Explore the most popular trails near Ducktown with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Ducktown, North Carolina Map
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I like taking out of town company here, especially if they aren’t seasoned hikers. It’s got a nice mix of a leisurely, level hike along a stream in a beautiful forest, with some moderately steep hills with a nice payoff of a beautiful view of Looking Glass Rock. It can be an out and back or turned into a loop, see All Trails Map. Before or after the hike it’s nice to walk through the fish hatchery, visit Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock.
If heading back to Asheville taking 276 to the parkway is the way to go. You can take the parkway all the way to Asheville (Check for closures in the colder months), but I like to take 276 to Rt 40 and enjoy it’s windy curves with a canopy above.

One of the most beautiful views in this area!

hiking
1 month ago

We parked at the hatchery at 10 Sunday morning and by the time we returned, cars were lined up to find a space. Arrive early! The trail was a bit muddy in spots and my feet were covered by water on a couple water crossings, so wear waterproof shoes. We loved the trail. My Fitbit counted 89 flights of stairs, but there was not any intense section. It somehow seemed very easy. Absolutely stunning views at the top. Well worth seeing.

My wife and I did this nice 5 mile loop, we started the day with this hike. For more challenging ascent, stay straight/left at fork (longer distance to viewpoint), going right is shorter and easier. The flat rock at the viewpoint is wide and accommodates sitting and having a snack or just taking in the view. We would recommend this before Looking Glass just down the road as that view is much better. We are in our 30s, hike is moderate if taking left at fork, easy if going right.

One of my ALL TIME FAVORITE hikes in the Asheville area! There is so much diversity in the terrain, elevation, and difficulty that it never gets boring! And the view from the rock is magical! Yesterday we had the entire trail and rock to ourselves - and it’s OCTOBER! Not as busy as I assumed it would be. Start the trail behind the visitor center - that is by far the BEST route. The trail markings get a little confusing in some areas - when you reach the line forest, make an immediate left. When you next cross the stream, make an immediate right. If you want detailed directions, check out “Romantic Asheville” write up in this hike - it’s awesome!

hiking
2 months 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
2 months 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!

I only saw three waterfalls, the first one is on the small path before you get to the first little bridge. It’s the best one. There were some fallen logs across the path which made it fun. We went on Memorial Day around 10 am and there were maybe two other cars parked at the trailhead.

hiking
3 months 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.

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.

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.

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!!

Nice views of falls- although somehow we only saw 3 of them- 2 are right off the gravel road and easily accessed - almost too easy- 3rd is up an actual trail just before the first bridge. Did with all the kids 9, 8, 6, and 4 with no issues

backpacking
4 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
4 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.

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’

hiking
5 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!

Awesome hike loved it

hiking
6 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
6 months ago

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

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
7 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
7 months ago

Great view Looking over at Looking Glass Rock.

hiking
8 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.

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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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