Looking Glass Rock

Looking Glass Rock

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 humble 3,970', Looking Glass is what is known as a pluton. In layman's terms, it’s 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 its nearly 1,000 foot sheer cliffs. Plutons are by no means uncommon in this portion of the Appalachians, but Looking Glass Rock is definitely the most striking example of one.

Surprisingly, despite many years in these mountains, I had yet to climb Looking Glass. This was primarily due to the unfortunate by-product of the mountains' fame...heavy visitation. I figured if I was going to brave the inevitable crowds I wanted to do it during the most visually rewarding time of year...autumn. I picked a crisp, clear morning and got a good early start. To my utter amazement and delight I was the first vehicle at the trailhead! Someone upstairs was smiling on me this day and I was able to enjoy Looking Glass entirely on my own, no small miracle on this peak! So, off we go on what promised to be a truly spectacular walk in the hills...

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:   35.290991, -82.776671

Route Type: Out-and-back + spur      Difficulty: HARD (Petzoldt Rating: 9.74 )      Hike Length: 6.5 miles      Hike Duration: 3:15      Trailhead Temp: 45'F                Trail Traffic: 50-100 people      Min. Elevation: 2,300'      Max. Elevation: 3,969'      Total Vertical Gain: 1,770'      Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 545'

Trails Used (Blaze Color): Looking Glass Rock Trail (yellow)


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