Looking Glass Loop Overnighter
39 Mi.(63 KM)
% Rideable (time)
The Looking Glass Loop Overnighter was designed to leave downtown Brevard (or our house) and circumnavigate Looking Glass Rock, a massive pluton monolith named after the reflective qualities of its granite face. Looking Glass rises from the valley floor to an elevation of almost 4,000 feet (1,200 m) and can be seen from multiple locations throughout Pisgah National Forest. The loop uses a choice mix of gravel, doubletrack fire roads, and some of Pisgah’s easier singletrack to make a great loop that can easily be done as a sub-24 hour overnighter.
We’ve ridden this route multiple times—once in the fall, once this winter, and a couple times as a long day ride. There are several areas where Looking Glass is viewable on the route in the late fall, winter, and early spring. However, once the leaves are in full growth, there’s only one spot you can get a glimpse of the rock. Even so, there’s plenty of other natural beauty along the way, including four of the area’s most impressive waterfalls.
Difficulty: Generally speaking, this is a beginner-to-intermediate friendly route. There are a few healthy climbs, but nothing overly steep or technical. The route gets a 2/10 in the technical difficulty standpoint, a 1/10 for resupply, and a 4/10 for the physical challenge. If it weren’t for the steady climbs, this route would likely be rated 3/10, overall. See “Must Know” section for details about what type of bike works best.
- Disappearing into the Pisgah National Forest
- Views of Looking Glass Rock throughout the route (especially once the leaves drop!)
- Riding some of Pisgah’s more remote doubletrack on Seniard Ridge
- Several beautiful waterfalls, including Discovery Falls, Log Hollow Falls, and Daniel Ridge Falls
- A fast and fun descent back into Brevard via the purpose-built Bracken Mountain Preserve singletrack trails
- Grabbing a pre- or post-ride meal or brew in downtown Brevard
- This route is rideable all year long, but bring the right clothing in the winter.
- The Looking Glass Loop Overnighter was designed to be ridden with nearly any bike. I’ve ridden it on a drop-bar bike with 2.1″ tires, as well as a mountain bike. There are a couple of rocky bits and stream crossings, and some rooted sections on the Cove Creek Trail, but overall it’s doable on about any bike with tires bigger than 42mm. That said, you’ll likely be walking or struggling on a gravel bike in two or three locations.
- In the mid-to-late summer months, Seniard Ridge can get thorny and overgrown; be prepared for a little bushwhacking.
- There are a couple of small stream crossings on Seniard, but there are usually rocks to hop so you don’t get wet. That could change with a lot of rain, however.
- For views of Looking Glass Rock, the route is best ridden from late fall to early spring while the leaves are down.
- This overnighter was designed to camp near Discovery Falls or Upper Log Hollow Falls around mile 16. That’s about a 2-3 hour ride, or longer, depending on your speed and fitness.
- There are a few campsite options. There’s a roadside campsite on the bend just after Upper Log Hollow Falls—you can’t miss it.
- There are also several established campsites where marked between the two falls. There’s a faint trail going off to the left of the road just above these sites. Once down there, there’s a large site with a fire ring, or off to the left, a smaller site next to the stream.
- There is plenty of water along the route.
- Bring a filter, or plan ahead. There’s a piped spring where marked above Bennett Gap.
- Food options are plentiful in Brevard. We recommend Magpie Meat and Three. Or Oskar Blues has a food truck.
- In addition, there are a few more options downtown, including bakeries, pizza, and a couple of Mexican restaurants.