A feature on the beautiful waterfalls from Panther Town Valley in North Carolina. Including guide to water falls and on waterfall safety
From rock climbing to horse back riding, Panther Town Valley has it all. It is 6700 acres of unique treasure in Western North Carolina. The Valley is made up of a huge web like trail system leading to beautiful cliff overlooks or to stunning Waterfalls. Panther Town’s trails are all maintained. The trials have a variety of creative names from “the Devil’s Elbow” to “Rattlesnake Knob”.
One thing that Panther town is known for is it’s waterfalls in the valley. There are 12 waterfalls all together. Some are easy to get to while some you need to take foot trails to others. In this story we will explore 4 of Panther Town Valley’s waterfalls.
Riding Ford Falls is a pretty easy waterfall to find and cross. It is not a steep waterfall and there are rocks protruding from the water making for easy access from the top of the falls to the bottom. “Riding Ford” trail is off “the Devil’s Elbow” trail. You literally can’t miss it if you stay on the trail because you must cross through the waterfall to stay on the trail.
The cool thing about Riding Ford Falls is that it is right next to a campsite where rhododendron, a vine like tree, covers the site like a dome and at the foot of the falls there is a good bouldering rock. Also at the bottom of the falls there is a very noticeable hole, about three feet in diameter, that is so deep that you can swim in it and not be able to reach the bottom.
Riding Ford Falls is a good hike, from the Cold Mountain trail head. It is easy for beginners who don't hike very often. It isn't particularly a good spot for a swim but maybe if you want to just sit in the water and soak up some sun.
Jawbone Falls is literally about less than a football field’s length away from Riding Ford Fall. It is just up the river around the bend. From the rhododendron camp it is on the other side. So imagine a “U” the camp is smack dab in the middle of the bend.On the map on the left, the campsite is the red dot. Jawbone is unlike Riding Ford for two reasons. First it is off the main trail on the other side of the camp sight and second it leads into a small body of water, which is actually a good swimming hole on a hot day. Though playing in the waterfall is a bad idea because this waterfall is steep with rocks at the bottom and could seriously hurt you .
The hike to Jawbone is the same as Riding Ford Falls. You can either keep heading down the main trail or you can explore a little around the bend to find this stunning waterfall. If you would like to get to the top of this waterfall you have to get back onto “Devil’s Elbow” about a 10,000 feet back before you hit Riding Ford Falls. There is a small foot trail off to the side that goes downhill towards the river. Stay on that until you reach the top of Jawbone falls. This foot trail can be pretty rough at times and could get confused. Use foot trial with precaution.
Warden Falls is one of the more difficult waterfalls to get to. Mainly because you have to take footpaths down to it. It’s a stunning waterfall that is steep and keeps the water flowing quickly. The cool thing about Warden falls is on the left, if looking down the falls, in the middle of the falls there is a spot where the water slows down and creates a cool little swim spot. Then the water continues on a sliding rock into the river below.
At the bottom the river takes a sharp right turn and actually flows down to Jawbone and Riding Ford Falls. The water has eroded the rock, at the bottom, into a steep wall of rock. In the picture on the left you can see the steep rock that’s been formed by constant water erosion (on the right).
Warden falls is suggested for more experienced hikers. Maybe someone who hikes a little more than your average person and can spot out the foot trails. At the head of the foot trail to Warden Falls there is a tiny handmade sign pointing to a foot trail that says “to warden falls”. The trail down to warden falls is easy at the start because it is easy to see the trail and is a small decent but almost flat ground. Then the trail slowly gets harder to see and it gets really steep fast. Around the end of the trial, right before Warden Falls, you have to crawl or use the roots to hold yourself up while you head down to the falls.
Schoolhouse Falls is the gem of Panther Town Valley. When you think of a typical water fall, you imagine Schoolhouse Falls. This waterfall has one feature that the other waterfalls above don’t have. You can go underneath the water falling from the rocks. Also this waterfall has a beach for relaxing. It has a sandy shore connected to a great campsite. Schoolhouse falls is also a great swim spot where you can swim up to the waterfall or just hangout on the rocks.
Schoolhouse is on the “Little Green” trail right before you make the ascent up to Little Green Mountain. This is one of the easiest waterfalls to find from the Cold Mountain trail head. Suggested that anyone new to Panther Town Valley check out this magnificent waterfall.