Looking Glass Rock (12-14-14)
Looking Glass Rock, ever since my first climb of it in the fall of 2012, has had a special place in my heart. On its own its rather unremarkable, though its rugged and shear cliffs are undeniably impressive, it is its location as the perfect grandstand from which to view the immensity of the neighboring Great Balsam Range which appeals most to me.
Arguably one of the most famous mountains in North Carolina, Looking Glass Rock rises like a giant stone sentinel from the surrounding forest. Located about 10 miles north of Brevard in the shadow of the Great Balsam Range, rising a rather tame 3,970', Looking Glass is what is known as a pluton. In layman's terms, its composed of really, really hard rock (granite to be precise). While the surrounding hills eroded out, the rock of Looking Glass resisted these forces to a greater degree. What that left is the peak you see today with it's nearly 1,000 foot shear cliffs. Pluton's are by no means uncommon in this portion of the Appalachians, but Looking Glass Rock is definitely the most striking example of one.
This hike was a late-day, last-minute kind of hike. I wasn't originally planning on heading out this day. I needed to clear my head, though, and the best way I know how to do that is to get out in the woods for a while...to let nature heal the soul as it were. So, as it had been a while since I climbed it, I decided Looking Glass was a convenient option for a quick 6+ mile hike. As it turned out, the late afternoon sun made for yet another memorable visit to one of Pisgah National Forest's natural icons...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.290991, -82.776671
Hike Length: 6.5 miles Hike Duration: 3:15
Trailhead Temp: 45'F
Min. Elevation: 2,300' Max. Elevation: 3,969'
Total Vertical Gain: 1,770' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 545'