Looking Glass Falls is the single most visited waterfall in the Western North Carolina area. The ease of accessibility makes this a hugely popular cascade. How accessible you ask? This is one of those “roadside” waterfalls that is so stunning and photogenic that everyone should see this waterfall, especially since it resides along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. A mere five miles from the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, Looking Glass Falls can be viewed from both the top and the bottom of the falls.
Steps lead down to a couple platforms at the base of the falls, providing a wide variety of photo opportunities. The last time I visited Looking Glass Falls, there was a wedding taking place at the base of the falls. I can’t think of a better way to beat the summer heat than to stand in the mist of this beautiful cascade. Of course, some visitors simply climb over the barrier and swim at the base of the falls. Keep this in mind when planning a visit to Looking Glass Falls. My best recommendation, as is always the case, is to visit Looking Glass early in the day and on a weekday to avoid the huge crowds of tourists that populate Western North Carolina in the summer.
There are large rocks at the base of the falls that provide additional photographic opportunities but beware of the hidden dangers of walking around on slippery, wet rocks. As a local resident, I am still baffled by tourists who think they are invincible. Too many times I’ve heard the whirring of helicopter blades as the chopper passes over the house. When I hear the helicopter, especially in summer, I can bet someone has been climbing around a waterfall and has fallen, or worse, has died as a result.
Looking Glass Falls can be photographed in all four seasons with some pretty interesting results. I particularly like to visit this waterfall during winter when it tends to freeze along both sides. There are even times when I’ve seen the water moving under the frozen water!
There are several waterfall “combinations” I would recommend. I used to visit only a single waterfall in a day. Now, however, I tend to visit 2-3 falls in a single day. Looking Glass would be great to combine with Climbing Wall Falls and Sliding Rock Falls, all of which are roadside falls along Hwy 276.