Explore more than 30 miles of trails in Panthertown

Friends of Panthertown maintains the Panthertown Valley Trail System

Looking for a printed 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 (2017).

Interactive online maps of Panthertown:
Hiking Project | All Trails | Trail Forks | Hike WNC

Panthertown Valley features a U.S. Forest Service designated trail system with more than 30 miles of rugged, primitive non-motorized backcountry trails and U.S. Forest Service roads on Nantahala National Forest for hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and others to explore. Each trail offers different conditions and challenges.

Scroll towards the bottom of this page for interactive online maps.

Friends of Panthertown works 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. We only maintain the trails listed here that are part of the official U.S. Forest Service trail system. We are hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, rock climbers, anglers, birders, scouts, and explorers. We love Panthertown, and we work hard to protect this special place.

We recommend you come prepared for a primitive backcountry experience when visiting. There are no facilities available here – no electricity, no restrooms, no water fountains, no trash cans. It’s easy to get lost in Panthertown. Stay on the trails. Bring a good map and know how to use it.

Practice the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics when you visit National Forests in North Carolina. Pack it in, pack it out. Take only photos, leave nothing but footprints.

Although you may hike anywhere in Panthertown, mountain bikes and horses should stay only on the trails designated for those uses. Trailheads are marked with signs indicating one or more designation: “Hike”, “Bike“, and “Horse”. You may also travel on Forest Service roads.

When visiting Panthertown, please be respectful of the land, the wildlife, and other visitors. Stay on the trails and yield to others passing. Trail etiquette applies.

While we do continue to maintain and improve the 30 miles of U.S. Forest Service designated trails in the Panthertown Trail System, we do not maintain the hundreds of miles of unofficial, unmarked, and unsustainable footpaths and user-created trails that criss-cross the Panthertown Valley, Bonas Defeat, and Big Pisgah tracts of backcountry that comprise over 10,000 acres of Nantahala National Forest. We recommend you stay on the marked trails.

Working in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Jackson County Tourism Development Authority, and Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce, we gather data using visitor surveys and trail counters in Panthertown. This data helps us to better understand and manage our trail system. To learn more about the vehicle and trail counters we use click here. This initiative was funded in part by the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority.


We recommend you bring a printed map. Get Burt Kornegay’s Guide’s Guide to Panthertown (2017 revision) if you plan to spend a lot of time in Panthertown. It’s the best map available. It’s not free, and you can’t download it, but it remains the most detailed map and guide for exploring Panthertown. It’s an essential reference to have with you. Don’t leave home without it.

The updated 2013 Panthertown Valley Trail System map (featured on the trailhead kiosks) can be purchased at the U.S. Forest Service Nantahala District office in Franklin, ordered online, and can be downloaded onto a mobile device via Avenza map app.

Panthertown Trail System Map


#447 Blackrock Trail (1.70 miles) HBE
#447A Blackrock Spur Trail (.15 miles) H
#448 Devil’s Elbow Trail(1.42 miles) HBE
#449 Deep Gap Trail (1.33 miles) HBE
#450 Riding Ford Trail (.95 miles) HBE
#451 Powerline Road Trail (5.52 miles) HBE
#452 Rattlesnake Knob Trl (1.56 mi) HBE
#453 North Road Trail (1.29 miles) HBE
#458 Carlton’s Way (.51 miles) H Only
#469 Turkey Knob Trail (1.66 miles) H+E
#474 Panthertown Valley Trl (3.25 mi) HBE*
#482 Mac’s Gap Trail (3.13 miles) H+B
#484 Green Valley Trail (.60 miles) H Only
#485 Little Green Trail (.94 miles) H Only
#486 Granny Burrell Falls Trl (.31 mi) HBE*
#487 Big Green Trail (1.35 miles) H Only
#488 Greenland Creek Trai (1.02 miles) H
#489 Great Wall Trail (1.65 miles) H Only
#490 Wilderness Falls Trail (.73 miles) H
#491 Overlook Trail (.50 miles) H Only

H = Hike, B = Bike, E = Horse (Equestrian)
* = Part of trail is Hike Only

The older 2009 Panthertown Trail System (PDF) map seen above was published by the U.S. Forest Service. This free map is low resolution and does not contain the more recent trail additions and re-routes, or any of the unofficial, unmarked footpaths in Panthertown.

Our friends at HikeWNC have an older list with descriptions of some of the most popular trails in Panthertown Valley. They also have a GPS map with downloadable data you may wish to view. Some of the data may be outdated. As with all info, use it at your own risk.

History of Panthertown Trail System

Most of the trails in Panthertown have been here since before 1989 when Panthertown Valley became part of Nantahala National Forest. Many of the trails were created when Moltz Lumber Co., Liberty Insurance, and Duke Power owned the land. Some were built unsustainable, some were originally used as old logging roads and railroad beds, and some of the trails we still use today were created by the late Carlton McNeil.

Not all of the original trails made the cut to be included in the designated trail system.

In 2004, due to an increase in backcountry recreational usage, and to help avoid future user conflicts and resource degradation, the U.S. Forest Service proposed changes to how the trails in Panthertown would be managed, and which uses may be permitted, and which may not. Soon after, local volunteers stepped forward and offered to help with the conservation work that was needed, to help maintain the trails, and to help gather input from the public. That group later became known as Friends of Panthertown.

To have a better understanding of how the trail system uses in Panthertown were originally designated, view the 2009 U.S. Forest Service Decision Memo on the Panthertown Trail Project (which goes with the 2009 USFS map above). Download USFS Panthertown Trail Project Decision Memo (3.3MB PDF).

Other free sources for Panthertown Valley online maps and trail information:

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