When winter storm 'Jonas' swept through Western North Carolina the weekend prior to this hike, depositing a foot-and-a-half of snow on my corner of the mountains, I was understandably excited. I could at long last break out the snowshoes again! I was forced to impatiently wait a couple days, however. This is the south after all and it took some time to get the roads open again, particularly the roads leading into the surrounding forests. With daytime temps climbing back into the 40's after the storm I was seriously concerned I was going to miss my window for snowshoeing. So, when I ended up with a few afternoon hours to burn on a Thursday afternoon I didn't waste anytime choosing a destination.
Little Green Mountain in Panthertown Valley has become a favorite of mine the past couple of years. Primarily due to the fact that the trailhead to this wonderful peak is only a 10-mile drive from my house. Rising from the eastern edge of Panthertown, the open cliffs and ledges of Little Green offer up unspoiled natural beauty the likes of which are seldom matched in the Southern Appalachians. My plan was to do my 'classic loop' of Little Green. The hike would start from the Cold Mountain Trailhead and begin with a descent to Schoolhouse Falls, from which point I would climb up and over Little Green. From the summit of Little Green I would then descend its southern slopes to the Mac's Gap Trail which would, along with a quick side trip to Greenland Creek Falls, return me to the trailhead.
Thankfully, despite a couple days of snowmelt, I still found there to be a good 12-inch snowpack in the valley...more than adequate for snowshoes. The access road to the trailhead hadn't been plowed which wasn't surprising but it only added another half-mile-ish to the walk. It was wonderful location to enjoy my first snowshoe hike in years. So, come on along with me and see Panthertown Valley as few get to see it...in all its winter glory...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.157798, -82.998943
Hike Length: 5.5 miles Hike Duration: 3:15
Trailhead Temp: 40'F
Min. Elevation: 3,750' Max. Elevation: 4,040'
Total Vertical Gain: 800' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 145'