John Rock Trail Loop is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Ducktown, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,082 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
22 days ago

Awesome hike. I went counterclockwise to the summit and the views were absolutely beautiful. There were a number of stream crossing which were not difficult and many had “bridges”. I definitely plan on doing this hike again later this fall to see the leaves change.

hiking
23 days ago

After walking past the fly fishermen, you’ll cross a wooden bridge 200 yards from the parking lot and then start walking past a half dozen pretty campsites along the river over the next half mile before the ascent begins. If you take the first right turn marked John Rock, you’ll ascend the easier counterclockwise route. If you prefer doing the harder altitudinal changes before reaching the rock face, then continue straight a while longer on the way up, and the turn at the second John Rock sign to make the steeper clockwise climb across the summit and ridge line (and past a few nice campsites up there) before reaching the Rock.

The view of the valley and other hills from the rock face is beautiful, and if you walk down to the right, you can sit comfortably on a broad rock shelf facing Looking Glass Rock across the valley.

I suspect that John (after whom the rock is named) was a yellow jacket because five or ten times many of his family members aggressively attacked several hikers to advertise their displeasure at the trespasses. Be careful!

hiking
1 month ago

I love this hike. A few spots I'd rate as difficult due to the incline and rocks and roots on the trail but the rock view is to die for. I incorporated the Cat Gap Loop trail into this hike and it was excellent. Nice pleasant wooded trail with creeks throughout. I have done it 3 times and will continue. I look forward to the fall when the views of the mountain and valley with the fall colors will be outstanding.

hiking
1 month ago

Good variety trails. Great to park at fish hatchery with services and restrooms. Great views at top. Saw lots of late summer wildflowers and brook trout I the stream.

2 months ago

Awesome trail and a great alternative to Looking Glass. The traffic is lighter and the views more expansive. Most of the trail is through the woods, with moderate incline throughout. I liked going the counterclockwise direction so you can ‘summit’ at the lookout after a longer hike then finish up rather quickly.

2 months ago

I love this trail! I used to hike it as a kid and remember enjoying all of the water areas to play in along the way up the mountain. It's definitely a workout, but such an incredible view at the top. So worth it!!

backpacking
2 months ago

When you enter the Fish Hatchery park immediately to your left in the large parking lot. The trailhead begins there to the far left if you want to do Cat Gap Loop Trail clock-wise. The Trail is very narrow in the beginning but opens up somewhat. Lots of roots and rocks, streams and mud so this is definitely a Moderate Trail. Blaze signage is sorely lacking and I only saw it for the first few trees at the beginning then nothing! Eventually you will reach the right branch to John Rock Loop which is pretty darned steep and long but like everyone else says the view is worth it. The pics you take will not even come close to looking like the real thing. It’s a 10/10 awesomeness. It took us about 90 mins to get to the top and 60 back - we retraced our path as we didn’t have enough energy to complete the entire Cat Gap Loop this time around.

hiking
2 months ago

Do the loop Clockwise for sure. This is an aerobic hike. John's rock view is impressive, but easy to miss the turn off for it. Trail can be muddy and challenging when it rains. Best time to do it is like others have stated in the fall. Some real nice camping spots along the way.

3 months ago

I thought this hike was pretty hard. Lots of steep incline but wow so beautiful!!!! You really are IN the mountains with this view. Pretty surreal. Great workout’

3 months ago

D

hiking
3 months ago

Yeah, per my wife’s Apple Watch, it was far more than 4.9 miles, but we also did a complete loop of the mountain. Just under an hour up and about 90 minutes down. Beautiful views to rest and refuel atop the face. My only complaint is my meteorological skills need to be refined, as before we left the face I stated we had several hours before storms moved in...well, about 60 minutes of the hike down were in pouring rain. But we had a blast and a great hike and wouldn’t trade it for anything!

4 months ago

Awesome hike loved it

hiking
4 months ago

First, let’s not kid ourselves the hike was 7 miles. Garmin agreed. Beautiful hike. Views at the bald are amazing. Worth the price of admission. The elevation is much more gradual going counterclockwise. The western side of the trail loop is much more technical and is subject to being washed out. Overall, this was a very enjoyable hike for myself, wife, and dog.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice trail but it can be pretty crowded. Watch out for snakes all over the rock face.

5 months ago

Best overlook is off a sidetrail shortly before you get to the peak if you are going counterclockwise! Will look like a small granite rock face but it's a huge area to sit and enjoy the view.

hiking
5 months ago

A moderate hike with lots of people and great views. Be sure to take the side trail towards the end to check out the waterfall !

hiking
5 months ago

Great view Looking over at Looking Glass Rock.

hiking
6 months ago

MODERATE - not sure this should be rated as easy. The hill climb is good - not the worst - but a good workout. The view at the top is totally worth it. I started at the far end of the lot and went in that way - up the first John Rock summit trail and down the second and instead of heading back the same way took the Cat Gap Bypass trail which was awesome past some great waterfalls etc. this adds to the hike - about 1.6 additional miles if you have time do it.

hiking
6 months ago

It’s an uphill battle most of the way through relatively heavily wooded area, but the end result is worth the wait. Some of the best views of the Blue Ridge in the Hendersonville area. Highly recommend.

7 months ago

Great trail! But yes, whomever rated it ‘easy’ must have been smokin dope. lol Definitely Moderate.

hiking
7 months ago

Camped in cat gap trail and connected to John rock during the day trip, it was gorgeous! mostly uphill the whole last two miles so I'd rate it moderate, but so worth it!

7 months ago

Loved this trail. We did cat gap to johns rock. We wandered off a little bit to see the waterfalls we heard and it was beautiful. There were creeks to cross over and great view at the end. This is one of my favorites. I do think this should be labeled as moderate instead of east.

7 months ago

Took the Cat Gap Trail to the top then the John Rock Trail from there back down. The trails are definitely moderate in difficulty and the view of Looking Glass Rock was awesome as well as a few other views if you take some of the short side paths. I will be doing this one again for sure.

hiking
7 months ago

More on the moderate side of difficulty. The trail could use more signage. You just can't walk up to the trail. You have to use the Cat Gap Loop to access it. There is one section that could be labeled difficult but it is only a short distance. The view is really great from the rock.

8 months ago

Hiked this a few days after it snowed. The rock was covered in some places with ice and snow. There were places to climb down safely to get a better view. Great views of Looking glass rock and the parkway.

hiking
8 months ago

Great trail but the signage is terrible and John Rock trail loop actually starts as the Cat Gap loop trail. Also, I would rate it moderate instead of easy. Great views!

9 months ago

Awesome scenic trail, would definitely rate it as moderate, the incline doesn’t last too long, but it’s pretty steep. Also, pleaseeeee be careful of ice on the mountain when you go to see the view! A lot of little creeks to cross over so be prepared to get a little wet.

hiking
10 months ago

This is one of my favorite ‘everyday’ hikes. I wouldn’t necessarily rate it as “Easy” - with over 1000’ elevation in a relatively short period of time, this hike has some steep climbs over tree roots and rocks. While it easy to navigate, I would say this hike is more moderate (to easy). It starts gentle as it meanders through forest floor, and then it starts a slow climb. As it levels out, it crosses streams on bridges and rocks and then it starts to climb again - this time steady and steep. The last climb right near the top takes you over rocks and roots until you begin the ‘descent’ before the big “reveal” - or the view!
There are two small openings to the view point - take the second one as it is easier to navigate! The rest of the loop winds gently down hill back to the parking lot.

hiking
Saturday, September 23, 2017

This trail offers camping at the base and near the top. If you follow the John Rock Trail blaze, there are some intensely steep climbs that elevate you several hundred feet in a matter of a half mile. Once an the top, you will get a nice view of Looking Glass Rock.

hiking
Saturday, September 16, 2017

Beautiful hike. Lots of roots and a pretty good climb. May be a little bit beyond easy for those not used to a climb. Once you get to the top it's all worth it.

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