Posted by: panthertown | February 1, 2017

Welcome Friends!

Snowy Schoolhouse Falls Photo by Charles Hardin

Panthertown is located in western North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest.

The mission of Friends of Panthertown is to work in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to conserve this outstanding natural resource while improving the quality and experience of recreational opportunities in Panthertown Valley.

>> Our volunteers maintain 30 miles of public trails in this treasured backcountry.

>>  Our members support our conservation efforts through memberships donations.

Friends of Panthertown is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.

Salt Rock Trailhead Project Information

Mainspring Article

January / February 2017 

Friends of Panthertown has EXCITING NEWS!  We have an opportunity to protect an important property directly adjacent to Panthertown Valley at the Salt Rock entrance.  Friends of Panthertown is partnering with Mainspring Conservation Trust, a 20 year old regional land trust based in Franklin (formerly the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, or LTLT), to purchase 16-acres that borders the west side of Panthertown, immediately to the right of the Salt Rock Entrance.  This property was on the market for several years and could easily have been lost to development.


Part of the 16-acre private property Mainspring hopes to purchase.

Ultimately, this land will be transferred to the U.S. Forest Service, expanding the acres included in Panthertown Valley’s protected borders. This property will enhance the Panthertown user experience at the Salt Rock entrance by:

  • Allowing enhanced trail access,
  • Providing good camping sites,
  • Improving the Salt Rock entrance’s limited parking, and
  • Protecting the view from inside Panthertown Valley when looking at the Valley’s Salt Rock perimeter.
Photo: Pointing to Salt Rock

Friends of Panthertown Board Member Mike Purdy points out to Mainspring’s Jordan Smith areas where the view would be affected if the land Mainspring hopes to buy were sold to a private owner.

While Mainspring negotiated a favorable price, together we still need to commit more than $195,000 to acquire the land and we need your help for this important project. 

While some of you have just renewed your membership, these are unique circumstances.   Every dollar donated brings us closer to finalizing this acquisition, making a difference to Panthertown’s future.  100% of our Friends of Panthertown Board has pledged to personally contribute to this project.  Additionally, a generous Mainspring donor has agreed to match all donations up to $100,000.  So each dollar you give will double your gift and allow us to reach our goal twice as fast.  

You can help make this acquisition happen by “financing” a piece of this special land.  For example:

  • 1/1000 acre = $12
  • 1/100 acre = $120
  • 1/10 acre = $1,200
  • 1/4 acre = $3,000
  • 1/2 acre = $6,000
  • 1 acre = $12,000

Enclosed, you’ll find a copy of Mainspring’s Fall 2016 article on this project providing more details. Note that, although the article says they hope to close by the end of 2016, the deadline was extended to March. Still, time is of the essence. Please consider a generous, tax deductible gift towards this important land acquisition.  Click here to make a secure online donation towards the purchase of this important property.

Friends of Panthertown appreciates your past support.  By contributing to our new partnership with Mainspring, you help us continue our important mission to work with the U.S. Forest Service to conserve this outstanding natural resource, while improving the quality and experience of recreational opportunities in Panthertown Valley.


Margaret Carton

Friends of Panthertown Board President

Can we count on your pledge?

Click here to make a secure online donation with PayPal.

100% of your gift will be matched by an anonymous donor!

Download a PDF copy of our latest newsletter here: the-panthers-roar-winter-2017



  1. Has anyone hiked to Schoolhouse Falls from Lake Toxaway’s Meadow Ridge off of Panthertown Road? We tried and tried to find the trail but did not. We did find some great blackberry picking though.

  2. several years ago a friend asked me to go on a little hike with him. well, that turned into a long hike and one of the best times i have ever had. i think we walked all day. i have lots of pics that i am very proud of. i will never forget that day.

  3. hello, I am looking for a map of the area for hiking to waterfalls. I see that the forest service has a map, however I can’t get on the site to request one.

  4. This is an incredibly good blog about your group and your mission. I can remember when we still owned the camping and backpacking store “Venture Out” that some of our fastest selling topo maps were for Panthertown. I can’t join you tomorrow but wish you great success doing your maintenance and hope to join you another time. I also have a blog which I’ll be happy to promote your group and include a link to your site in the hopes of attracting more volunteers.

  5. My wife and I tried the Rock Bridge Road entrance for the first time this weekend and hiked the Turkey Knob Trail. When we were rounding a bend near the powerline, we saw our first bear in the wild as it was running up the trail away from us. We decided to head back to the car, since we didn’t know if it might have been a mother with cubs. We then drove to the end of Rock Bridge Road and hiked the trails there.

    How common are bear sightings in Panthertown; and should one have more concern for bears here than in Dupont Forest, for example?

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