Panther Creek Trail is a 11.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Turnerville, GA that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Panther Creek Trail are along US 441, 14 miles North of Cornelia. Turn left, following the sign, onto Glen Hardman Road. Immediately take a right onto Old 441; signs for the trailhead are in 1 mile. There is a $3 parking fee to park
This is tough. I decided to hike the entire trail, not just to the falls. As I looked at reviews I could find people who had hiked to the falls from both the trailhead off of 23, and from Yonah Dam, but nobody who did the whole thing. I left from the trailhead off of 23
Finding it is pretty easy and once you get started you immediately notice how "rooty" and eroded the trail is. This section is not difficult but will get your ankles if you are not cautious. Other than that, the first half is really straightforward. Really flat, with just a few spots where caution is needed. When you get about a half mile from the falls it gets a bit more technical but still manageable. People saying to not bring kids or dogs may be over-reacting a bit. I read a lot of reviews and people really are "big upping" this trail by calling out even the shortest stretches where care is needed. The first half is easy with some moderate sections and about 1/4 mile of challenging footing. Very few places you could get turned around. The split in the trail at 3/4 mile comes out right at the main trail so no worries there. Go left if you want the easier route.
The only caveat I would add here is that if it is raining or has rained recently this will be a whole different ballgame. The roots will be slick and the technical sections close to the waterfalls will be dangerous.
Falls are cool, but not the best. In the end, the people swarming all over the beach area ruin it and the trash tossed alongside the trail cinches it. Most people are pretty good, but as other reviewers have noted the trash really is pervasive. I saw no less than 20 water bottles scattered along the trail, teach in almost every fire pit in the camp-sites, and actual bags of garbage hanging in those same camp-sites. I guess this is where the real unsavories go to say they are campers and hikers while destroying the area around them. If you are a teen or twenty-something and want to go hang out then knock yourself out, just take your trash with you.
There is a lot of camping and if you go all the way to the falls it's like a campground. On Sunday AM there were probably 8 tents up along the beach and hammocks everywhere. Most of the sites along the trail were also full.
Once you get past the waterfalls the people disappear. The trail gets pretty technical (feels a lot like some of the ridges on the AT, oddly enough), there is a decent climb, and you stay along the creek most of the way. I preferred this half, so if you wanted to, you could take the back way, drive up Yonah Dam road, and walk to the falls from this direction. Somebody said it was impossible to find the trail head, but just go to the end of the gravel road, park, and cross the wooden bridge. Then turn right and walk.
I passed a guy on this half and startled him. Just for perspective he told me he hikes that half of the trail 8-10 times every year and has done so for the last 25 years when he is in the area. He said I was the only person he had ever seen on that half. Trail is maintained well, so just his luck, I'm sure, but that gives you an idea how many fewer people there are. Bonus: no trash
I see a lot of debates about the mileage. I ran my GPS and the falls came in at 3.9 miles from the trail head and the whole trail measured just a touch under 7 miles. Both ways about 13.5. I think my phone might be overstating mileage by about 10% based on recent recording so know that. This half was more technical than the first half.
I only gave 3 stars because of the people, erosion, and trash. First half is easy with moderate sections. Second half is moderate with difficult sections. Very few markings so if you are not confident in following a trail be careful if you go onto the second half.
Excellent hiking, beautiful falls; awesome payoff at the end of the trail.
Parts of this trail are flat and easy; a few sections are steep and dangerous. The beach and falls are gorgeous; our dog fetched endlessly in the pool at the falls.
Beautiful, went for a quick overnight camping trip, will be back to finish exploring and hiking.
Great trail but had some dangerous areas for children or inexperienced hikers. We backpacked the trail and found a spot to set up camp. Pretty surprised by the amount of trash left at campsite. Overall beautiful scenery and views.
This used to be one of my favorite trails, but as others have said, it needs some maintenance and the overuse has created many trash issues(inexperienced hikers?) My dogs (yellow labs)love this trail and do fine on all parts except exiting the final falls. The trail has eroded so much that it's difficult for them in a couple of spots. This does not prevent us from going. There are lots of spots to stop along the way and enjoy the water and amazing scenery. A nice mixture of moderate to difficult as well as lots of easy stretches. I'm rating it a three only because of the trash and lack of maintenance. Well worth the hike!
It's a great hike but was very disappointed with so much trash, place pack out your trash and leave no trace! The falls are worth the hike.
PANTHER CREEK NEAR TURNERVILLE IS NOT IN THE COHUTTA, IT IS IN THE CHATTAHOOCHEE NATIONAL FOREST. THE PANTHER CREEK IN COHUTTA IS AN INTERIOR TRAIL WITH A VERY STEEP WATERFALL. DONT MIX UP THE TWO.
This panther creek is nice, though the trail is always over crowded, suffering from erosion and there is always trash. So sad, as it is beautiful place. The trail continues past the falls, but it isn't well maintained and is loaded with poison ivy and downed trees.
One of our favorites! Spring especially!
fun and challenging well worth it
Absolutely amazing. It was hard and kinda scary at parts where you had to walk along the cliffs, but that is part of the fun of this trail. The falls at the end were amazing and well worth the challenging hike down. 10/10 would recommend.
Hike was about one hour and 45 min and was moderately difficult. The trail was well marked and there were many people on trail with us. No panthers. We enjoyed the but were disappointed with how much trash we saw. It would be way better if people cleaned up after themselves.
A litte tough for first timers, still like others have said it really makes you feel like a bad ass .
Love this place!!!!
I have hiked many trials in North Georgia, this one is way over hiked and way under maintained. I took my daughter (6yrs old) for in which she has hiked many trials with me and it was to dangerous. This could be a great hike but with the trash in combination with trail conditions, I would not recommend it.
Francisco had written a review about a month ago that I totally agree with. This gorgeous trail has become dangerous for children, first and foremost. So if you are thinking about taking a small child, forget it.
There are places where it is very difficult and dangerous for dogs.
And the saddest part about this hike was that there was trash everywhere. How can people do this to such a spectacular place?
This wonderful trail has been over-hiked and not maintained. Campers have almost clear cut several places along the river the smoke from their many fires made the air quality awful several places along the hike.
This hike is not for in inexperienced, out of shape or physically challenged. There are a number of places that require going up or down on all fours and felt more like rock climbing than hiking.
Budget cuts to the Park Service budget are clearly to blame. This trail needs a break from people and needs some serious maintenance.
All that being said, it used to be one of the most gorgeous hikes in the Southeast.
we had an awesome hike!!