Greenland Creek Falls - Panthertown Valley
Greenland Creek Falls

10-14-17  There are 3 trails you can take to access Greenland Creek if you are parked at the Cold Mountain Road entrance. Please refer to the new Forest Service trail map. The first one I'll mention will take you to Greenland Creek Falls. Come up to the Cold Mountain Road entrance and turn into the drive for the parking area. As soon as you make the right turn into the drive, pull off to the left and park anywhere you aren't blocking the drive. There is only room for about 4-5 vehicles here. The Mac's Gap Trail # 482 is on the left and is the trail you want. It's fairly easy and heads generally downhill. It is also shared with mountain bikes, so be on the look out for those. Follow this trail down for about 15-20 minutes (1/2 a mile or so). You will pass the narrower Greenland Creek Trail #488 on the right. The Mac's Gap Trail continues across (through) the creek, but you will want to take the continuation of the Greenland Creek Trail which heads to the left (east) up Greenland Creek. The trail here is narrower and winds through the rhododendron and laurel for about 1/2 mile to the base of Greenland Creek Falls, crossing a couple of smaller creeks on the way. Just before you get to the waterfall, the trail comes out on some rocks. You'll have to rock hop a bit to get a good view of the falls. The waterfall is about 50' high and is in 2 sections.


Greenland Creek Falls

You can cool off in the small pool at the base of the falls. The water is very clean, but is stained brown with tannin. The Kornegay map shows 2 waterfalls above Greenland Creek Falls - Halfway Falls and Carlton Falls. Click the link for directions and photos. The new Forest Service map shows this waterfall also, but does not show the trail continuing up to the waterfall. This is one of the trails that will no longer be maintained by the forest service, but you are welcome to take it up. Below is a video of all 3 waterfalls. Click here for a higher quality version of the video.

The second way to Greenland Creek from the east parking area is via the Greenland Creek Trail #488. After turning right on the drive to the parking area, continue up it all the way to the end and park. The trail begins at the gate to the left of the kiosk and is marked. Follow this trail for about 0.4 miles until it meets Greenland Creek near 2 waterfalls - Pothole Falls and Mac's Falls. A lesser trail follows Greenland Creek down creek to Schoolhouse Falls (see the link at the bottom of this page), but to get up creek to Greenland Creek Falls, continue up creek on the Greenland Creek Trail to where it meets the Mac's Gap Trail #482 and turn right to continue to Greenland Creek Falls as previously mentioned. The Greenland Creek Trail is hikers only.

The third way is to head to Schoolhouse Falls which is also on Greenland Creek. Go to the end of the main parking area and begin the hike to the right of the kiosk on the Panthertown Valley Trail #474. This short section of trail heads downhill through the woods for 5-10 minutes, crosses a small footbridge, and ends up on a road which is the Panthertown Valley Trail. Turn left here and continue down the road. The Panthertown Valley Trail connects the east and west entrances of Panthertown and is 3.25 miles in length total. Continue down the trail for a few minutes passing a metal bar gate. When the trail (road) makes a sharp bend to the left, you'll see what appears to be a remote weather station on the right. You may notice a smaller trail continuing straight through the briars, This trail is on the Kornegay map, but not on the Forest Service map. You can take it to a fork, then go right and continue a few more minutes downhill to connect back on to the Panthertown Valley Trail. Or, just continue down the Panthertown Valley Trail which is the road. In about 1/2 a mile, the Devil's Elbow Trail #448 forks off to the right. On the left are some posts connected by a cable and I can only assume this is a hitching post since this is also horse trail. Continue across the new bridge over Greenland Creek and look for the Little Green Trail #485 on the left. This follows the creek for a few minutes up to the base of Schoolhouse Falls.


Schoolhouse Falls

Just before you get to the falls, the Little Green Trail continues to the right and up to the top of Little Green Mountain, then back down to the Mac's Gap Trail #482. If you are standing in front of the pool looking at the waterfall, look to the left and you will see stepping stones across Greenland Creek. This will lead to a small trail to the right for a different angle of the falls, then back for a side view and behind the falls.


side view of Schoolhouse Falls

If you retrace your steps a short distance, you may notice a smaller trail heading up the left side of Greenland Creek. This is one of Carlton's trails and it's very scenic. It is on the Kornegay map, but is not shown on the new Forest Service map. I have this as a hike from the parking area, so the directions are backwards if you start at this end. You'll see 4 small waterfalls including Mac's and Pothole Falls, then connect on to the Greenland Creek Trail which you can take up to Greenland Creek Falls. Use your imagination - and a map - and pick a route that suits your hiking skills.

 

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