Looking for a map?

We recommend Burt Kornegay’s Guide’s Guide to Panthertown (updated 2017) and  U.S. Forest Service Panthertown Valley Trail System map (printed 2013).

Panthertown Trail System Map
Older 2009 USFS Map
Panthertown features 30 miles of primitive backcountry trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians to enjoy in Nantahala National Forest.

Panthertown features more than 30 miles of primitive backcountry U.S. Forest Service trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians to enjoy in Nantahala National Forest.

Skip to the bottom of this page to file a Trail Condition Report and let us know if anywhere needs our attention.

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 recommend you come prepared when visiting. There are no facilities available here – no electricity, no restrooms, no water fountains, no trash cans. Please practice the principles of Leave No Trace when you visit. Pack it in, pack it out. Take only photographs, leave only footsteps.

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. Most importantly: We are volunteers.

Find out how you can help!

Find out how you and your group can Adopt-A-Trail in Panthertown!

Our volunteers protect and maintain the official Panthertown Trail System, consisting of 30 miles of multi-use, non-motorized public trails spread out over 6,300 acres. We only maintain the trails officially recognized by the U.S. Forest Service.

Although you may hike anywhere in Panthertown, mountain bikes and horses should stick to trails designated appropriately and Forest Service roads. Trails are marked Hike, Bike, Horse. Please stay on designated trails and yield to others passing. Trail etiquette applies.

Our volunteers do not maintain the hundreds of miles of unofficial 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. It’s easy to get lost in Panthertown. Stay on the trails. Bring a map and know how to use it.

You may view the original June 2009 Panthertown Trail System map (seen here) published by the U.S. Forest Service. This 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. Download USFS Map (708KB PDF). The updated U.S.F.S. trail system map of Panthertown Valley (featured on the bulletin boards at Panthertown) was first printed in 2013 and is currently available for purchase at USFS Nantahala Ranger office in Franklin, NC, at the Cradle of Forestry online store, and download onto mobile devices. You may want to grab a few copies for your friends. They make a good gift and are much better than getting lost.

Our friends over at Stay And Play In The Smokies have slightly modified the above map to make it easier to print out and navigate. Download their map here (9.9MB PDF). They also offer recommendations on places to go hiking and camping in Panthertown.

We highly recommend you get yourself Burt Kornegay’s Guide’s Guide to 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. Don’t leave home without it.

To have a better understanding of the trail system in Panthertown, view the U.S. Forest Service Decision Memo (DM) on the Panthertown Trail Project, signed in April 2009 by the District Ranger for the Nantahala National Forest. Download USFS Panthertown Trail Project Decision Memo (3.3MB PDF).

Would you like to leave us with a trail report? The more detailed your report the better.

Trail Condition Report

Other sources for Panthertown Valley trail information and hike suggestions:

Hiking Project (REI) – Panthertown Trail System

AllTrails – Panthertown Valley

HikeWNC – Hiking the Panthertown Valley

HikeWNC provides 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. As some trail descriptions may be outdated, use this info at your own risk.


  1. […] Panthertown is a remote, high-alpine valley in Jackson County sitting at 4,000 feet. While the trails here aren’t as notable as many others in the region, the scenery is spectacular, and a mountain bike is the best way to traverse the whole valley and see all of it. You absolutely must check out Schoolhouse Falls, which offers the incredible experience of walking 30 feet or so behind the curtain of a waterfall, with a cold pool out front for swimming and a beach full of crushed mica and garnets. […]

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