Panthertown Valley - Little Green Mountain (12-11-13)
Panthertown Valley, part of the Nantahala National Forest, is 10,000 acres of some of the finest natural beauty the southern Appalachians has to offer. This high elevation valley boasts dozens of waterfalls and mountains which contain some of the highest cliff faces in the region. All but unknown a decade ago the area has now lost its 'hidden gem' status but still provides enough rugged backcountry to keep it from feeling overcrowded. The most difficult aspect of visiting the valley is deciding just where to go. Every trail provides access to some sort of natural wonder so return trips are mandatory if you want to experience all that Panthertown has to offer.
Despite essentially being right out my back door (a 20 minute drive from my home at the time) I have explored an embarrassingly small portion of the valley up to this point. It's a hiking deficit that I am determined to correct in the near future. This hike to Little Green Mountain (4,040'), one of the natural highlights to any visit to Panthertown, would mark my first foray into the backcountry of this amazing valley. This 5-mile loop would take me over the stunning open cliff faces of Little Green itself and past one of the valley's most popular and photogenic waterfalls. It promised to be a great hike that would only feed my desire to experience more of this remarkable place...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates:35.157798, -82.998943
Route Type: Loop Difficulty: HARD (due to trail conditions on Little Green)
Hike Length: 5.0 miles Hike Duration: 2:00
Trailhead Temp: 25'F Trail Traffic: 5-10 people
Min. Elevation: 3,750' Max. Elevation: 4,040'
Total Vertical Gain: 800' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 145'
Trails Used (blaze color): Little Green (unblazed), Panthertown Valley (unblazed)