What it the world is a Pluton?
Plutons are magical places in our ancient hills. They are like huge rock bubbles that you can climb up to get some of the most spectacular views in the Blue Ridge. The above picture is a view from John’s Rock overlooking another pluton, called Looking Glass Rock. On this hike, Tom and I got to witness 2 beautiful bald eagles flying below us and fishing on the river.
This is a day trip from our cabins. We actually left about 10 am and stopped in Waynesville, NC to grab some lunch at our favorite burger joint, the Church Street Depot, then off to the Shining Rock Wilderness area on Hwy 276. This takes you past the Cradle of Forestry, Sliding Rock and Looking Glass Falls to name just a few places along the way. So, leave earlier if you want to visit these along the way, then you will have the whole day to enjoy this area. There is much to see. The trailhead to both the plutons is just past Looking Glass Falls on forest service road 475 C which will be on your right. Looking Glass Rock trail is on the right and then John Rock is on the left at the Pisgah Wildlife Center and Fish Hatchery.
The Best Views in the Blue Ridge are from the Top
We love the plutons. There are two that you can climb. Although it is a bit of a challenge and fairly steep in places, both trails are worth the climb. These pictures are from our hike along the loop trail at John’s Rock.
Make sure you check the map at the kiosk at the trailhead so that you note the proper turns. The trail is well marked with signs. The loop is explained in the link above. It will take you by Cedar Rock Falls which is a beautiful spot to take a break, or a swim if it is warm enough.
Looking Glass Rock: A Vertical Challenge
Looking Glass Rock trail is more challenging, longer and steeper than the John Rock trail. It is a spectacular climb for those who like to climb. Therefore, this trail can be challenging and rocky in place. Also, one must navigate some pretty rough and washed out places on the trail. However, the views are definitely worth the effort.
In addition, this is a coveted place for rock climbers. Also, it is a rare nesting place for peregrine falcons. If you are lucky you will see them dive. They are spectacular.