Looking for a map?
We recommend the U.S. Forest Service Panthertown Valley Trail System map (published in 2013) and Burt Kornegay’s Guide’s Guide to Panthertown (revised 2017).
Panthertown contains more than 10,000 acres of public land on Nantahala National Forest, including Panthertown Valley (6,311 acres), the Panthertown Valley Trail System (30 miles), Bonas Defeat, and the Big Pisgah tract of Pisgah National Forest. Not all areas are accessible. It’s easy to get lost. Bring a map and stay on the trails.
Directions to Salt Rock Gap trailheads (west entrance) in Jackson County:
From Cashiers at the NC 107 / US 64 Junction, take US 64 east for 2 miles to Cedar Creek Road (SR 1120) on left. Or: From Sylva / Cullowhee / Tuckasegee, you can take a short cut and turn left on Bee Tree Road at Lake Glenville, to Cedar Creek Road on right.
From Asheville / Brevard / Toxaway, take US 64 west past Sapphire, turn right at Cedar Creek Road (SR 1120). IMPORTANT: DO NOT TRUST GOOGLE MAPS. It will take you to Cold Mountain Gap (east entrance). There are no vehicles permitted to drive through Panthertown, however that is what Google Maps wants you to do to access Salt Rock Gap (west entrance). Instead, take US 64 W past Sapphire. Link is provided simply to point to trailhead location.
Take Cedar Creek Road (SR 1120) for 2.3 miles to Breedlove Road (SR 1121) and then turn right. Go 3.5 miles to end of pavement, turn left onto gravel road to parking area. Drive slowly, watch for potholes. Trailheads begin near gate located at end of gravel road. Access Panthertown Valley Trail (FS 474: hike, bike, and horse), Blackrock Spur Trail (FS 447A: hike only), and Blackrock Trail (FS 447: hike, bike, and horse).
LEAVE NO TRACE: Please remember to always practice the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics when visiting Panthertown Valley and Nantahala National Forest.
Directions to Cold Mountain Gap trailheads (east entrance) in Transylvania County:
From Cashiers at the NC 107 / US 64 Junction, take US 64 east for 13 miles to Lake Toxaway. Turn left at Blue Ridge Road (NC 281). Or: From Tuckasegee at NC 107 / NC 281 Junction, take NC 281 south 24.2 miles to Toxaway / Cold Mountain Road.
From Asheville / Brevard / Toxaway, take US 64 west for 16 miles to Blue Ridge Road (NC 281) in Lake Toxaway. Turn right. Go 0.8 miles to Cold Mountain Road on left.
Take Cold Mountain Road for 5.8 miles to end and turn left onto Panthertown Road (gravel). Go 0.1 miles to gravel parking lot entrance road (Hogback Spur A) on right. Trailhead begins here for Panthertown Valley Trail (FS 474: hike and bike only), Greenland Creek Trail (FS 488: hike only), Mac’s Gap (FS 482: hike and bike only). NO HORSE TRAILS OR TRAILER ACCESS.
NO HORSE TRAILER ACCESS AT COLD MOUNTAIN GAP.
THERE ARE NO HORSE TRAILS ACCESSIBLE FROM THIS TRAILHEAD.
Directions to Flat Creek / Rock Bridge trailheads (north entrance) in Jackson County:
From Lake Toxaway at the NC 281 / US 64 Junction, take NC 281 north for 9.1 miles to Rock Bridge Road (SR 1140) on left.
From Sylva / Cullowhee / Tuckasegee at the NC 107 / NC 281 Junction in Tuckasegee, take NC 281 south for 15.9 miles to Rock Bridge Road (SR 1140) on right.
Take Rock Bridge Road (SR 1140) for 0.8 miles to a small parking area on left with Rattlesnake Knob Trail (FS 452: hike, bike, and horse). Continue for another 2.3 miles to a much larger parking area, suitable for horse trailers. The Turkey Knob Trail (FS 469: hike and horse only) starts across the road from the large parking area and leads into Panthertown Valley.
LEAVE NO TRACE: Pack it in, pack it out. Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photographs. Thank you for doing your part to keep Panthertown wild!
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Reprinted with permission from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org
The Salt Rock Gap trailheads are located in Glenville, NC close to Cashiers and Sapphire.
The Cold Mountain Gap entrance is located close to Lake Toxaway, NC. There are no horse trails here.
The Flat Creek parking lot is located near Tuckasegee, in the Canada township of Jackson County.