Panthertown Valley View
The west entrance - also called the Cedar Creek or Salt Rock Gap entrance - offers numerous possibilities for excellent hikes, but you need a map! Begin the hike through the Valley on the Panthertown Valley Trail #474 which is the main trail that runs through Panthertown and connects both parking areas. Less than 10 minutes down the trail on the left is the beautiful view of Panthertown Valley pictured on the main page of the Panthertown Valley section of my site. The picture above is another view from this general area. If you had the Kornegay map, you might be able to find it! Just before you get to this area down the main trail is the Wilderness Falls Trail #490 on the right that heads towards Wilderness Falls. I was previously calling this falls the waterfall on Double Knob Gap Branch as it didn't have an official name. This trail has been rerouted since my last visit to this side of Panthertown, but it should be very obvious and marked. I'll get back there one of these days to check it out.
Wilderness Falls is probably about 60-70' high and flows over some banded rock. It's one of Panthertown's hidden treasures. If you are following on either map, the trail continues down creek and meanders through the forest. It's still fairly easy to follow, but there are a couple of smaller side trails. Stay on the one that looks the most used. In less than 1/2 mile the trail ends at the wider Deep Gap Trail #449. Frolictown Creek will be on the opposite side of the trail. Just to the right will be the waterfall pictured below, but look just a tad to the left for the trail that leads down the bank to the base of the falls. This waterfall isn't very big, but is a nice place to hang out for a bit.
An alternate route to both of these falls would be to come down the Pantherown Valley Trail, take a right on the Deep Gap Trail, go to Frolictown Falls first, then take the Wilderness Falls Trail up to the base of Wilderness Falls. This is where hiking in Panthertown Valley can be confusing. If you have the Kornegay map and compare it with the Forest Service map, you'll see there are a lot more trails in this area shown on the Kornegay map. Having a compass and knowing how to use it will help. If the map shows a trail heading west and your compass indicates you are heading south or north or east, you might not be where you think you are.
From Frolictown Falls, climb back up to the trail and head to the right on the Deep Gap Trail #449. Next stop on the waterfall tour would be Granny Burrell Falls. The Deep Gap Trail immediately forks - take the right fork which is the Granny Burrell Trail #486. In less than 1/4 mile, the trail crosses Panthertown Creek and you may have to get your feet wet to cross. Once across, bear left to pick up the trail that follows the creek down stream. If you turn right, this is now the Great Wall Trail #489 that leads to a large primitive camping area and the shelter marked on both maps. The trail down to Granny Burrell Falls is about 1/4 mile and the viewing area is an area of bedrock below the falls. Again, this waterfall isn't that big either. It's maybe 10' high, but then the creek flows over about 100' of bedrock and into a big shallow pool and it's an awesome area to hang out. The 2 shots below are from Granny Burrell Falls.
Granny Burrell Falls
looking down from Granny Burrell Falls
From here there are numerous possibilities of where to go next. To get back to the parking area, continue on the Granny Burrell Trail down creek a short distance until it ends at a wider trail - the Mac's Gap Trail #482. Turn left, cross the creek on a bridge and continue on this trail through a young pine forest with a small camping area. In about 1/4 mile, it interescts with the Panthertown Valley Trail that runs through the valley. Turn left and stay on this trail for about 1 mile back to the parking area.
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