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This trail delivered just what I was looking for as far as being a bit challenging but nothing crazy and the payoff at the top was amazing ! I went on a Sunday morning , on the way up it was only minimally busy, the rock itself was pretty crowded and on the way back down around 1pm was very heavily trafficked and SO MANY off leash dogs, which would have been fine as long as you don't have a dog reactive dog with you, as my friend did . I would not suggest bringing a dog unless it is extremely well trained and non dog reactive because it appears that off leash dogs on this trail is a big thing .

I would totally do this hike again but probably on a weekday or a colder day to avoid the crowd.

not horribly difficult. it's is almost completely uphill on the outward leg. lots of springs so the trail gets pretty wet. We did it in tennis shoes and had no issues. amazing view at the end.

One of the most beautiful views in this area!

This is a really nice 1/2 day hike. The payoff at the end with the view is really beautiful, especially in the fall. Definitely would suggest making that your lunch spot. I would rate this moderate not hard, at least when comparing it to some other hikes in the region such as table rock. That being said however, it is overall an upwards gradient just about the whole time, but the switchbacks in the first half are generally pretty smooth and gradual which is why I rate it more moderate (I saw young children making it to the top...albeit it took them extra time). Lots of dogs in the trail. It took us 1 hour 20 minutes to get up with one short water break, stayed at the view for about an hour, and then took 1 hour 10 minutes to come back down. Trail was pretty busy, but did go on a Saturday.

Hiked this with my 7 year old; took about 3 hours. We both loved it! Got a little nervous go be up so high at the summit with just the kiddo, dog and me; but a good opportunity to teach safety. It was beautiful, especially during leaf season. I would not rate this trail as hard; more moderate than anything. My son and I even trail ran the last mile.

Amazing view as everyone said. Took me 2hr 50 min out and back. I'll take it considering I'm a bit out of shape. lots of dogs and can be very muddy after rain.

hiking
15 days ago

We parked at the hatchery at 10 Sunday morning and by the time we returned, cars were lined up to find a space. Arrive early! The trail was a bit muddy in spots and my feet were covered by water on a couple water crossings, so wear waterproof shoes. We loved the trail. My Fitbit counted 89 flights of stairs, but there was not any intense section. It somehow seemed very easy. Absolutely stunning views at the top. Well worth seeing.

We had a great time making this a two day trip and camping. Only negative experience was since a recent rain a lot of the trail was swampy.. but that is my only complaint! had a great time.. even in 36 degree wet weather! thanks! I would have a map for a couple areas, we hit a couple different trails to see things.

My wife and I did this nice 5 mile loop, we started the day with this hike. For more challenging ascent, stay straight/left at fork (longer distance to viewpoint), going right is shorter and easier. The flat rock at the viewpoint is wide and accommodates sitting and having a snack or just taking in the view. We would recommend this before Looking Glass just down the road as that view is much better. We are in our 30s, hike is moderate if taking left at fork, easy if going right.

Oct 20 18: leaves at the summit view were 10-20% turned to their fall colors.

hiking
25 days ago

The hike is SO worth the view, especially in the fall with all the changing colors. I went on a Wednesday in October and the parking was full, but the trail wasn’t nearly as full of people as I thought it would be. The trees kept me shaded almost the entire way and it took me about 2-2.5 hours to do the entire thing. Highly recommended hike!

Great hike. Was challenging at points but nothing crazy, was able to hike the whole thing going up without stopping. Very narrow at points so you will have to move to the side if someone is coming. Parking gets tight but you can park on the street. The only place to go to the bathroom is at the visitors lodge fyi which is at the start of the park.

hiking
28 days ago

this Trail is listed as hard but I imagine it's because there's a gradual incline most of the hike. Periodically there are sharper climbs with quicker elevation and some Slippery Rock When Wet. this hike is it should be listed as heavy moderate. when you do reach the summit and you step out onto the looking rock it'll make every one of your steps worthwhile. The view is absolutely Majestic.

Gorgeous views from the top! Worth the climb.

We went on a Friday and the parking lot was full but most people stop at the lower falls. There was a lot of water on the trail so it was a little slippery at some points but the views were well worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is perfect for those who want to walk along a river and hear the rushing water. there were several small waterfalls and Cascades along the left side of the loop. this was my favorite part. many great primative camp sites and one very cold water hole. I will definitely return for more activities along this loop when I can

Tough but manageable 3-mile upward climb with an awesome view at the top. We are 51 and 62 in average shape and had no difficulty, but it did wear us out! It took about two hours to get to the top, where we stayed about 30 minutes, then another 90 minutes or so to get back down. Take lots of water. Don’t wear sandals as there are lots of tree roots and rocks to trip over. Hiking poles were useful.

Amazing!!! One of the best trails we done!

No one is kidding about the view, it's absolutely breath-taking. My fiancee and I chose this hike after seeing it across the valley from Black Balsam Knob. The hike itself starts out slow and gradually gets more difficult, after the gradual switchbacks it starts getting really rocky and the path becomes a tangle of roots, it's gets maybe a little more than a 30° incline at this point but right before you hit the top it suddenly has a downward slope. We went on a Saturday and it was pretty busy, there were lots of dogs including ours and dogs of various sizes. There were people of every age on the trail, it's not too difficult but can be a little hard on the knees. Watch out for the tree roots, they tripped me on the way down. Bring lots of water!

Just a heads up, someone had a Lost Dog notice posted on October 6, 2018. A Brittany Spaniel went missing, by the name of Jake. The number to call if you see him is 303.717.0291.

Just wanted to pass this on!

This was a great hike. Moderate to Hard as it says. It took us about 2 hours to get to the top, with a few stops to drink water and let our 7 yr dog have a break. It was about an hour and half back down. The hike up doesn’t have any views (maybe later in Fall or Winter), but the view at the top is spectacular. Would be an excellent place to bring some food for a picnic.

My only warning would be to watch what time you start this hike. The first time I did it, we started to late, and ended up hiking in pitch darkness. Watching people start the hike at 4pm in Autumn, made me think they would end up hiking in the dark as well. If you start late, just make sure to bring a flashlight or two.

hiking
1 month ago

It’s a tough climb.

Awesome hike. I went counterclockwise to the summit and the views were absolutely beautiful. There were a number of stream crossing which were not difficult and many had “bridges”. I definitely plan on doing this hike again later this fall to see the leaves change.

hiking
1 month ago

After walking past the fly fishermen, you’ll cross a wooden bridge 200 yards from the parking lot and then start walking past a half dozen pretty campsites along the river over the next half mile before the ascent begins. If you take the first right turn marked John Rock, you’ll ascend the easier counterclockwise route. If you prefer doing the harder altitudinal changes before reaching the rock face, then continue straight a while longer on the way up, and the turn at the second John Rock sign to make the steeper clockwise climb across the summit and ridge line (and past a few nice campsites up there) before reaching the Rock.

The view of the valley and other hills from the rock face is beautiful, and if you walk down to the right, you can sit comfortably on a broad rock shelf facing Looking Glass Rock across the valley.

I suspect that John (after whom the rock is named) was a yellow jacket because five or ten times many of his family members aggressively attacked several hikers to advertise their displeasure at the trespasses. Be careful!

hiking
1 month ago

The walk up primarily is a set of switchbacks that gradually rise across the face of the same forested slope: pretty and green, but the view doesn’t change for quite a while. When the view does change, though, it is simply breathtaking. I sat on a rock just on the outside of the main exit from the forest to have lunch and to hear people’s reactions as they emerged. Just as I had done, even having read the reviews, truly 100% vocalized some instant, quiet, and genuine, nearly spiritual, version of, “Oh, wow .”

Great hike. Gradual incline due to multitude of switchbacks. Moderately strenuous for a weekend hiker. Incredible panoramic view. Make sure to pack a lunch and plan to stay a while to enjoy the view.

Nice climb. My first goal-oriented hike. Consistent elevation rise.

on Looking Glass Rock Trail

hiking
1 month ago

As other reviewers have mentioned, the main highlight is reaching the top and getting the spectacular view of the mountains! I found it to be worth it for a day hike. There are tons of switchbacks but nothing too difficult. The trail was nice and well-maintained. Lots of shade as you are in tree cover 99% of the hike. Even though I did see what looked like a few places to camp not far from the top, I am not sure I would want to overnight camp there. Only saw a handful of people either way. Its a hike worth doing to see it for yourself!

Very clean trail, I love the hike going up. The summit is one of the the best I have seen.

This is a steep climb to a nice view of the southern Smokies! Did it Labor Day weekend when trees were green, but I bet the view is even better in the fall. I also bet it's an easier climb in the cooler weather. Could be worth packing a lunch to eat at the top!

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