest. Wildflowers line the path as the climb begins—slowly at first. Reach the first of many switchbacks at about 1/2 mile. Through the trees catch views of the surrounding mountains. The climb continues and wildflowers on the forest floor give way to mountain laurel and rhododendron. 

At 2.1 miles, a small path to the left leads to a large, flat rock outcropping with views to the south, including John Rock. At 2.7 miles the trail begins a gentle descent and soon reaches the huge granite slab summit. There are no fences so take care if the rock is wet or icy.

The views of the Blue Ridge seem to go on forever. Mountain ridges roll to the south and west. The overlooks of the Blue Ridge Parkway rise above to the west. Small trails lead to other vistas. Take in all the views and then retrace your steps back to your vehicle. 

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

Oskar Blues Brewery in nearby Brevard has indoor and outdoor seating and is very dog friendly. The CHUBwagon serves some pretty good pub grub including the world-famous CHUBurger. They also serve some really good beer. 

Kathy really liked Resinous IPA, part of the Can-O-Bliss series. This New England-style IPA is made with Meridien, Saphir, and Bravo hops and has some serious hoppiness. Pete tried Death by Coconut, an Irish-style Porter made with chocolate and coconut. It wasn’t overly sweet, the toasted caramel malts of the porter blended nicely with the coconut and chocolate. It is part of Oskar’s season series and was perfect on a cold April afternoon.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.