Panthertown Valley

Panthertown Valley

Approximate size: 8,762 acres

Old growth acreage: 82 acres

Location: To the west of Blue Ridge Parkway and north of the NC/SC boundary, Jackson County; Nantahala National Forest

USGS Topographic Maps: Lake Toxaway, Reid

Panthertown Valley, (correctly pronounced “paintertown,” as any local will take pains to tell you), is often referred to as the “Yosemite of the East” because of the massive rock outcrops soaring up to 800 feet high to surround the level valley floor.

This Mountain Treasure is the unspoiled headwaters of the Tuckasegee River, which begins where Greenland and Panthertown Creeks join in the valley and then drops through the nearly inaccessible Devil’s Elbow gorge.

This exquisite piece of wild land, once severely clear cut, is today a place of outstanding recreational value, with its exceptional trout streams and a wide variety of exploring possibilities on trails that follow old logging roads. Panthertown attracts many outdoor enthusiasts including hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, rock climbers, photographers, anglers and birders.

Looking Glass Rock rises from the forest floor like a giant sentinel. Photo by Lamar Marshall

The valley is geologically unusual in having a flat, sandy bottom bordered by the big rock knobs. There is a very unusual large bog bordered by a pine forest lying along Panthertown Creek between Big and Little Green Mountains. Trails lead to the tops of both mountains.

Among the scenic delights of the area are its waterfalls, with a large one on Greenland Creek east of the Little Green. Panthertown Creek cascades just northeast of the bog and again upstream, northwest of Big Green Mountain. The Mountain Treasure runs all the way to the Bonas Defeat Gorge of the Tuckasegee River and there is a 250-foot waterfall on Flat Creek in this area.

Biologically, Panthertown is noted for its extensive mountain bog and high quality grantite domes, all of which have several rare species.

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