Pisgah National Forest
One of the first weekends in Asheville, two other interns and I explored Pisgah for the first time. Filled with waterfalls, hikes, and lookouts, it’s the perfect place to spend a day exploring!
My first impression of the forest was very positive, because the visitor’s center was so well maintained and the staff was incredibly helpful and friendly. Pisgah is home of the first school of forestry in the US, and still offers countless options for outdoor recreation.
Our first of two stops was hiking John Rock. Despite following the detailed instructions a staff member at the visitor’s center gave us, we still somehow managed to get lost. However, after a few extra steps we were back on track and happily hiking to the lookout. This is a great hike because there are a few separate loop trails that make the hike shorter or longer, we chose the roughly 4 mile hike. Although, because we got lost it actually was 6 miles… There are lots of options for whichever you choose!
Visitor’s Center in Pisgah National Forest
Getting a map of the area is helpful, however there are also trail markers to help guide you. Parking at the fish hatchery (official name is Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education) is the best place, although often times it is pretty crowded. The trail is what I would call intermediate, mostly because the second half is decently uphill with steps. I would say it is a moderate trail for people who hike decently often. When you make it to the top of the mountain, follow a trail shoot out to the big rock (John Rock) and find the place where you can get the best view. From there, you can get a view of the fish hatchery below, as well as Looking Glass Rock in the distance.
Yoga on John Rock!
View off john Rock
Looking Glass Falls
Just a short drive away, we visited Looking Glass Falls, a waterfall just off the side of the road. There is parking along the area, and you can walk down and swim or just sit by the waterfall. It was a little too cold and rainy to go for a swim, but the area was beautiful and still quite busy! After a long hike, it was a nice second checkpoint before heading home. I highly recommend this stop for people of all ages and fitness levels, well worth the trip!
Looking Glass Falls