Great Wall

Location: Western North Carolina
Trip Starts: SR 1301 (Cold Mt Gap)
Trip Ends: SR 1301 (Cold Mt Gap)
Total Distance: 6.9 miles
Hike Type: Roundtrip, Loop Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Trails Used: Greenland Creek, Macs Gap, Big Green, Great Wall, Panthertown Valley, Powerline Road Trails
Trail Traffic: Moderate to Heavy
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

Trail to Great Wall (Panthertown)

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 Greenland Creek via the Greenland Creek Trail. Here you have to take your shoes off or get them wet to cross the small stream, then pick up the Mac’s Gap Trail which ascends to the Big Green Trail. Watch for a trail on the left that is #489, The Great Wall Trail, then descend to Panthertown Creek and some nice camping areas in the southeastern section of the park.

From here, you follow the Great Wall Trail to Granny Burrell Falls where there are often people soaking at the base of the falls in the warmer months. Just ahead, you loop back up with the Mac’s Gap trail and can return to the Cold Mountain trailhead (and cut off some mileage). Another option (and the route shown here) is to continue along Panthertown Creek via the Panthertown Valley trail which eventually connects with the Powerline Road trail which takes you back to the trailhead.

This hike is a great way to see Panthertown Valley and takes you near three scenic falls in the park: Schoolhouse Falls, Granny Burrell Falls, and Greenland Creek Falls. Save some energy for both Schoolhouse and Greenland Creek Falls because they are located slightly off the trail.

GPS Coordinates:

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