Explore the most popular views 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.

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
15 days 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
21 days 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
1 month 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
2 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
2 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
3 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
3 months ago

Great view Looking over at Looking Glass Rock.

hiking
4 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.

hiking
5 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.

The only reason I didn't give it a five star rating is because it can use some more markings. A few trees cover the trails but nothing impassible. A little confusing at times but nothing we couldn't figure out. The view from the rock is really good and deserves a five star rating. The trails are littered with tree roots so you have to watch your step in places. It's not the worse I have seen but my son (5) had to be really careful in places. He was really tired when we finished though but was amazed by the view. He wants to do Looking Glass next but I don't like redoing trails but I guess I will oblige at some point. You can see Looking Glass really well at the rock lookout. Go early because the parking lot fills up quickly.

Best hike in WNC by far if you want great views AND waterfalls... some real hidden gems on this circuit. Also not heavily trafficked.

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
5 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!

Moderate difficulty with great views from John Rock. However, the trail is poorly marked.

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.

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.

Great Ling hike - moderately aggressive. Fantastic view from John Rock! Nice waterfalls and streams along the way

Very poorly marked. After reaching a small open field, I went in. Circles for about 10 minutes trying to find where the trail picked back up before i gave up and went back.

Moderate Hike with plenty of good camping spots to make a nice overnight backpacking trip . Starts from the fish hatchery parking lot . Great views from Johns Rock . Can be a little crowded on the weekend .

hiking
10 months ago

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.

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