Rock climbing and adventure in winter

Rock Climbing Guide – Brevard NC and Pisgah National Forest

Whether you are new to climbing or you’ve been climbing all your life, there are several great rock climbing choices around Brevard, NC. Transylvania County and the surrounding areas are well known for outdoor adventures throughout the forest and mountains, including multiple spots for rock climbing and bouldering.

With several degress of difficulty found throughout the area, even beginners can enjoy climbing in Western North Carolina. Here’s a look at some of the top rock climbing and bouldering spots you will find near Brevard, NC, Pisgah National Forest, and Pilot Cove.

Brevard NC Rock Climbing

Looking Glass Rock

Found in the Pisgah National Forest in the Davidson River area, this excellent climbing crag includes a very large exposed granite dome with multiple routes and pitch lengths to choose from. It’s a great climb for all skill levels and even offers an excellent spot for a hike to the top for sweeping views of the National Forest.

Offering different levels of difficulty, climbing a route on Looking Glass Rock can take either an hour or an entire day to complete. Looking Glass Rock is about 15 minutes from Downtown Brevard and the crag offers the most well-known multi-pitch routes for climbers in the area.

One of the classic routes on Looking Glass Rock is Odyssey. It’s known for more gentle pitches and a long crack that can be used to navigate up the route. The Nose is another notable route on Looking Glass Rock of moderate difficulty. This heavily trafficked route is dry most of the year. However, the fall and winter are the best seasons for climbing.

Laurel Knob

Laurel Knob is located around 40 minutes from Downtown Brevard near Cashiers, NC.  Owned by the Carolina Climbers Coalition, Laurel Knob is renowned by climbers throughout the Southeast. It even holds the designation of being one of the tallest crags in the Eastern US!

Laurel Knob is ideal for climbers seeking a remote area with plenty of advanced climbing. The crag contains many difficult multi-pitch climbs on its open face. Climbers will want to ensure a full day to climb here, as the access trail can take hours to navigate.

Looking Glass Rock

Cedar Rock

Cedar Rock is another notable crag in Pisgah National Forest, offering some of the best climbing in the region. Similar to Looking Glass Rock, this mountain offers many climbing routes for different skill levels. The main cliff on Cedar Rock faces west, making a great option on warmer winter afternoons or cooler summer mornings. There are other routes on both the north and south sides of Cedar Rock. The trailhead for this climbing area is about 20 minutes from Downtown Brevard.

Whiteside Mountain

Whiteside Mountain is one of the most difficult rock walls in the Eastern US. This imposing crag is known for its exposure, variable weather, and multitude of climbing route options. Most routes are longer and require a strong sense of commitment from experienced climbers. Whiteside Mountain is located near Cashiers, about an hour drive from Brevard, NC and Pilot Cove. The climbing areas are accessed from a 2 mile or less hike from the parking area.

Rumbling Bald & Chimney Rock State Park

Those looking to climb in a beautiful setting will enjoy the climbing options at Rumbling Bald & Chimney Rock State Park. Rumbling Bald offers a great place for climbing in the winter with multi-pitch and single pitch options. It’s great for both beginners and advanced climbers.

Chimney Rock is nearby and is one of the most popular landmarks in the entire state. It’s a great choice for beginners and advanced climbers with easy cracks and multi-pitch climbs with a higher degree of difficulty. Here you can enjoy drive-up climbing, which is rather rare for the area! Both climbing areas are located about an hour from Brevard, NC and Pilot Cove.

Table Rock

If you’re looking to climb the tallest crag in the Upstate South Carolina area, Table Rock is the place to go. It features some of the best climbing options in the region with incredible granite. You will need to endure an uphill hike to get there, but the views are worth it overlooking the South Carolina Piedmont.

The main cliff of Table Rock faces south to southeast and offers an excellent winter climbing option. However, after a rain storm, you may want to avoid the area. This is one of the most difficult climbs in the region, so be sure you’re a highly skilled climber before attempting to climb Table Rock.

Big Rock

Found close to Pickens, South Carolina, Big Rock is one of the few large cliffs that are open year-round. It’s a great spot to climb in any season with about 40 different routes and many bouldering options. The variety of grades and climbing routes makes it a good choice for all skill levels.

Photo by Joe Virtanen

Photo by Joe Virtanen


If you’re looking to get out and enjoy some great rock climbing in the greater Brevard area close to Pilot Cove, there are several great options to choose from. The Pisgah National Forest offers many climbing options very close to the downtown area. However, you can also venture out further for more challenging and unique climbing choices. In short, Brevard, NC and the surrounding areas offer a prime vacation option for climbers of all skill levels!

As for accommodations, Pilot Cove offers the perfect basecamp for your climbing adventures and relaxation. Featuring luxury modern cabins directly bordering Pisgah National Forest, no other accommodations get you closer to the action. There’s even plenty of space to hang and store your gear! More info can be found on our lodging page, also more info on local climbing guides can be found on our local resources page.