Waterfalls in Panthertown Valley

Warden’s Falls – September 2015

Panthertown Valley is unique wilderness area that is part of the Nantahala National Forest. The area contains more than 30 miles of maintained trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Panthretown Valley is located northwest of Lake Toxaway and can be access from two points. The East Entrance (Cold Mountain Gap) is accessed by taking NC281 North from the intersection with US64 near Lake Toxaway. The West Entrance (Salt Rock Gap) is accessed from Cedar Creek Road also off of US64.

It’s always a good idea to have a trail map. This goes doubly so in Panthertown Valley. The first time we were there hiking from the East gate, I found the trail system to be confusing. The second day only moderately so and the third day there were no issues. Get the Kornegay Map and use it. Without it, you will surely get lost. None of the waterfalls are of the spectacular variety but Schoolhouse Falls is a very popular destination and the large pool in front of the falls draws a lot of swimmers. My favorite waterfall in the ‘Valley’ is Warden’s Falls, which is the first waterfall on Hike #3, which ends at Red Butt Falls. Hike #3 ranks as one of my favorite hikes. The rest of my top 10 hikes can be found here.

The hiking opportunities are endless and there are other sights beyond waterfalls to see. The Great Wall of Panthertown and Salt Rock Gap Overlook among them. We spent three days here and only scratched the surface. The Waterfalls are numbered by the order we visited them but for the sake of expedience, they are going to be grouped by hike. Only Greenland Creek Falls is a single waterfall hike and this is only because we didn’t venture upstream to see Halfway Falls and Carlton Falls, named after longtime Panthertown caretaker Carlton McNeil. He will be the one whose name you are cursing under your breath when you follow some of these meandering trails.

Click on the respective hikes not the individual waterfalls.

Driving to the East Gate

103 – Shower Falls

125 – Waterfall on Trib #1 of Toxaway R1ver

126 – Waterfall on Cold Mountain Branch

127 – Raven Rock Falls

Hike #1

097 – Greenland Falls

128 – The Chute

129 – Halfway Falls

130 – Carlton Falls

Hike #2

096 –  Mac’s Falls

098 – Pothole Falls

099 – Unnamed #1 – More Cave

100 – Unnamed #2 – Tranquility Falls

101 – Unnamed #3 – Turbulent Falls

102 –  Schoolhouse Falls

Hike #3

104 – Warden’s Falls

105 – Jawbone Falls

106 – Riding Ford Falls

107 – Elbow Falls

108 – Red Butt Falls

Hike #4

Salt Rock Gap

109 – Wilderness Falls

110 – Frolictown Falls

111 – Granny Burrell Falls

Hike #5

131 – Aunt Sally’s Falls

132 – Waterfall below Rhapsodie Falls

133 – Rhapsodie Falls

134 – Lower Dismal Falls

148 – Dismal Falls