John Rock Trail Loop

MODERATE 240 reviews
#11 of 198 trails in

John Rock Trail Loop is a 4.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Brevard, 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
muddy
rocky
3 days ago

hiking
muddy
6 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

Having taken the summer off, we were not prepared. This was my first time in this type of forest and it was different. I'll be back but, I prefer the more northern forests.

hiking
22 days ago

Great loop hike. Waterfall and amazing views. Did almost step on 3 copperheads on side trails near top, so keep a lookout.

hiking
27 days ago

Was a great hike and plenty of elevation change throughout. I love the portions that run alongside the stream. Very secluded with few people! Most of the trail is in the forest canopy. Suggest insect repellant, as there are plenty of bugs and some vegetation sharing the trail slightly. Large parking lot at the fish hatchery, I took Cat Gap loop up to John Rock trail, then on the way down took the Cat Gap Bypass. The John Rock trail wasn’t marked for around 1/2 mile, unless I missed it, but since it was the only trail available it didn’t worry me. There was a point on the way back when I didn’t know which direction to take and saw someone who had a map and he helped me. Because I didn’t think the signage was always clear, I’d say take pictures of the trail maps with you. I tracked myself between 5.5 and 5.7 miles total, so I think 4.9 is an underestimate of the distance.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this hike, but keep your guard up when crossing the creeks. There are snakes. The view at the slickrock is sublime.

hiking
bugs
muddy
1 month ago

Great trail. Took me about 3 hours with a 30 minute break on the rock at the top. Gorgeous views. Fun stream crossing and lots of meandering next to the river. Appears to be heavily trafficked with quite a few campsites. Was disappointed to see some trash on the trail but otherwise quite enjoyable.

hiking
over grown
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike. You can see all of the diversity we live amongst. We decided not to take our dogs based on other reviews, and I’m glad we didn’t because once you get on the rock face it’s kinda sketchy. One part of the loop is significantly easier, however we started the loop on the more strenuous side. A very pretty waterfall is unmarked but located off trail, the hike down it worth it! We will be back for the primitive camping!

Cat Gap O/B with John's Rock loop. continuing up from John's Rock overlook is definitely more strenuous then returning the same way. this hike has some very good elevation changes and is a very pleasant hike through the forest and streams.

hiking
2 months ago

the view from the rock face was amazing! trail was well maintained and not strenuous.

hiking
2 months ago

5/26 Hike Went past the Visitor Center and through the gate. This put us on an unpaved road. We took the trail to the right. This is Cat Gap. Stayed on the orang blazed trail until we reached the interestion of Cat Gap Loop (orange) and Cat Gap Loop bypass (yellow). Took the bypass until we reacheed the intersection (an “open” area) where the bypass (yellow) meets again with Cat Gap Loop (orange). There is a sign here that points to John Rock. Take the trail up and up and just keep going. It may feel wrong as the trail will strart a descent. However, John Rock soon appeara on the left.... you can’t miss it. We walked the rock and then picked up the trail again just on the other side of the rock. Simply followed the trail back down and ended up following the stream until we came to the backside of the large parking lot. Very shaded trail with some easy water crossings and a great view.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a fantastic hike! Absolutely amazing and a great pay off at the end! For starters, there is plenty of parking and the lot is huuuge! The trail is out the back of the lot, but you can also take the trail next to the hatchery center. The thing that’s great about this trail is the low to moderate foot traffic and abundant camping spots! You’ll take cats gap trail (orange blaze) then turn onto John Rock trail (yellow blaze) which takes you straight to the top. We went Memorial Day weekend on Saturday and only passed one couple on the way up! We got to the lot at 915 am. Spectacular view from the top! Took us 1.5 hours up (with plenty of stopping for pictures, observing, and finding secret spots), and 1 hour down. We stayed at the top for 1 hour for a lovely 4 hour morning excursion. Highly recommend this one! :)

hiking
2 months ago

It was a really nice trail with a beautiful outlook but was very empty and had a snake on the trail making the trip less enjoyable than it could have been, would still do it again though no doubt about it!

hiking
3 months ago

Overall a good hike with a pretty view. I almost wish I wouldn’t have done looking glass the day before because it made this seem less amazing than it really is. Plenty of parking in the parking lot and the hike starts at the back of the lot. Pretty flat in the beginning with lots of little creeks to cross (my 2 dogs managed fine crossing these). Gets more challenging towards the top but nothing too crazy.

hiking
bugs
rocky
3 months ago

Great wooded trail and it wore my old self out! Happy to complete it but I prob won’t do it again. Onto another trail!

hiking
3 months ago

It was a fantastic day and a great hike. the view from the top was spectacular. Although it was after a few days of rain the trail was very manageable. The best way to go is to do the loop counterclockwise as the incline is more gradual. Also, an easier way to come back down is to come down the same way.

backpacking
3 months ago

NOTE: backpacking is actually off of Cat Gap which you use to access JR. I just threw it in there since JR is the main attraction, not Cat Gap. This is a great trail for both backpackers and day hikers. It features several spacious backpacking areas within 30 seconds from the water supply (which happens to be a beautiful waterfall). There is also a secondary smaller stream running behind the sites that can be used for water. Trail is subject to some mud after rain, so you’d be better off going on a day(s) when the forecast has been and is dry. On the note of water, if you choose the backpacking area next to the waterfall (beautiful view) you want to be mindful of the mist that comes with this. Make sure you have appropriate supplies to cover all gear you don’t want to get wet. When I went, I chose the area on the opposite side of the waterfall. The far site all the way to the back was in a small clearing, which was perfect for stargazing. There is no man-made firewood available but there were plenty of fallen trees/branches that were reasonably dry and I was able to get a nice fire going. The view. The view, the view, the view. Wonderful. To get out to John Rock, you take a separate trail (which is a loop) until you come to another little cutoff. This cutoff is very obvious when you come to it, so EVEN IF you feel like you’re at the top and you missed the trail, just keep going. I promise you won’t miss it. Altogether, I would totally recommend this trail. One of my favorite backpacking areas!

hiking
muddy
over grown
4 months ago

Using the Cat Gap Trail to access Johns Rock, this trail finished at 4.8mi. A narrow path, not much of a view or interest til you get to the Johns Rock for the Looking Glaas view. It was ok.

4 months ago

Felt like it was straight uphill! The many stream crossings were cute and didn't really have to step in the water as rocks were placed sufficiently. Beginning at the hatchery, it was more uphill than I thought out would be. The views from John's Rock were magnificent! Well worth the elevation.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail. Little muddy and some steep inclines depending which direction you go. Would recommend. Allow 3-4 hours for moderately experienced hikers.

hiking
5 months ago

This is one of the most beautiful trails with a huge Rush at the end when you can sit up and look down from where you came from in the beginning! You definitely want to take a snack and know that it is Accurately a moderately hard hike.

hiking
muddy
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

One of my favorites! Really nice hike and better views / less crowded than looking glass. Watch for snakes in the summer - lots of copperheads and some timber rattlers

hiking
6 months ago

Great, moderate hike with an epic view of Pisgah Forest.

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