Looking Glass Falls – Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC

Catch views of the gorgeous, cascading Looking Glass Falls, a roadside waterfall just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Brevard, NC.

 

trail info

TRAIL LOCATION: Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC and the Blue Ridge Parkway

GEAR: Our favorite day hike gear and Canon 6D DSLR

OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 780 Trails Illustrated Map

Set just off highway US 276 between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Brevard, a tall, spilling waterfall cascades in a single, stunning, perfect drop from a towering cliff.

Looking Glass Falls is one of North Carolina’s most popular waterfalls, given its easy, roadside access and classic waterfall beauty. US 276 is a gorgeous drive, well-loved for its winding meanders through the Pisgah National Forest and access to the area’s most popular attractions, including Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, Moore Cove Falls, Pink Beds and the Cradle of Forestry. If you’re adventuring in the Brevard area south of Asheville, there’s a good chance you’ll pass Looking Glass Falls – and it’s absolutely worth a visit.

Looking Glass Falls spills into a deep, chilly pool of water near Brevard, NCAbove: Looking Glass Falls spills into a deep, chilly pool of water near Brevard, NC

At under a half mile, round trip, this barely counts as a hike for most trail fans – but Looking Glass Falls is a must-see. Framed by a towering, blocky cliff, Looking Glass Creek drops in a beautiful cascade into a deep, cool pool. In warm summer months, colorful wildflowers and vibrant green moss blanket the surrounding rock, drenched in the nearly continuous, cool spray of mist from the thundering falls. The waterfall is visible from a roadside viewing platform – or descend the trail’s stairs for an up-close view of the falls.

Looking Glass Falls NC: the hike

The short, but exceptionally beautiful, hike to Looking Glass Falls begins at the signed trailhead on US 276 near Brevard (view maps and driving directions), catching its first views of the tumbling waterfall roadside observation deck.

Looking Glass Falls is a roadside waterfall near the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville

Parking is limited at this popular waterfall, so arrive early and visit on weekdays, if possible, for the best chance of avoiding crowds. Early morning fog and the rising sun make for a beautiful backdrop to the waterfall – and the unspoiled quiet of having the falls to yourself make an early morning visit especially worthwhile.

For an up-close view of Looking Glass Falls, descend the trail’s stairs to a middle and lower viewing platform. The area just below the falls is open for exploration, too – but the rocks surrounding the waterfall can be extremely slippery. Swimming is allowed at the falls, but swim at your own risk and don’t climb on or around the rocks or cliff.

The Looking Glass Falls, a roadside waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest, is one of the most visited near Brevard, NC

The lower viewing platform and surrounding rock outcrops are great places to take in the waterfall’s beauty – and a gorgeous place for a picnic. Morning mountain valley fog, the waterfall’s continuous, cool mist and scores of wildflowers make this one of our favorite places near Asheville for a trailside breakfast and morning coffee.

Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.

More outdoor adventures near Looking Glass Falls

The area surrounding Looking Glass Falls is full of adventure opportunities. Hike the nearby Moore Cove Falls Trail to a towering, wispy waterfall set deep in a scenic cove. Head to the Blue Ridge Parkway to hike Skinny Dip Falls, a beautiful waterfall that cascades into a crystal-clear, deep pool that’s a popular spot for a summertime swim. Or catch a stunning view from a mountain summit on the Mt Pisgah Trail or Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail, both north on the Blue Ridge Parkway from its intersection with US 276.

 
 
 

Looking Glass Falls Trail: Directions & Details

Parking

Free parking is available near the Looking Glass Falls trailhead, but may be limited on weekends and holidays.

Please Remember

Always leave no trace and follow these trail etiquette tips.

GPS Coordinates

35.296333, -82.769583     //     N35 17.780 W82 46.175

Driving Directions


Looking Glass Falls Trail Map

Trail data and photos © Summit19 Studio LLC. This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.
 
Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.

Eric is also a freelance writer, photographer and creative director.