After a spate of freezing weather, it finally warmed up for a nice long hike. Mike and I hiked in Panthertown, next to Glenville and Cashiers, NC, for the afternoon. Panthertown is a gorgeous and huge valley full of trails and views very popular with hikers and mountain bikers alike. I have hiked here a few times before, but I have barely explored it.
This time we decided to follow the Panthertown Valley Trail. It used to be challenging to find your way through the tangle of trails that crisscross the NC valley, but the Forest Service and the Friends of Panthertown recently put up signs for most of the trails. You can also download a map of the Pathertown Valley Trails, which I highly recommend.
The Panthertown Valley trail mostly goes straight down the mountain to the valley floor. There are several trail intersections, but just stay on the main trail or follow the signs that say Panthertown Valley.
There is a lot of water in this area, and there was a lot of ice and marshy sections of the trail. I had on tennis shoes which did not quite cut it in the wetter parts.
Within a third of a mile, there is a big view from an rock face on the right side of the trail. It is a spectacular vista of the valley below and granite sided mountains.
Almost the first mile is downhill. That is nice to start, but remember that it is uphill on the way back. Once you are in the valley, the trail follows the river as it meanders along. There is a surprise sandy beach on the right. It would probably be a lovely spot to play in the summer.
About 2.4 miles in and just before the second bridge over the river, there is a trail to the right called Little Green Trail. Schoolhouse Falls is about 1/10 mile up this trail and is worth the detour.
There are several ways to get back from here, but the shortest is to return the way we came. So we turned around and followed Panthertown Valley Trail back out. The whole hike was about 5 miles.
Directions from Glenville: Drive south on highway 107 for about 1/2 mile and turn left on Bee Tree Road. In about a 1/10 mile, turn right on Cedar Creek Road. Go a few miles and turn left in Breedlove Road (there is a new stop sign at this intersection). Go to the end of Breedlove Road and follow the signs for Panthertown on the left. There is parking on the side at the end of the road.