Devil’s Elbow

Location: Western North Carolina
Trip Starts: SR 1301 (Cold Mt Gap)
Trip Ends: SR 1301 (Cold Mt Gap)
Total Distance: 3.8 miles
Hike Type: In & Out, Backtrack Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Trails Used: Trail 448
Trail Traffic: Light to Moderate
Trip Type: Day or Overnight Hike
More Information:

Nantahala National Forest
Highlands Ranger District
2010 Flat Mountain Rd,
Highlands, N.C. 28741
(828) 526-3765


The National Forest Service acquired Panthertown Valley in 1989 from Duke Power in a deal coordinated by the Nature Conservancy. Surprisingly, the area is still relatively wild with no blazes on the trails and only a few primitive campsites. However there are an amazing number of waterfalls that are packed into a relatively small area and they many have pools at their base which make for a great place to swim or fish. Just make sure you take a map and compass on your hike. There are many intersecting trails in the area and route finding can be difficult.

This hike in Panthertown Valley starts at the Cold Mountain Gap trailhead and descends to the main corridor trail to pick-up Trail 448 just before a wooden bridge and left turn to Schoolhouse Falls. Trail 448 breaks to the right just before the bridge and heads north across Little Green Creek and begins a wide decent up Devil’s Elbow. There are obstructed summer views from the summit but some mountains can be seen in the distance.

GPS Coordinates:

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