We recommend Little Green Summit and hike because it is one of our favorite hikes for views within Panthertown Valley. We also suggest you take in Granny Burrell Falls and Schoolhouse Falls if you have the time to explore a bit, you'll not regret it. Viewing both falls on this hike is a breeze once you have a grasp on the main trail system mentioned here and posted at the West Parking Entrance's kiosk at the iron gate.
Start off downhill from the West Parking Area for Panthertown Valley and iron gate on the Pantertown Valley Trail #474 (West) for approx. 5-10 minutes to Salt Rock Gap. Take a moment to take a picture and survey your ultimate destination, Little Green Mountain. It isn't hard to miss, it is the one directly in front of you (don't mistake it for Big Green Mtn that is closest to you but to the Right). You'll notice the pine forest at the feet of the sheer cliffs which were planted after forest "clear cutting" long ago.
Keep heading downhill on PV Trail #474 to a noticable intersection with a trail on your Right. This is Deep Gap Trail #449. DO NOT take this trail. Instead, stay straight and keep heading downhill on the wide PV Trail #474 for another 0.25 mile to another intersection, this time a four way. Here, take the trail on the Right, Mac's Gap Trail #482 for just under 0.3 mile over the creek via bridge to another intersecting trail on your Right. This is a short trail that will take you to the Granny Burrell Falls area in approx. 5 minutes. We suggest taking this short route for a nice experience. Granny Burrell Falls is a great place to hang out in the summer months and maybe even go for a swim in the pool at the bottom if it's warm enough.
After hanging out, simply return back to Mac's Gap Trail and go Right for approx. 0.9 mile to Little Green Trail #485 (after approx. 0.75 mile you'll start going up hill some. At this point you'll need to avoid an obvious intersecting trail on your Left, this is Green Valley Trail #484). Take this Left for 0.45 mile up the slightly strenuos segment of the hike to the summit via the built-in stairs on Little Green Trail #485.
Once at the top, explore and take in the views mentioned in the "highlights". Be careful, these cliffs demand respect and any stumble could be fatal. Pay attention to white spray painted arrows on the rock, these will tell you how to continue around the summit and down the other side for the remaining 0.5 mile. You might feel lost, but keep working your way around the summit. You're fine. The trail works around and eventually off the back side of the summit.
Schoolhouse Falls will be on your Right once you reach the Valley floor again. Take time to hang out here a while. It's one of the prettiest falls in the Valley and you can walk behind them by doing a little exploring if you are careful not to step on the fragile and endangered vegetation that grows here. Once finished here, pick the remaining part of the trail up over the boardwalk to the intersection with Panthertown Valley Trail #474 again.
Once at PV Trail #474, go Left for 0.4 mile and cross Panthertown Creek via the footbridge (avoiding Powerline Road Trail #451 on your Right). Follow the creek for approx. 0.5 mile (avoiding Green Valley Trail #484 on your Left). You are still on PVT #474 as the trail leads you away from the creek and to the four-way intersection you came to earlier, except now Mac's Gap Trail #482 is on your Left. Continue straight for the remaining 0.8 mile back to the West Entrance Parking area. Nice day!!
NOTE: We recommend researching the Panthertown Valley area before coming and also suggest not coming by yourself or without a map. This area is "wild" and the trail system is unmarked, you can get lost very easily if you don't know where you're going. Our best suggestion is to download and print the map we provide on this site, find the trail(s) you are interested in and plan out your day accordingly. You need to avoid any side trails you come across (and you'll come across a lot of them).
From the main intersection of U.S. Hwy 64 and N.C. Hwy 107 in Cashiers, N.C. take Hwy 64 East (towards Brevard) for 2 miles to "Cedar Creek Road" on your Left (crossing the Horsepasture River). Take Cedar Creek Road for 2.3 miles to "Breedlove Road" (S.R. 1121 or "State Road") on your Right. There will be a sign for Panthertown Valley at the Stop Sign. Take the Right and travel 3.3 miles to the end of the pavement for Breedlove Rd and where the rough, gravel road begins. You can either park here (if you have a low or nicer car) or you can proceed on rough gravel/mud road to main parking area at entrance to the valley. After you reach the main parking area (via foot- 10 minute walk OR car- 0.25 mile) you'll come to a Info Kiosk with a map of the valley in it and a gate across the trailhead. Be sure to take a look at the map and correspond the trails and their #'s with the ones in my local scoop. Finding Panthertown Valley Trail #474, Mac's Gap Trail #482, Little Green Trail #485 and finally back on PVT #474 to make the loop hike back.