Sometimes the hardest part of finding a new adventure is deciding where to start. With a good friends encouragement, I chose to take my next adventure to John Rock in Brevard, NC. Just shy of an hour’s drive out of Downtown Asheville, this trail is easily accessed through the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and the State Fish Hatchery parking lot.
With my friend and her three fur babies in tow, we made our way to the trail. We began the hike on Cat Gap Loop Trail, on the right just past the “no vehicles” warning post. Don’t let the big metal guard with the reflective signs scare you off, just shimmy on around the barricade and you’ll began your trek.
As you wind up Cat Gap Loop Trail, you will start to hear the sounds of water rushing. About a mile up on your left will be a shortcut to Cedar Rock Falls, which is totally worth the extra quarter mile hike down. You will also find other ways to forge your own path down, as well as a picnic area if you want to rest, enjoy the music of the falls.
Continuing down the orange blazed trail, crossing over the many creeks and balance testing bridges, are some truly spectacular canopies made of twisted trunks and layered branches. Be sure to take some time and enjoy the intertwined trees encompassing you. I felt like I was in my own secret forest, secluded from the world.
A little further up, you will reach a wooded area with seating perfect for a stop to snack, or just be for a bit. With towering trees with sun shining through the intervals of air and timber, this resting site is as visually cinematic as it is serene.
Once you’ve started back, turn left onto the Cat Gap Loop Connector trail, then left again onto the Cat Gap Bypass. This will give you a little bit of flat hiking before you begin the steepest portion up to John Rock. And the view from the top is worth it. You’ll see sweeping views of the mountains, the valley, and of Looking Glass Rock across the way.
After you’ve taken satisfactory time to enjoy the views, you’ll begin the descent down through lush greenery surrounded by flowing streams and beautiful landscapes. I had the pleasure of seeing all the details with a touch of frost, adding an iridescent glow. If you’re brave enough to venture into the cold temperatures, the wintery details are wonderful to see.
Whether you hike to the top or just take a short walk to the falls or into the woods, you can expect beautiful surroundings on the trails to John Rock.
A recent Asheville resident, Lily is a lover of life, carbs, cats, adventures, and considers herself an honorary Gilmore Girl.