Great hike with beautiful views at the top. We took the John Rock trail off the Cat Gap trail and the views were amazing!! It took us about 3 hours with a toddler and we stopped for lunch at the big rock. Lots of creeks and streams to cross...a little muddy in some areas. We saw lots of dogs. Trail is pretty well groomed. Well worth it!!
We entered Cat Gap Loop by crossing the big bridge just to the left and behind the building that houses the Wildlife Education and Fish Hatchery. After crossing the bridge you will turn right onto Cat Gap Loop(orange blaze) .In otherwise we hiked counter-clockwise. The first 2 miles of the trail is in excellent condition. It is mostly a steady uphill pull.. We took the bypass instead of the longer outer loop.At the end of the bypass (yellow blaze), you meet back up with Cat Gap Loop and you can turn left here to ascend up to John's Rock. We stayed straight ahead continuing on Cat Gap Loop. This is where the trail really deteriorates, it is straight down hill for about 1.7 miles! It is rocky, stumpy, and not easily hiked..use caution! You will meet up with the John Rock trail again and shortly it will pretty much flatten back out and the trail improves again. You will end up coming out beside the Davidson River and then the parking lot back at the Wildlife Education and Fish Hatchery Center. I am only giving this hike 3 stars because we did not go up to John's Rock. If we had hiked up to John's Rock I am sure we would rate it at least 4 stars maybe more. Our hike was a little over 4 miles and it took us 3 hours (including breaks)