Backpacking in Panthertown Valley

Blue Ridge Outdoors - April 2012

Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine recently featured Panthertown Valley in their April 2012 issue, now on newsstands throughout the southeast and beyond.

The cover article by outdoor writer Graham Averill features a suggested three-day itinerary that starts out at the Cold Mountain Gap Trailhead on the east side of Panthertown and then over three days sends backpackers to such popular destinations as the Sandbar Pool, Panthertown Creek, Carlton’s Way, Blackrock Mountain, Riding Ford and Red Butt Falls, Mac’s Gap, Little Green and Big Green Mountains, the pine forest, Granny Burrell Falls, Greenland Creek, School House Falls, Pothole Falls and Mac’s Falls.

Could this in fact be “the perfect backpacking trip” you’ve been looking for? Find out by reading the article and following the recommendations. We agree – Panthertown is a great place to go backpacking.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Backpacking in Panthertown Valley - Photo credit: Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine

Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine » April 2012 » Yosemite of the East
Yosemite of the East
Guide to a three day backpacking trip to the Panthertown Valley.

by Graham Averill

It’s not as easy to get lost in Panthertown Valley as it used to be. At one time, the 6,300-acre tract of land inside the Nantahala National Forest was renowned for stupefying hikers and mountain bikers hell bent on exploring the 50-plus miles of user-created backcountry trails that criss-cross the high-elevation valley and its surrounding 4,000-foot high mountains. But as more hikers and bikers have discovered Panthertown, an exhaustively researched map has been published, and trail signs have been implemented. Panthertown’s evolution from local’s secret to backcountry hot spot was inevitable, particularly when you consider the sheer drama of the landscape. High elevation bogs and skyscraper-tall pine forests dominate the valley floor while 400-foot granite cliffs act as boundary markers. And waterfalls are everywhere. It’s a suite of characteristics that has led the valley to be dubbed “the Yosemite of the East.”

“Some people consider it a national park all on its own,” says Jason kimenker, executive director of the Friends of Panthertown, the volunteer organization that maintains the popular destination. “The sheer rock faces dropping into a bowl with waterfalls falling down the sides of mountains… it’s a unique place, but it’s not a national park. Even with the increased popularity, it’s still very much a backcountry destination.”

Below is a suggested three-day itinerary that takes in a handful of the valley’s highlights. This is an all-inclusive backpacking getaway with sandy beaches, natural water slides, and big views from bare knobs.


Click here to continue reading the entire article at Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.

Friends of Panthertown

Join Friends of Panthertown and help support our efforts to protect and maintain this very special place!

For information about joining or volunteering visit or call (828) 269-HIKE (4453).

Friends of Panthertown is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.


And… while you’re at it, check out the April 2012 edition of Trail Mix from our friends at Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, an inspiring mix of great music for your trail adventures.

This month’s selections are outstanding!
Listen to Trail Mix

For fans of Americana music, the end of April brings but one thing – the annual pilgrimage to the mountains of North Carolina for Merle Fest, the granddaddy of all roots music festivals. […] Playing Merle Fest this year – and featured on this month’s Trail Mix – are Johnson’s Crossroad, Red June, The Honeycutters, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, and Dehlia Low, all of whom call Asheville home. We have brand new tunes from Red June and The Honeycutters, as well as new cuts from Steep Canyon Rangers, The Steel Wheels, Enter The Haggis, Marty Stuart, Casey Driessen, and The Wild Rumpus, and favorites from Donna The Buffalo, Sierra Hull and Roy Bookbinder on the mix this month.

Download the Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine Trail Mix April 2012 here.

Click here to open the Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine media player in a new window.


Soul InfusionJoin us this Friday, April 27 for
Friends of Panthertown Day at Soul Infusion

This Friday, Soul Infusion Tea House & Bistro in Sylva, NC has generously offered to make a donation of 10% of their restaurant sales, all day and night, dine-in or carry-out! Live music outside on the big stage Friday evening with the band LOCAL. Please bring your family and friends to dine at Soul Infusion on Friday, April 27, 2012. All donations will be used to support conservation projects in Panthertown Valley.

Leave a Reply