Pisgah National Forest
November 1-2, 2010
Near: Brevard, NC
Route: Looking Glass Rock Trail
Avery Creek Trail to Buckhorn Gap Trail to FR
Type: Out and back, Loop
Distance: 11.7 miles
Conditions: Mostly Sunny
Impression: Looking Glass Rock, for those who've never seen it off the Parkway, is an amazing mountain visually...the stone slab side is unique amongst all the standard wooded forest comprising Pisgah, making it a favorite for hikers and rock climbers...it's very popular, so for those looking for a little alone time in the woods, this is not the trail for you...the climb from the parking lot to the top is 50% switchbacks, i've never seen so many in my life...thankfully, there are plenty of shortcuts going straight up the mountain for those like to break a sweat...once at the top, the view of the valley below and the Parkway are incredible...the stone slab opens unobstructed views of the entire area, but it is a rather steep slope, so caution should be taken when on the rock...i wouldn't recommend going out there in the winter when it's icy...though it's 6.2 miles total, this is a relatively easy hike for all the elevation that is gained and worth the trip out...
After that, i needed a place to camp and went to Pink Beds picnic area...there is a loop trail that runs from the area, but it's closed due to flooding...i tried to check it out anyway, but it wasn't long before i had to turn back...it's looks like Maine with it's bogs and black mud and isn't recommended for even the most adventurous...i did find a place to camp though and spent the night there...
The next day, i looked to find the remotest part of the park i could get to, tiring of people and wanting a chance for my dog to run around freely...i took the road heading towards White Pines Campground and Horse Rental...the road was blocked off at the horse stables and there were no other cars around...the map showed a loop from there and we headed out...this was a great hike...along the Buckhorn Trail is Twin Falls, two falls of 60+ feet (i reckon)...one is hard to walk near, but the other, a trail leads back behind the falls themselves...i sat there and had a snack...very cool! though, the loop was only 5.5 miles, the dog and i had a blast...Pisgah National Forest is an amazing area with lots to look at and plenty of chances to get "lost and found"...i meandered off the trail and did a little bushwacking through the woods, stumbling across an old forest road that had a much deserted "Dead End" sign...it was great! i highly recommend a backpacking trip through Pisgah for everyone...this is a tremendous area with tons to see...
Directions to Trailhead:
From the Blue Ridge Parkway, take Hwy 276 to FSR 50...make a right there and go down a little less than a mile to the trailhead parking lot...
To get to White Pines, continue down Hwy 276 to FR 477...it is well signed and hard to miss...this is a little closer to Brevard, NC than Looking Glass Rock...