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John Rock is a pluton (a granite dome) just like Looking Glass Rock, but it's not as dominant or spherical. The view is nice, though and the hike is a bit more leisurely.


Off NC 276, just south of Looking Glass Falls, there's a paved Forest Service (FS) road #475 that leads to the Fish Hatchery.

Here's a view of John Rock from the Fish Hatchery entrance.

Take this road until it ends in gravel where the Fish Hatchery is (about a mile). Park in the Fish Hatchery visitor center parking lot and on the end opposite the visitor center is the trailhead. While you're there, visit the visitor center and see huge pools just brimming with rainbow and brown speckled trout in various stages. See also the fishermen drool over them. Bring a quarter or two to feed these fish. The site is also the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education that has some great exhibits and sponsors some very interesting talks.


This is a very popular hike with locals and visitors. Its parking lot is the same parking lot used for the Fish Hatcheries, and i suspect many people start off on this hike on a lark. It is blazed yellow. It does climb up sometimes a bit steeply, so it is rated 'medium', and probably a few day hikers don't bother trying to make it to the top, which is almost as good as Looking Glass. However, the lowlands are, to me, the best part of the hike anyway. Last time i went on this hike it was late March and the lowland flowers that preferred the rich, open woods were out in profusion. Down by the creek were plenty of heart-leaved ginger, rattlesnake plantain, and spotted wintergreen. Up a little farther was a great collection of trout lilies, many budding mayapples, jack-in-the-pulpits, bloodroot, and down by the smaller creek many early trilliums (trillii?). A very pretty walk.


John Rock in early spring before the deciduous foliage came out. The everpresent Ed, and a friend from UNC-A, Judy LeFey, try to get some extra rays to help warm us, as the wind was a deep cool.

The view is looking out towards the Blue Ridge Parkway, and just over those mountaintops is Graveyard Ridge. To the Northeast you would be able to see the back-end of Looking Glass Rock.

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