Looking Glass Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls to visit in Western North Carolina and for good reason. It’s an easy to get to, picture-perfect waterfall with a 60-foot drop.
After some rain the waterfall can have some real power — you might even get wet from the mist. There is a swimming pool at the bottom but the force from the waterfall can be dangerous, so definitely be careful if you plan to go swimming. The waterfall is part of Looking Glass Creek, which converges with the Davidson River a few hundred feet downstream.
Looking Glass Falls is always a stop of ours when in Pisgah National Forest, especially when we have visitors in town.
It’s right off the road and very easy to access. You can either view it from the observation deck above, or take the stairwell down to get closer to the waterfall. A few of these photos are from winter, but the area is green and luscious in the summertime. And, of course, fall is beautiful too with the changing colors!
Looking Glass Falls can get really busy in nice weather but there is enough space at the bottom where you can spread out. The waterfall drops into a swimming area for the brave and then quickly flows into a shallow creek for splashing. When the weather is nice, you can expect to find a few people swimming, a ton of people on the rocks by the swimming area and a few more groups along the creek.
Parking at Looking Glass Falls
The parking area for Looking Glass Falls is 5 1/2 miles past the entrance of Pisgah National Forest in Pisgah Forest, NC and is marked with a National Forest Service sign.
If you are coming in from Pisgah Forest, NC and pass the sign for the falls (pictured), you’ve gone too far to park!
There is ample parallel parking located on the side of the road leading up to the falls. And if you did pass it, don’t worry! There’s a turnaround area and you can try your hand at finding a spot again.
How I find a parking spot at Looking Glass Falls
One thing we will say is that we often see people trying to snag a spot at the very end of the parking area, but we have always had luck finding a spot closer to the entrance. We just continue driving next to the cars parked along the street and typically find a much closer spot than the first. It’s a pretty long walk if it’s a busy day and you park right when you see cars lining up.
I can’t guarantee you’ll find a spot closer, but the last time I went I snagged the very first one! And again– if you get all the way to the entrance and didn’t find a spot, just turn around up ahead and try again.
FAQs about Looking Glass Falls
Yes, Looking Glass Falls is easy to get to. The waterfall is literally visible and accessible from the side of the road. The fastest route from Asheville is to take Highway 280 toward Brevard and turn onto Highway 276 into Pisgah National Forest. Bonus points if you snag a coffee and mini donuts from the Velvet Cup food truck on the way in!
No, Looking Glass Falls is not part of a hike. Though there isn’t any hiking required to get to the falls, there is a series of steps down to it. Of course, you can stay up top to view the waterfall without issue, but if you want to get closer you’ll have to take the steps. Once you’re down there you can choose to stay by the railing overlook or you can cross over to the side to walk down to the rocks and water. You can get splashed at the bottom if the water is flowing heavily. It’s nice on a warm day– not so much on cooler ones!
There aren’t any trails or hiking located at the waterfall, but you can explore and splash in the water at the base of the falls. Make sure you follow all posted safety signs as the rocks around the waterfall can be dangerous.
Yes, you can swim at Looking Glass Falls. There is a swimming hole at the bottom of the waterfall. It can get pretty rough if the water is really flowing, so it’s not ideal for young children. We typically just hop along the rocks and walk in the creek with our 4 year old.
There isn’t a hike at Looking Glass Falls! Instead you just park your car on Highway 276 and take the stairs down to the waterfall. You can also view it from the observation deck above.
No, there are no restrooms at the waterfall. However, there are public restrooms located close by at Sycamore Flats and Coon Tree Picnic Area.
Looking Glass Falls is open to the public year-round, barring any events that may force closure. In 2021 we had several hurricanes come through that closed various stops in Pisgah National Forest due to damage sustained during the storm. The National Forest page on the falls will have the most up-to-date information on closures.
We hope you enjoy your next adventure at Looking Glass Falls! It’s easy to get to, stunning and enjoyed by all ages!