8-21-14 Parking for this hike is at the Cold Mountain (east) entrance to Panthertown Valley. The hike is a more adventurous way to reach Schoolhouse Falls and you'll get to see 4 smaller waterfalls on Greenland Creek also! Two of the waterfalls are Mac's Falls and Pothole Falls - the other 2 are not on the maps. From Schoolhouse Falls, looping back up to the parking area via the Panthertown Valley Trail will make this a moderate hike of about 2.5 miles. Part of the trail - one of Carlton's no doubt - is not on the official forest service map, but is on the Kornegay map.
Begin the hike at the far end of the parking area on the Greenland Creek Trail #488 on the left side of the kiosk. If you do the loop, you'll come back out on the Panthertown Valley Trail which begins to the right of the kiosk. Follow the Greenland Creek Trail a very short distance to the power lines and walk under the tower. The trail continues on the opposite side into the woods. After about 10 minutes from the trail head, the trail splits and is not marked. The Greenland Creek Trail bears to the left, but you'll want to head right and down to the sound of Mac's Falls. In another couple of minutes the trail splits again. Take the left trail to head down to the waterfall. You'll be at the side of the waterfall - to get a frontal view you'll either have to wade out into the creek or head down creek about 20-30 yards and look for the small island you can hop out on to. The waterfall isn't very big - maybe 10' high - but it's nice and secluded.
From here, retrace your steps back up to the split and head left and down creek towards Pothole Falls. It's not very far, but this little section of trail is sketchy. You'll descend over a tangle of rhodo and laurel roots, then come to another split. Go right and come to a small section of exposed rock you'll have to maneuver around. If it's wet it will be slippery, but there's lots to hang on to. Continue down the trail a very short distance to Pothole Falls. The trail empties out on the bedrock below the waterfall (at the point where Cindy is standing in the 1st photo below), but getting from trail to bedrock is tricky as you'll see. It's a little steep, but only for a very short distance. Hold on to the last shrubs and stay low in case you slip. On a dry day, there's enough bedrock that stays dry where you can safely walk. This area is fairly open and there are several potholes near the waterfall. It's a great area to hang out for a bit and soak in the beauty.
The trail picks up a short distance down creek and you may have to get a foot wet here. Hug the rock on the right side of the creek. As soon as you are around, you'll see the trail on the right. After a very short distance down the trail, you'll see a wet weather trickle falls through the shrub on the right. Continue down the trail and through a small ravine. In less than 10 minutes from Pothole Falls, you'll come to the first unnamed waterfall. There's an area just down creek where you can get out for a better view. This is a very small falls, but the pool area below makes for a great scene in good light.
Continue down the trail from here and in a few minutes come to a more open area and a small campsite suitable for 1 to 2 tents. This one looks like it doesn't get used much. It was free of trash when I was there last, so please leave it that way if you camp there. In another few minutes, come to another split - stay to the right and down through the laurel tunnel. The next unnamed waterfall is a short distance from here. This one is really nice also and has much different character than the last.
After leaving this falls, continue down trail and cross a small feeder creek. In another 5 minutes come to another split. Go left and down. At the next trail split, go right and in a couple of minutes you'll be at the top of Schoolhouse Falls. Stay away from the top of the waterfall! Continue down to where a trail to the left brings you out at the base of the falls. You can get up to the side for a nice view from under the overhanging rock. Or, crossing the rocks where the creek continues down will take you to the beach area in front of the waterfall.
From the beach area facing the waterfall, look to the right and you'll see a small set of steps. Head up there to the split. Going left on the Little Green Trail will take you to some awesome views from Little Green Mountain. To continue the loop back to the parking area, go right at the split, over the boardwalk, and a short distance to the Panthertown Valley Trail. Turn right, go over the bridge, and continue up the trail which is now a gravel road. Pass the Devil's Elbow Trail on the left and continue on. In 3-4 minutes you'll come to a flat area where you should see a trail to the left. You can take this up, the left and up at a split and come out higher up on the Panthertown Valley Trail. Or you can just continue up the main trail. Either way, you'll cross under the power lines again before reaching the gate at Caanan Land. Turn right and follow the trail over the creek and back to the parking area.
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