Categories: Play, Hiking & Backpacking, Fishing, Mountain Biking, Hikes to waterfalls, Dog Friendly Hiking Trails, Backcountry Camping, Fishing for Wild Trout, Swimming Holes, Panthertown Valley Bike Trails, Panthertown Valley
A few recommendations for those of you accessing the Panthertown Valley Trail #474 from the East trailhead:
Pick up the PVT #474 and heading downhill for approx. 1 mile to a bridge over Greeland Creek. Cross it and take an immediate left towards Schoolhouse Falls. You'll find and hear the falls after about 5 minutes of hiking. You'll know you're in the right area when you're hiking over a boardwalk. This area offers swimming and fishing along with being able to walk behind the falls. Awesome spot but fairly popular. Expect to see other people especially in season.
After viewing the falls you can either take the Little Green Trail #485 for a strenuous hike to the summit of Little Green Mountain, or you can double back and pick the PVT #474 back up and continue on into the valley (taking a left when you get back to the bridge over Greenland creek). It really just depends on the amount of time you have to spend in the valley. Our recommendation would be to keep it simple with one point of interest, like Schoolhouse Falls if you arrive to the valley late in the day and are not planning on spending the night in the backcountry. However, if you arrive early in the day (summer months) you could very well do a couple of hikes and see multiple waterfalls in the area. Use your best judgement here and have a map with you at all times. This is a wilderness area and it is easy to get lost. For other connecting trails and day trips, consider visiting our "Panthertown Valley" page under "Places of Interest."
From the East, access the PVT #474 at the very end of the parking area and on your right (same side as the info kiosk). This takes you down to Greenland Creek and a bridge over it. We suggest crossing here and leaving your bike at the bike rack provided. Hike the short distance to "Schoolhouse Falls" via the trail on the left immediately over the bridge. This area is very unique and provides a nice place to go for a dip if you have time. Make sure you go up the right hand side of the large pool via the rough trail and hike behind the falls for a truly awesome experience! Be mindful and avoid stepping on the vegetation growing here, it is some of the most rare and endangered plant life in our area. After viewing the falls and hanging here for a while, head back to your bike at the bridge where you needed to leave it. Now, cruise on the old roadbed for approx. 0.4 mile to another bridge. This is Panthertown Creek. Just below this bridge is where Panthertown and Greenland Creeks converge to form the headwaters of the Tuckasegee River. Be sure to plan some more connecting trails once you become accustomed to the map of this area and feel comfortable with your bearings. Click on the link above for more Panthertown valley points of interest.
Study our interactive map and Panthertown Map we provide on this site for more planning. 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 Cashiers, NC take U.S. Hwy-64 East towards Brevard or Asheville, NC for 12.7 miles to the junction of NC Hwy-281 and U.S. Hwy-64. Take NC Hwy-281 North for 3.6 miles to "Cold Mountain Road" on your left (just past Lake Toxaway Fire House on the right). After taking the left onto Cold Mountain Road, continue along the twisting turns as you work past numerous lake homes and their drives and up the mountain. At 5.6 miles since you left NC Hwy-281 you'll see private property and a gated drive on the right, avoid this. To the left and uphill is the gravel access road to the valley, here is where you'll see the sign for Panthertown Valley. This will be the first sign of any sort you will see for the valley. After approx. 0.1/0.2 mile up the gravel road, it will fork again. Take the right and onto the access road to the East Parking Area. Note: This road had a large mud puddle in the middle of it the last time I was there. I had to park my car to the side and walk the short distance to the main parking area, about 0.1 mile. No problem. To pick up Panthertown Valley Trail #474, simply go to the end of the parking area and find the trailhead sign on your right. See the photo gallery on this page for visuals.