A summit and a waterfall all in one. This is a good hike for an afternoon, or you can plan on camping somewhere along the way.

This 5 mile loop begins at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and State Fish Hatchery near Brevard, NC. Ample parking is available adjacent to the trailhead with bathrooms and water accessible. Grab a map from inside as well.

To start the hike, look at the education center, to the left is the starting point for the trail. This will put you on Cat Gap Loop Trail, and away you go.  The first mile consists of small climbs until about a mile into the trail. Look to the left for Cedar Rock Falls. A small trail will connect you to the bottom of the falls from Cat Gap Loop Trail. Spend some time hopping around the rocks at the foot of the falls. Once you've had your fill, get back ton Cat Gap Loop Trail and start making your way to John Rock. Most of the trail is fairly flat with a few small climbs for the next mile or so. 

You will reach an intersection with the Cat Gap Connector Trail, take a left to get on that. Mostly flat on this trail, you will hug the side of a hill that will eventually lead you up to John Rock.

When you come upon a 4 way intersection, you'll take a left on to John Rock Trail to get to the top. Be ready for a climb here as you start to reach the highest point of the trail at 3,320 ft in elevation. After a short decent, small trails will connect you to John Rock. Take whichever one your heart desires, they all lead to the same great view. Spend some time on the edge of John Rock peering to the forest below and take in the views afar. Looking Glass Rock will be directly in front of you. 

When you are done taking it all in, head back to John Rock Trail and start your decent (this section of the trail is shorter than the one to get there). You'll connect back to the Cat Gap Loop Trail along the Davidson River. This trail will lead you right back to the parking lot where you started. 

Pack List

  • Dogs
  • Water
  • Snacks/drink for the top
  • Hiking poles 
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RT Distance 5 Miles
Elevation Gain 1000 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby


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