John Rock Hiking Trail: If you’re looking for killer views, then John Rock is the hike to take. There are a couple of trail approach options, either the long way (about 6 miles) or the shorter way (about 4 miles), but either way you’ll be rewarded with views of Looking Glass Rock, Pilot Mountain, and the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education (aka the Fish Hatchery). The John Rock trail is accessed from the Cat Gap Loop Trail, and if you start on the right side of the loop, you’ll get the long approach following Cat Gap to a left on John Rock Trail. Once you hit the rock, then continue on the John Rock Trail to a left on Cat Gap to descend to the parking lot. If you’re feeling a little lazy, have less experienced hikers, or whiny kids, then take the left side of Cat Gap from the parking lot to a right on John Rock and make it an out-and-back rather than a loop.
Directions from Brevard: In Pisgah Forest, NC, from the main entrance to Pisgah National Forest, follow Highway 276 into the forest for about 5.5 miles. Take a left onto Forest Service Road 475 and follow for less than a mile into the parking lot for the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education on the left.
Local Hiking Expert: Mast General Store
15 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC