Looking Glass Falls in March 2009
Looking Glass Falls just so happens to be one of my favorite waterfalls in North Carolina, though there are a number of other equally impressive falls in the state. Looking Glass Falls is found in Pisgah National Forest in the waterfall-infested Transylvania County. The first plus is that is very easy to visit, being found right off of US-276. The drive to the falls is amazingly beautiful, even in the time just before spring.
Once you get to the falls, you have two options. The first option is to view the falls without much effort. It is disability accessible when not going to the base. Even from this viewpoint, it’s impressive. If you have the option of heading down the base, you definitely should. From here, you can get some great shots of the falls. The rock hanging to the upper right of the falls is uniquely interesting, and the shadows that form on the falls make this a gem.
- From Brevard, drive north on US-276.
- After about 5.5 miles you’ll pass the pullout/parking for Looking Glass Falls.
- Pull off on the right, park, and head to the falls.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: negligible (essentially roadside)
Where in the World is Looking Glass Falls?
As I’m starting the hike along the trail to Raven Cliff Falls, I meet a couple that had lived in Michigan, but now lives in South Carolina. I tell them I’m visiting for a few days, and they inform me that Raven Cliff Falls is one of the most visited falls in the area. At the time, I thought, “Cool. I hope that means Raven Cliff Falls is impressive.” Well, after arriving at the viewpoint for the falls, I would have to wonder why anybody would want to put the amount of time and effort needed to view the falls.
It probably didn’t start off very well when I couldn’t even find a parking spot. Finally, after wandering around in the rental car, I found that there was addition parking north of the state park parking area. It is graciously provided by the owner of an inn. This means I have to add a small but additional amount to the hike. From the get go, you can tell the hike will be interesting, especially on the return. It’s moderately steep on the way down. While there is a trail, there are points where the trail clearly devolves into “sliding” over logs to reconnect back to the trail. It was ok on the way down, but even more interesting on the way back.
Now it’s not a LONG hike, about 4 miles round trip, but it is consistently up-and-down going. I definitely felt worn out after this hike, and I honestly could not wait for it to end. The hike to the falls might be more worthwhile if the view was subsequently worthwhile…but it’s just not! You are at least a 1/4 of a mile from the falls, and even though it’s over 400′ tall, it disappears in the background. A 55-300 mm lens is an absolute MUST, which I did not own at the time. My 18-55 lens makes the waterfall look puny, even after editing. Oh well…To each their own.
- Head north on US-276 past Caesars Head State Park for about a mile to the parking area leading to the falls. If parking is not available there, head a little further north to the sign indicating additional parking.
- From the trail head, essentially follow the signs. At first, it doesn’t seem clear, but it’s really hard to miss. The hike feels very long.
Accessibility: 2/10 (difficult)
Length of Hike: 4.4 miles round-trip
Raven Cliff Falls in March 2009
Where in the World is Raven Cliff Falls?
Should I suggest visiting Batson Creek and Connestee Creek Falls? I don’t know. On the one hand, the falls are right off of US-276 and it is very easy to get to the “viewpoint.” On the other hand, the view is rather disappointing. I get the sense that there may be a better viewpoint somewhere else, but I’m not totally sure.
The current viewpoint blocks off most of the view of Connestee Falls. Looking on the internet, I’ve seen pictures of the falls, but I’m not sure how they got to view them. It seemed pretty blocked off to me. If you look in the picture, you can see stairs that lead down next to Batson Creek Falls, but I think those are blocked from use as they look pretty slippery and just abruptly end! It seems that a boardwalk was built after I visited, but still doesn’t allow for great viewing. From what I understand, the best views are to be had for those that are in the housing development in the area.
- The park, if it is open, is found off US-276 south of Brevard, about 6 miles south of the city.
- If you are driving south, the falls are on your right side at the Top of the Falls Realty center (which may be named something else now).
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: negligible
Batson Creek/Connestee Falls in March 2009
Where in the World are Batson Creek/Connestee Falls?