Looking Glass! We have to talk about Looking Glass! It's located in the Davidson River area of the Pisgah National Forest and is one of the premier, if not the premier, multi-pitch traditional multi-route destinations in the south. It's a huge, exposed granite dome with many many routes of multiple pitch lengths.
What Makes It Great
Classics include The Nose (5.8), which is extremely popular. There is extensive guide book coverage, and a lot of information in Selected Climbs of North Carolina. It's about 45minutes to an hour from downtown, and you're pretty much looking at a full day by virtue of the length of the routes.
For those only interested in a hike, there's a really great trail that leads to one of the most majestic views on the east coast. It climbs a steep 1,700 feet in just over three miles, taking hikers along a cascading mountain stream and through tunnels of rhododendron and mountain laurel, before beginning a series of switchbacks up the mountain. The views from the top are well worth the effort though; simply stunning!
Who is Going to Love It
The Looking Glass area has a ton of opportunities for climbers of all abilities. It's also a great place to just go for a hike!
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Parking is pretty obvious, but the thing about Looking Glass is that there are two distinct sides. The road (Hwy 276) splits and branches toward the Pisgah center for wildlife education and the hatchery. Off that branch to the left is Looking Glass south access. Access to the north face is Forest Road 475b.
Be sure to check in the posted guide books, because sections of the North Face are closed for several months out of the year for peregrine falcon breeding.