008 – Looking Glass Falls

Accessibility – Easy

Height – 89′

Distance – Roadside

Beauty – 9

Photo rating – 9

Solitude – 2

GPS Info: LAT 35.2962 LONG -82.7687

Last updated: 2/20/2016


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Looking Glass Falls is one of the prettiest waterfalls you’re going to find in Pisgah Forest. It is almost 90 feet high and is located on a high volume creek so there is always great water flow. A towering cliff dominates the downstream area and helps provide a backdrop as Looking Glass Creek plunges over the single drop in a large collection pool at the base. The pools isn’t too deep and the current is slow enough that a lot of people get into the water below the falls. This is one of the most visited waterfalls in Pisgah and if you’re a late arrival, expect all of the roadside parking on US276 to be filled. In the pictures below you will see a rare sight. There are no random people in the shots. Two were taken shortly after sunrise (the first picture is by far my favorite). The last one was taken on a 22 degree morning in February and even then our timing was just right since two people were just leaving when I took the shot and by the time we reached the car more than a dozen people had arrived.

To get to Looking Glass Falls, follow US276 5.6 miles from the convergence of 64/280/276 in Brevard. The parking area is not too far past the point where FR475 branches to the left. If it’s not first thing in the morning, as you near the bend in the road, start looking for a parking spot. Access to the falls is via a set of steps. There is an observation platform at the top of the falls, looking down over the cove where the falls is located. You can head down the steps and take shots at most points along the decent. The lower viewing platform is still about 10-12 feet above the creek. To get to creek level you’re going to have to work your way down the rocks to the creek. You can set up to take your shot from anywhere but if you chose to do so from directly downstream, the spray off the falls is wicked. Use cation on the rocks since they are likely going to be wet and slippery. The falls is an impressive sight from every vantage but especially from creek level. The way down is kid friendly but the rocks can be slippery so use caution.

Since this waterfall is roadside on US276. do not expect a whole lot of solitude. There are always going to be people present unless you’re here early in the morning or toward the end of the day. There is a lot of parking but it fills up. If you miss the parking area there is a turn around further up US276. If you’re coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway it’s about 9.4 miles to the start of the parking area. You’ll probably have to drive past the falls and turn around, which isn’t always easy.

There are numerous photo-ops but you will face challenges beyond the spray coming off the falls. First off, if you arrive too late you’re going to end up with half a dozen kids and at least as many adults in your shot. In the summer there will be people in the pool at the base of the falls. The next problem is the litter. On my last summer visit in July 2015 (pics 1 and 3) I realized why it is I prefer waterfalls that are off the beaten path. For whatever reason, people feel as if the deck, stairs and rocks around Looking Glass Falls are a trashcan. All I wanted was to get a sunrise picture of the falls, which I accomplished but before I could take it, I spent ten minutes picking up empty water bottles, discarded clothing and food wrappers so they weren’t in the shots.

Sunrise at Looking Glass Falls - June 2015
Sunrise at Looking Glass Falls – June 2015
DSC_5069
Looking Glass Falls – October 2013
Looking Glass Falls - June 2015
Looking Glass Falls – June 2015
DSC_10297
Add some ice – Looking Glass Falls – February 2016

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