World class wilderness hiking right in our backyard!
Panthertown Valley is one of the most spectacular areas in the southeast with cascading waterfalls, trout streams, panoramic views, sheer granite cliffs, the headwaters of the Tuckaseegee River and the east fork of Little Tennessee River, and biologically diverse habitats for wildlife and rare plant species. Because of its outstanding geologic formations, forests, streams and native plant life, Panthertown is designated as a Blue Ridge National Heritage Area natural heritage site and by The Wilderness Society as one of North Carolina’s Mountain Treasures. Thirty miles of backcountry trails in Panthertown Valley are open to hikers. Many of those trails also allow mountain biking and equestrian activities.
Panthertown is comprised of over 10,000 acres of protected public land in Nantahala National Forest and contains Panthertown Valley, Bonas Defeat, and Big Pisgah (located in Pisgah National Forest). Panthertown lies on the eastern continental divide in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Panthertown Valley, often referred to as “the Yosemite of the East”, is a popular 6,295 acre backcountry recreation area within the complex. Panthertown has thirty miles of U.S. Forest Service designated trails in the Nantahala National Forest. Visitors can enjoy deep gorges and broad valleys, mountain bogs and granitic rock domes, tranquil creeks and plunging waterfalls.
Hikers are free to explore the many trails and footpaths in Panthertown. Mountain bikers and equestrians are asked to please follow appropriate trail designations.
PISGAH NATIONAL FOREST
One of the first national forests in the Eastern United States, Pisgah National Forest was established by the federal government in 1916. It covers over 500,000 acres in twelve counties in Western North Carolina and contains original portion of George W. Vanderbilt’s once-vast Biltmore Estate. The roots of American Forest Conservation lie in Pisgah at the Cradle of Forestry, the brainchild of George Vanderbilt, Frederick Law Olmstead and Gifford Pinchot. Transylvania County contains a significant portion of the forest, as well as some of its most memorable landmarks, including Looking Glass Rock, Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock and the Cradle of Forestry Historic Site and Museum.
Visit The Adventurist’s Insider Tips to discover great hikes, waterfalls, mountain biking and rock climbing opportunities in this national treasure.
DUPONT STATE RECREATIONAL FOREST
Spanning over 10,000 acres of rolling hills and rocky crags between Brevard and Hendersonville, NC, Dupont State Forest houses some of Transylvania County’s most exciting climbing, biking and hiking opportunities.
The forest was established in 1996 following the generous sale of the land from the Dupont Corporation. The magnificent 2200 acre tract at the very heart of the forest, containing High Falls, Triple Falls and eerily beautiful Bridal Veil Falls was added to Dupont in 2000. Easily accessible from downtown Brevard, Dupont State Forest offers myriad opportunities for fishing, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and horseback riding. Other notable waterfalls in DuPont include Grassy Creek Falls, Wintergreen Falls and Hooker Falls.
DuPont has also served as a backdrop in several major motion pictures. Scenes from The Last of the Mohicans were shot at Hooker Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Triple Falls. Many pivotal action sequences in the smash film The Hunger Games were also shot in DuPont State Forest.
Check out The Adventurist’s Insider Tips for great ideas on where to go and what to do in DuPont.
GORGES STATE PARK
The newest addition to Transylvania County’s numerous parklands, Gorges was founded in 1999 following a generous sale from the Duke Energy Corporation. The lush park straddling the high edges of the Jocassee Gorges is temperate rainforest and home to at least twelve species of endangered plant and animal life, as well as an impressive roster of rare plant and animal species, unique to Gorges’ unusual ecosystem. The dramatic topography features many beautiful waterfalls and allows for all kinds of things to do, including hiking, climbing, mountain biking, fly fishing and camping.
Recent improvements have made Gorges State Park more visitor friendly than ever. Access roads, parking areas, trails and an impressive new visitor center have transformed Gorges into North Carolina’s best state park.
Check out The Adventurist’s Insider Tips for great ideas on what to see and do in Gorges.
- Gorges State Park (828) 966-9099