Panthertown Valley Trail #474 (West)

Categories: Play, Hiking & Backpacking, Fishing, Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding, Dog Friendly Hiking Trails, Backcountry Camping, Fishing for Wild Trout, Swimming Holes, Panthertown Valley Bike Trails, Back Country Horse Trails, Panthertown Valley


  •  Multiple use trail and area for Hiking, Biking, Horseback Riding (some sections "hike only", check Local Scoop below)
  •  Main and most used trail in the Valley 
  •  Trail bisects the valley and runs from the West entrance parking area to the East Panthertown Valley parking area 
  •  Mostly wide trail that follows Panthertown Creek 
  •  Headwaters of the Tuckasegee River 
  •  Sandbar along the way that offers a nice swimming, sunbathing, fishing and picnic opportunities 
  •  Multiple connector trails along the way that offer days of hiking, bike riding, horseback riding and exploring opportunity
  •  We suggest that you download and print the PDF map we provide for this area before visiting
  •  Easiest access for those coming from North, South or West of Cashiers, NC.

The Local Scoop

We recommend the Panthertown Valley Trail #474 due to it's easy access from either the West or East Parking areas for Panthertown Valley as well as it's multiple trail junctions that provide for hours and hours of trail exploring. This area is a "multi-use" area and you might see hikers and bikers along with horseback riders while in the area so be aware of that. This area offers great hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding and rock climbing opportunities for all skill and experience levels. Multiple waterfalls dot the Panthertown & Greenland Creeks along with those on the Tuckasegee River's headwaters. If you are camping in this area, be sure to do some exploration.  Now, we would like to make some specific recommendations for each activity Panthertown Trail #474 offers starting with:


The entire Valley is open to hiking and you really can't go wrong with which trails you take.  However, if entering the valley from the West entrance then we would suggest (especially for first timers) taking the Panthertown Valley Trail #474 down to Salt Rock Gap at approx. 10 minutes from the entrance.  After viewing the entire valley from this rock outcropping continue down PVT for another 5-10 minutes to Deep Gap Trail #449 on your right. Take this easy trail out to Frolictown Falls at 0.4 mile.  Do not cross Frolictown Creek but instead view the falls from below the trail via a side trail.  After finished here simply backtrack and avoid any side trails if you're not familiar or if you don't feel comfortable extending your hike.  We should also mention and suggest a nice sunbathing/swim area on down PVT #474 via a sandbar on Panthertown Creek.  To get there travel approx. 1 mile past Deep Gap Trail #449 and PVT #474's junction.  The sandbar will be on your right and easily seen from the trail.  To find more adventures in the valley check out our "Panthertown Valley" page under "places of interest."  Or, consider our "Panthertown Valley Itinerary."

Horseback Riding.

The West access to PVT #474 parking area has the most room for your trailer, etc. but it still isn't large by any means. You'll find PV Trail #474 just past the iron gate and info kiosk you'll find to your left at the gate. Once you head downhill you're on PV Trail #474. A couple of recommendations to give you a relatively easy chance to view some waterfalls without having to leave your horse behind.   From the beginning of PV Trail #474 head downhill for approx. 0.55 mile and your first intersection on the right. Take this spur trail (Deep Gap Trail #449) for approx. 0.4 mile and the top of Frolictown Falls. Turn around and go back to PVT #474 to continue on to some other waterfalls.  Once back at PVT #474 go right (downhill) and travel approx. 0.25 mile to the four-way intersetion of trails.  If on Horseback or Bike you need to take the North Road Trail #453 on your Left and slighty up.  ** Ride for 1.3 miles on the North Road Trail to intersect with Powerline Road Trail #451. Here, go Right for approx. 0.3 mile until you run into PVT#474 again at Panthertown Creek and the footbridge over it. Cross here. Note: You will need to have taken this detour (North Road Trail) from PVT because this section of PVT is off limits to horses and bikes.  Now, after crossing the creek travel 0.4 mile along the old roadbed of PVT and over another creek (Greenland Creek).  Take your first left over the creek. This is Devil's Elbow Trail #448. Warden Falls, Jawbone Falls and Riding Ford Falls can all be seen from this trail. You'll find that you need to leave your horse momentarily to get a nice view of the falls all on your left and down a bit.  Simply backtrack from here when you call it a day or if you feel comfortable with your surroundings continue on exploring or find a primitive campsite to spend the night.

Mountain Biking.

From the West trailhead continue down the trail for 0.8 mile past Salt Rock Gap on your left and Deep Gap Trail #449 on your right to a four-way intersection of trails.  Go right onto Mac's Gap Trail #482.  This makes for a nice easy bike ride between Big & Little Green Mountains.  You'll pass a very nice primitive camp area amongst the towering pines here.  Go as far as you like, however the trail starts to climb after a mile or so.  Here we would suggest turning around and heading back towards the PVT #474 and the four-way intersection.  Here go straight ahead and up (slightly bearing right) after you're clear of the other trails.  Avoid the immediate right (this is PVT and is off limits to bikes & horses in this section).  See the ** above, under horseback riding, for further directions/suggestions.  

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).


The Local Directions

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. Either park at the cul-de-sac here or continue on the rough but short gravel/mud road to the main parking area. To pick up Panthertown Valley Trail #474 from the main parking area simply continue past the info kiosk (with map) and iron gate, this is PV Trail #474.

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West Parking Area:  
35.16832, -83.03985
East Parking Area:  
Hike Distance
3.25 miles (One way) 

West:  Moderate 
East:  Moderately difficult
(see local directions) 
Nearest City
Jackson County
Distance From
Cashiers: 7.6 miles