Cat Gap Loop Trail

MODERATE 186 reviews

Cat Gap Loop Trail is a 4.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Brevard, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
4.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
784 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

14 days ago

this trail was suggested by the park ranger as one of her favorite. I would certainly agree. We went counterclockwise. The trail has a wide variety of habitats. These included woodland forest, evergreen forest, laurel and rhododendron coves, blueberry fields, stream crossings and waterfalls. I would certainly suggest taking the John Rock Trail and having lunch on the rock face with the beautiful views. once complete are short stroll through the hatchery and exhibit area completed a very enjoyable hike.

hiking
20 days ago

Nice trail with good variety from streams, forests, nice long range views. We added the John Rock loop which made it more challenging (for a 60+ yo) but we kept a good pace of about 2.5. I agree with the comments below about too few blazes and some spots we pulled the map out to confirm.
We will do it again.

hiking
1 month ago

As of April 21, the trilium is out in great numbers. Solomon seal should start blooming in the next day or two. Iris, wild geranium, wild yam are all out in abundance. Do the trail starting at the left trailhead, away from the fish hatchery, going clockwise. On the downhill stretch, you definitely need to pay attention to avoid losing the trail.

1 month ago

really fun trail, our 6 year old had a pretty easy time. kid friendly!

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail! I would strongly recommend to go clockwise and to do the John Rock side trail. The best views come from here.

1 month ago

I love this trail. It has lots of pretty streams with little bridges over them. Those were slightly challenging for our dogs, but definitely doable. There are clean bathrooms at the entrance. The forest is beautiful and this trail doesn’t seem as crowded as some others in the area. The view at the top was pretty.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike, wish there were more blazes, but luckily I had a map! John Rock has a really cool overlook should touch follow that trail!

hiking
2 months ago

loved this trail! we had a great time despite it being overcast and rainy. It's definitely a moderate hike, we went uphill for 2 miles. Not crazy steep but we were still huffing by the end.

hiking
2 months ago

Very good hike, trail was muddy in spots but otherwise well kept. Crossed over a lot of water but didn’t see any waterfalls.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this trail on a cool early March afternoon. The temp peaked at 42. Even thought there was lots of rain recently, the trail was mostly dry, views were excellent (through the trees), and we were sheltered from the early March winds. There's a bit of elevation change, slow and steady, nothing crazy. Our dogs had a great time too.

2 months ago

Nice hike but the trail needs more blazes.

hiking
2 months ago

You have to navigate a few creek crossings. Some a little more sketchy than others. The trail does have a few points where you wonder which way to go but my son (5) and I didn't have too much trouble. There are two places that comes to mind. One being towards the beginning and one later on when it opens up into a cleared out area with no undergrowth. There are plenty of places to camp and, for the most part, only a few other hikers. Go early because the parking lot was ridiculous when we left at about 1:30. There are other trails that are accessed from the parking lot.

2 months ago

Decent hike. It had been raining earlier that day, but the trail wasn’t muddy. A little swampy in some parts but not very muddy because the ground was somewhat sandy. Part of the trail goes along a creek and there was a few spots where you cross it. Somehow miraculously made it across without getting my socks wet. I didn’t see the big waterfall that is the main picture for this trail so I guess you have to take one of the side trails to get to it. Will have to go back again when I have more time to wander around and find it.

hiking
3 months ago

Good trail, tough in a few spots. Didn't see the view points that the pictures showed, so I was a little disappointed with that. otherwise it was a great workout!

hiking
3 months ago

pretty views, good day hike, few challenging areas, trail runs next to water for a good bit

4 months ago

start at the hatchery! not the river.. maybe im out of shape but went uphill most of the hike until the john rock intersection, kicked my tail. very very muddy due to recent snow melt. nice hike on the way down toward the hatchery again just not on a wet day, lots of nice streams.

hiking
7 months ago

Was a great walk through the woods! Got to see some fall color on the backside of the mountain, pass the Art Loeb trail blaze. Waterfall was a little disappointing because you really couldn’t see it from the trail with the leaves on the trees.

7 months ago

Nice hike, a bit disappointed with the fall colors and water fall.

hiking
7 months ago

This is a great trail. if you cut off to the John Rock Trail about a mile or so in, you hike up a good ways onto John Rock and get an amazing view of Pilot Mountain.

7 months ago

New at Hiking. And I love them all, but this one is great. A good work out, and the beauty of a waterfall. My 2 favorite things! (I added 3280 trail at about the half way point to get more altitude. )

hiking
9 months ago

We did this hike clockwise, starting on the left side of the parking lot (if looking into the woods). The trail starts along the Davidson and is relatively flat to begin with. Midway through the hike is pretty uphill. On the descent you can start to see various falls and little water pools. To see these you must take the little side trails off the main trail to the right. These occur with roughly 1.5 miles - 1 mile left in the hike. Therefore if you want a short hike to the falls start at the entrance on the right hand side of the parking lot (if looking into the woods) and take the side trails on your left about 1-1.5miles in.

hiking
10 months ago

Seemed like a nice alternative after a lengthy stretch of the AP. Side trip to John Rock was a good climb but really muddy. We also ran into a black bear near the top, so the trip was truncated without the views (or bodily harm, thank goodness). A torrential downpour ended the Cat Loop portion but that's the beauty of getting away from it all -- although there were a few more people around than anticipated. Maybe next time it'll get 5 stars.

backpacking
10 months ago

came up with 2 friends, one of which had previously hiked the trail last year, for 2 nights and 2 days. we came on the easy side (parking lot) the first night (11pm and raining) and hiked in roughly a mile to set up camp for the night. the folllowing morning we packed our gear and came back down to refill water before heading up the harder side next to the fish hatchery. we posted camp at the picklesimer fields around noon and ate lunch. hike to John's Rock was good and challenging; we were able to complete the hike with various breaks and a 30 minute stop at the top in about 4 hours. we made it back to the field around 5 and made dinner. this place turned out to be a nice place to find with a good challenging hike that's not too long with an incredible view that is very rewarding. we plan on returning soon and possibly adding the butter gap trail to the trip

hiking
10 months ago

a strong 3 1/2 stars. I wish we knew John rock trail going to further up and offering views. a few steep areas but a fairly easy and beautiful day hike.

hiking
10 months ago

I would do this trail earlier in the spring or in the fall. Today it is humid and hot. I loved the trail but the kids I had with me, aged 11, 10, and 7, were not that impressed . It took us 3.5 hours with a lunch stop at the junction with the John Rock trail. If I had researched more, I would have taken half the cat gap loop, the cat loop bypass, and the John Rock trail. I think it would have been a little harder /longer but would have had a good payoff in the views...

10 months ago

Great hike. Not too busy. Definitely a moderate climb, but the descent down wasn't bad. We went clockwise.

Couldn't find the waterfalls though...

hiking
10 months ago

love feeling submerged in the forest! the trail has some good hills and follows a beautiful river!

hiking
11 months ago

If you're not used to hiking or have achy knees there may be some challenging sections but nothing that cause true concern. We did the Cat Gap Loop along with the John Rock trail. This combo offers amazing views (you can see Looking Glass and surrounding horizon) but also has fun crossings and a couple of smaller waterfalls. We took lunch and ate at the lookout. The trout hatchery is also fun for the kiddos. My nine year old completed this hike.

11 months ago

I must have missed the waterfall climbing up to John Rock, but this is a fun, easy trail. I would imagine it gets pretty busy in the summer though, so plan accordingly. Hiking up to John rock is easy, coming down was a little tough on the knees. John rock opens up to a great view of Looking Glass Rock.

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail with cool bridges and river obstacles. Well maintained besides some expected mud. We hiked it backwards and it was a beast to get up to John's rock. More "fit" hikers won't have a problem. Based on my experience I don't think anyone would really not be able to complete it. My GF and I had an excellent hike. Do John's rock. So awesome.

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