Volunteer with Friends of Panthertown

Saturday, January 16 CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER

1/15/21 5pm update from Krista Robb, Trail Stewardship Coordinator: Hello trail friends. After waiting until this afternoon to have the most up to date forecast for tomorrow, I have decided to cancel the workday for everyone’s safety and comfort. 

The weather models are forecasting Saturday’s high temp at Salt Rock Gap trail head at 4,100ft will be around 25 degrees. Winds up to 20mph will also come into play and bring temps down to a frigid 15 degrees. Folks, I know you’re excited about volunteering to support Panthertown trails. Thank you all for signing up and for your willingness to help! I hope you will join us again soon. The next upcoming workdays will be next Sat, Jan 23, and Jan 28. Fingers and toes crossed for workable weather! 

The trails in Panthertown are always in need of some maintenance. So grab your work gloves, lace up your hiking boots, and join us at an upcoming trail work day or event.

Our volunteer trail work days are the great time to give back, go hiking, and have fun with your friends. If you’ve noticed that the trails you are hiking in Panthertown Valley are worn deep from the tread of too many boots, you can do something about it. Panthertown has more than 30 miles of public trails to maintain.

Volunteer at one of our monthly Trail Work Days (typically the 3rd Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., plus many other opportunities throughout the season) to help us maintain and improve our most precious trails.

You won’t be alone. It’s a great chance to meet others who also love Panthertown. Everyone is welcome. Our volunteers have contributed thousands of hours helping us maintain the trails, bridges, and staircases in Panthertown Valley, installing and maintaining trail markers, removing trash, identifying and removing invasive species of plants, all while learning and practicing the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics.

Our volunteers are the heart of our organization. Become one!

Sign up to volunteer!

You can also Adopt-A-Trail in Panthertown!
Give us a call or e-mail if you’re interested.

Check our Calendar of Events for a list of upcoming work days.

Autumn 2020 Volunteers
Autumn 2020

Here’s what to expect: 

We usually hike about 4 to 5 miles – working along the way and taking breaks when the group needs to rest. We stop and take a lunch break when stomachs start growling and we usually finish up by around 2 – 2:30 pm. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to meet others and learn about Panthertown. The best part is that you go home tired and content knowing that you helped to maintain the trails in Panthertown for everyone to get to enjoy. A good deed, indeed!

Anyone interested in volunteering is welcome to attend – no previous trail work experience is necessary, however we do recommend you have some hiking experience, and the ability to hike on varied terrain, particularly gravel and compacted dirt backcountry trails. Tools and instruction will be provided. Contact us if you are interested in volunteering at one of our upcoming work days, if you would like to put together a service project for your group, or if you just need more information. We are happy to have your support of our mission!

Volunteers should bring:

  • We recommend you bring a day pack with your lunch, snacks, water, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, etc. and rain gear (just in case).
  • Bring work gloves if you have a pair, otherwise we will have extras to loan out (in adult sizes).
  • Wear long pants. Depending on the work we are doing that day you may get dirty, and there may be thorns or other natural hazards to protect yourself from, so please dress accordingly and in appropriate comfortable layers according to the season.
  • Volunteers should wear closed-toe footwear. Good sturdy shoes or boots, and a pair of dry socks, will go a long way towards enjoying your hike and having fun while volunteering. A spare pair of socks in your pack may come in handy to keep you comfortable, just in case.
  • U.S. Forest Service requires volunteers to wear personal protective equipment while doing trail work. We will have hard hats and eye protection available, or you may bring your own. All volunteers will participate in a safety orientation and job hazard analysis before any work begins.

Inclement Weather Policy: 

The trail work day will be canceled if it is raining or snowing. Volunteers who have signed-up in advance will be contacted via email if plans change.

Directions to Panthertown trailheads:

To Salt Rock Gap trailhead (west entrance):
Approximately 1.5 miles east of Cashiers on US 64, turn north (left coming from Cashiers, right coming from Sapphire/Lake Toxaway) on Cedar Creek Road (SR 1120). Continue on Cedar Creek Road for 2.2 miles and bear right (northeast) on Breedlove Road (SR 1121). There is a Forest Service sign here that indicates Panthertown Access. Drive 3.3 miles to the end of Breedlove Road until the pavement ends and turns to gravel. Continue ¼ mile on the Forest Service gravel road that leads to the Salt Rock trailhead parking area. Use caution and drive slowly as this road has many dips and pot holes.

To Cold Mountain Gap trailhead (east entrance):
From US 64, take NC 281 0.7 miles north. Go past the Lake Toxaway fire station (coming from US 64 this will be on your right). Turn left (north) on Cold Mountain Road and continue 6.0 miles. When the road ends (Canaan Land, a private development, will be straight ahead) bear left on a gravel road (there is a Forest Service sign here that indicates Panthertown Access). Then turn right on the first gravel road to reach the trail-head parking area. (If you miss the turn you’ll end up in a residential development). Parking is limited along the road and trailhead parking area.


Volunteering in Panthertown Valley (or at one of our events) can be a lot of fun and we greatly appreciate the work that our volunteers do. Having safe, maintained trails is incentive enough — but we have some bonuses for those who come out and volunteer with us more than a few times.

As a Friends organization working in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Friends of Panthertown volunteers can receive Volunteer Awards in recognition of outstanding volunteer service. Each year at our annual volunteer appreciation gathering we hand out awards and recognize our most committed volunteers.

Volunteer Patch

We have awarded our volunteers with Panthertown stickers, notebooks, water bottles, and t-shirts; we have given away camping gear, gift certificates and discounts to local stores, and

Through the U.S. Forest Service we offer Volunteer Award recognition pins and patches (every 100 hours), hats (at 200 hours), an Interagency Volunteer Pass (250 hours), t-shirts (500 hours), jackets (750 hours), belt buckles (1,000 hours) and other great incentives. Complimentary memberships are awarded to all volunteers who work at least four work days with us per year. Some volunteers have worked with us over 500 hours each year!

Volunteer Award: Interagency Volunteer Pass – in recognition of 250 volunteer hours

Volunteer Pass

What are the benefits of the pass? The pass covers the entrance and/or standard amenity fees on lands managed by the Forest Service, National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bureau of Land Management. Passes are valid for one year from issuance date.

How can I qualify for a Volunteer Pass? Accrue just 250 hours of volunteer service on participating Federal public lands [including Panthertown Valley and Nantahala National Forest] and you can receive a Volunteer Pass in recognition of your efforts. Simply coordinate tracking of your hours with your volunteer supervisor or volunteer coordinator.

Contact Us!
Friends of Panthertown

Return to Friends of Panthertown MAIN PAGE

Contact Information:
Friends of Panthertown, Inc.
P.O. Box 51
Cashiers, NC 28717
Phone: 828-269-HIKE (4453)
Email: friends@panthertown.org
Website: www.panthertown.org

“Protecting and maintaining Panthertown Valley”