With a vast difficulty range that accommodates all skill levels and over two dozen varied climbs, Cedar Rock is a popular yet typically uncrowded climbing spot. The domeâ€™s main wall features classic climbs like Cedar Pie and Toads R Us, requiring delicate face climbing, but numerous smaller climbs abound in the vicinity. At about 1,000 feet higher in elevation than Looking Glass Rock, air temperatures are typically cooler, and the views are stunning.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-26 E to Exit 40. Turn right on NC 280 towards Brevard for 16 miles to Hwy 276. Turn right on Hwy 276 N into the Pisgah NF. Go 5.3 miles to left at the State Fish Hatchery sign. Continue straight on the gravel road past the road to Looking Glass Rock parking area for about three miles. Turn left onto Gloucester Gap Road and head 2.2 miles to the parking area on your left.
In 2008, the state parks system acquired a tract of land for Chimney Rock State Park that assures public access to this climbing wonderland. The mountainâ€™s cliffs (known as Cereal Buttress and Hanging Chains) are known for their ultra-classic crack climbing. The park is also home to world-class bouldering opportunities, attractive to both skilled free climbers and beginners seeking small climbs that donâ€™t require abundant technical equipment.
Directions from Asheville: Take 1-26 E to Exit 36. Take a left onto NC 108 towards Columbus/Chimney Rock/Lake Lure and continue 4 miles. Take left onto NC 9 and continue 10 miles. You will see Lake Lure in front of you. Turn left onto Hwy 64/74/9 and go 4 miles. After the beach and marina on your right, take a right onto Boys Camp Rd. Continue 1.5 miles to the top of a ridge, and look for a newly graveled (likely unmarked) road on your left. Parking is just down this road.
The .7 mile hike to the 21 Chimneys atop Linville Gorge is among the most beautiful vistas in North Carolina, amidst one of the most remote areas in the Blue Ridge. The steep climbs are a great area to set up top ropes, with slightly overhanging big pockets to climb. The ascents are full of cracks and features and with the “Grand Canyon of the East” as your backdrop, the view over your shoulder is breathtaking.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-40 E 50 miles to Exit 103 (Morganton). Turn left onto US 64 N, go 2 miles to left onto NC 181. Follow 30 minutes, past the town of Table Rock, deep into the National Forest. Turn left at the Table Rock Picnic Area (Rose Mtn. Rd.) and follow 13 miles to the access point.
Perhaps the quintessential southeastern US climbing spot, Looking Glass Rock features enough routes to occupy many a full day of adventure. Steeped in history and set in the most beautiful part of the Pisgah NF, the massive, white granite dome includes climbs of all varieties and grades, providing challenges for first-time novices and experienced veterans alike.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-26 E to Exit 40. Turn right on NC 280 towards Brevard for 16 miles to Hwy 276. Turn right on Hwy 276 N into the Pisgah NF. Go 5.3 miles to left at the State Fish Hatchery sign. Continue straight on the gravel road to the fork, then bear right 1.2 miles. The first parking area is for the South Face, the second for the Nose Area, and the third for the North Face.
When conditions are right, aspiring ice climbers will find some of the lower 48’s best ice in western NC. From top-roping short pitches to multi-pitch adventures, Whitesides Mountain offers a full, world-class package. For smaller climbs, head out along the Blue Ridge Parkway or check out the Sam Knob region of the Pisgah NF along Hwy 215 for icy waterfalls.
Directions from Asheville: (To Whitesides) Take I-26 S to exit 40. Follow NC 280 to Hwy 276/64. Continue 35 miles, then stay on Hwy 64 after Lake Toxaway. Continue 13 miles to Cashiers. Continue 4.6 miles on Hwy 64 to left at the sign for Whitesides Mountain Rd. Take this road to the parking area.