Panthertown Valley, near Cashiers, has been called the Yosemite of the East, with a broad valley floor flanked by granite cliffs that rise 200 to 300 feet. Located within the Nantahala National Forest, the scenic valley offers a network of trails and old logging roads that lead to waterfalls and spectacular overlooks.
In 1989, the North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy purchased 6,295 acres of the valley from Duke Power as an addition to the Nantahala National Forest and to protect the many natural communities of plants that thrive there, including the rare southern Appalachian bog and the swamp forest-bog community. The waterfalls have a wet microclimate that supports the highest concentration of rare plants in the valley, and the US Forest Service encourages visitors to view the falls from below rather than behind to prevent damage to the rare ferns, mosses, and liverworts that grow there. The
Twenty miles of native brook trout streams, including Panthertown, Greenland, and Flat Creeks, wind through Panthertown Valley, making it ideal for catch-and-release fishing. Primitive overnight camping is also permitted. A trail map is available from the US Forest Service office in Highlands.
Hours of Operation
Northeast of Cashiers. Travel approximately two miles east of Cashiers on US 64, turn left or north on SR 1120. Continue on 2.2 miles. Bear right or northeast on SR 1121. Continue 3.4 miles on SR 1121 to a flat parking area at a gap where the National Forest boundary begins. The access road from the gap makes an excellent foot travel path. No motor vehicles are allowed beyond this point.
Highlands Visitors Center