Explore more than 30 miles of trails in Panthertown
Friends of Panthertown maintains the Panthertown Valley Trail System
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 (2017).
Interactive maps of Panthertown: Hiking Project | All Trails | Trail Forks | Hike WNC
Panthertown Valley features more than 30 miles of rugged, primitive backcountry trails and U.S. Forest Service roads in Nantahala National Forest for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians to explore.
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 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.
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.
Our volunteers protect and maintain the official Panthertown Valley Trail System, consisting of 30 miles of multi-use, non-motorized public trails spread out over 6,311 acres. We only maintain the trails listed here that are part of the official U.S. Forest Service trail system.
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 original June 2009 Panthertown Trail System 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 USFS trail system map (featured at the trailhead bulletin boards) was printed in 2013 and is available for purchase at the USFS Nantahala district office in Franklin NC, at the Cradle of Forestry online store, and can also be downloaded onto mobile devices.
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. Use this info at your own risk.
We recommend you get yourself Burt Kornegay’s Guide’s Guide to Panthertown 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.
A bit of history – to have a better understanding of how the trail system uses in Panthertown were originally designated, view the April 2009 U.S. Forest Service Decision Memo (DM) on the Panthertown Trail Project, signed by the Nantahala National Forest District Ranger. 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.
Send us a Trail Condition Report and let us know if anywhere needs our attention.
Other free sources for Panthertown Valley online maps and trail information: