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 more than 30 miles of rugged, primitive U.S. Forest Service 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The updated 2013 Panthertown Valley Trail System map (featured on the trailhead kiosks) can be purchased at the USFS Nantahala District office in Franklin, ordered online from the Cradle of Forestry, and can be downloaded onto a mobile device via Avenza map app.
We recommend you 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.
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.
A bit of background history – 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 (DM) on the Panthertown Trail Project, signed by the Nantahala National Forest District Ranger (which goes along with the 2009 USFS map). Download USFS Panthertown Trail Project Decision Memo (3.3MB PDF).
Other free sources for Panthertown Valley online maps and trail information: