6-29-09 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 not marked, but is fairly obvious. 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). 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. A very large tree fell across the viewing area a few years ago - just continue up to the left to get around the tree and to the rocks. The falls 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 a falls above Greenland Creek Falls - Carlton Falls. 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.
The second way to Greenland Creek from the parking area is via the Greenland Creek Trail #488. I haven't been on the section of this trail that begins at the end of the parking area, but the Kornegay map and the new Forest Service map show it on the left side of the parking area near the end. The Forest Service map shows it meeting Greenland Creek near 2 waterfalls they are calling Pothole Falls and Mac's Falls. The trail then continues to meet the Mac's Gap Trail #482 and continues on the 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 parking area and begin the hike to the right of the kiosk with the trail map on it. 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 #474. 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. 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. 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. 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.
From in front of 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 look to the left, 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.
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