Trail Signs Now in Panthertown

Trail Signs Now in Panthertown

If you’ve ever gotten lost in Panthertown Valley, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Over the years, the United States Forest Service (USFS) has received numerous requests to mark trails from those who’ve lost their way while exploring the area.

The Friends of Panthertown have helped out by obtaining funding and providing volunteers to mark trails. With a grant from the American Hiking Society, the Friends of Panthertown purchased $2,600 of tools and materials. The signs are the standard Forest Service design, intended to provide necessary trail identification and usage information, while blending with the natural surroundings. To keep them to a minimum, they are being placed only at intersections of the “official” Forest Service trails, and where possible one sign is being used to mark both trails.

Marking the trails in Panthertown Valley with directional signs will improve safety, make the area more ‘user-friendly’ for hikers unfamiliar with the rugged terrain. Also, should someone become injured, search and rescue squads will be able to locate the victim more quickly without becoming lost themselves. In addition, the signs are a key part of the Forest Service’s program of designating trail usage, in order both to protect sensitive ecological areas and to provide quality recreational opportunities and backcountry experiences to hikers and other users.

The project is spearheaded by Mike Purdy, a member of the Friends of Panthertown. He and other volunteers began installing signs about a week ago. Approximately 50 signs will be placed, with decals showing the USFS trail #, designated recreational uses, and trail name.

Be forewarned, even though there are now signs, you should still carry a map, and for the less-traveled areas a compass – and know how to use them.

A detailed map of the area can be purchased online at Slick Rock Expeditions and at retail outlets including the Highland Hiker in Cashiers, Blackrock Outdoor or City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. The USFS has plans to create an official trail map of the area, but it will take several years before completion. An electronic copy of the USFS’s map is available on our website at

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