The reward of hiking this trail (FS #365) is the impressive and commanding view when you emerge from the forest onto the bare rock dome to see Looking Glass Rock and Pilot Mountain in front of you and the Fish Hatchery below.
From the southern access, the trail climbs up the backbone of John Rock, a large granite dome. There is a steep, challenging pitch initially, but the remainder of the trail is moderate. From the eastern access, the trail climbs the eastern shoulder of John Rock using a series of old railroad grades; mature rhododendron thickets and small streams make this an attractive woods hike.
(Do not take any of the informal, “bushwhacked” trails, some of which lead to precarious spots.) Below its uppermost area near the tree line, the rock’s surface drops off steeply, so use caution when walking at the top, and monitor children and pets.
Also keep in mind that rock climbers climb John Rock, and may be climbing below you—do not throw anything off the edge.
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