Panthertown Valley - Blackrock Mountain (2-3-14)
Blackrock Mountain forms the precipitous northern edge of the high elevation bowl that is Panthertown Valley. It's 4,440' elevation isn't all that high and you'd expect the summit to be thickly wooded, and you'd be right. However, like many of the mountains in this area its sports high, exposed cliff faces which offers stunning 180-degree views. The latest in a string of peaks I have recently hiked at Panthertown, Blackrock offers a unique south facing view of the entire valley from its ledges and all for a relatively quick and easy hike. This trip would start from the western end of the valley at the Salt Rock Gap Trailhead which is a little bit north off US-64, just east of the town of Cashiers. I'd be dropping down into the valley itself via the Panthertown and North Road Trails before climbing to the ridge just east of Blackrock's summit by way of a path with the unique name of Carleton's Way. Once I gained the ridge of Blackrock I'd follow the Overlook and Blackrock Trails past beautiful open ledges and the summit of Blackrock Mountain itself before returning to my car. In all this loop hike comes in at around 3 miles and I did it with photos and a generous stop at the ledges in about an hour-and-a-half.
Panthertown has yet to disappoint me and this was by far the easiest to follow and straightforward string of paths I've yet been on in the valley. So come along with me as I explore yet another corner of this wild and wonderful piece of hiking nirvana...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.168203, -83.039668
Route Type: Loop Difficulty: MODERATE
Hike Length: 3.0 miles Hike Duration: 1:45
Trailhead Temp: 45'F Trail Traffic: 1-5 people
Min. Elevation: 3,700' Max. Elevation: 4,400'
Total Vertical Gain: 700' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 233'
Trails Used (blaze color): Blackrock (unblazed), Blackrock Spur (unblazed), Carlton's Way (unblazed), North Road (unblazed), Overlook (unblazed), Panthertown Valley (unblazed)