John Rock is a minor, but still outstanding peak in the Pisgah National
Forest in North Carolina. Its enormous, towering granite walls, while very impressive, are overshadowed by the spectacular cliffs of the nearby Looking Glass Rock. If not for its proximity to that mountain, John Rock would be considered a major mountain in its own right.
As with Looking Glass, John Rock is composed of granite with the strange "eyebrow" formations that every rock climber or hiker notes as they climb the exposed walls. I've not seen this type of geology in any other granite faces I've encountered.
Located deep in the heart of Pisgah National Forest, John Rock is near to many other notable peaks, ranges, waterfalls, streams, and rivers. The peak is classic southern high country with a tremendous variety of trees and plants, and is like a huge sponge soaking in and giving up vast amounts of water in the form of springs, creeks, and streams. You don't have to look far for a water source if you're hiking this area.
From Brevard take 276 North. Once inside the boundary of the Pisgah National Forest, pass the Pisgah Ranger Station and continue for about three miles. Just beyond the Coon Tree Picnic Area, FS Road 475 will be on the left (signed for the Fish Hatcery and Wildlife Research Center). Drive for about two miles to the entrace to the Fish Hatchery on the left. Park at the far end of the parking lot (left) for the trailhead.
If traveling from Waynesville, take 276 South, head over the Blue Ridge Parkway, and then down to FS Road 475.
Looking Glass Falls.
No fees. No restrictions. I do know that John Rock has several climbing routes, and rock climbing is allowed there, as it is at nearby Looking Glass Rock.
When To Climb
All year. Summer hiking can be quite warm and muggy. Thunderstorms can be a concern on the ridges and on exposed rock. The elevation here is not that great, so winter extremes are moderated when compared to nearby Shining Rock.
Camping is allowed all along the main trails (and off trail) on John Rock. There are a very few off limits camping areas, near the Fish Hatchery, but these are posted. There are no huts on John Rock, but there are a couple of shelters along the nearby Art Loeb Trail.
Check the weather for Cashiers, NC. It should be fairly even with the conditions at John Rock.