Mac's Gap to Devil's Elbow and Panthertown Valley Loop Trail

HARD 61 reviews
#12 of 103 trails in

Mac's Gap to Devil's Elbow and Panthertown Valley Loop Trail is a 8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Glenville, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,299 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash



horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching





wild flowers


Granite rock outcrops, beautiful falls, also known as the Yosemite of the East. Follow the old roadbed from the trailhead to Salt Rock Gap (a small opening on your left) for good views of Little and Big Green Mtns. Continue down the old roadbed and stay left until you come to a 4-way trail junction. Go right. After crossing the bridge over Panthertown Creek, look for a trail to your right. Follow this trail for 0.1 miles to Granny Burrell falls. Return back to the main trail and continue east (right). Follow the most heavily traveled trail and veer right at the intersection at the bottom of Little Green Mtn. Look for a trail to the left ascending Little Green Mtn at approximately 2.2 miles. Climb to the summit of Little Green and follow the arrows around the rock dome. Ascend the trail on the East side of the summit to Schoolhouse Falls. Follow the trail back to the old roadbed and stay left until you return to the 4-way junction described above. Stay straight and ascend the trail back to the parking lot.

3 months ago

over grown
4 months ago

Lots of fun and worth the hike but it wasn’t very well marked and easy to get turned around!

5 months ago

It was awesome except the summit area for little green mountain isn’t well marked at all. You have to cut across the rock face and navigate down which seems a bit shady. We had to go through the brush to find the trail. Thankfully we got a little service at the peak. Just watch out during green months but otherwise was awesome. The falls you can underneath are rock house I believe. That is well worth it.

Make sure you have a map - very easy to get lost. Lots of creeks, ponds, and little waterfalls for swimming. Panther town trial portion has little shade. Majority of hike is horse friendly so watch out for droppings. On the out and back section lots of spots to camp. Overlook of mountain is gorgeous.

6 months ago

Excellent trail. I did it 3 days after doing the (12 mile) Yellow Mountain Trail. At times it was overwhelmingly easy. At other times it was slow and dangerous. Very lightly trafficked on a Friday in May. Great views and generally well marked. Brought a canine co-hiker who had no trouble at all, however (even on the steep rock ledges). Be forewarned, however, that the (black) trail markings near the northeast corner of the planned route (along the Tuckaseigee River) look like an exciting alternate trail/shortcut route. It was an exciting detour but was most definitely not a shortcut as no “trail” exists. Only go that direction if you don’t mind getting scraped up and wet, have a machete, brought a GPS/phone, and don’t mind a 55 minute mile.

9 months ago

This trail was fantastic! I would rate as moderate and lots of it was easy. Varied terrain, a few easy water crossings, gorgeous views and a couple awesome swimming holes.

Mon Apr 16 2018

Great Hike. As with all the trails in panthertown valley, take a GPS or a trail map. Portions of the trail (Panthertown Valley Trail) are well-marked, but other parts (Wilderness Falls) is not marked at all. Lots of overgrowth made staying on the trail difficult. Bring water shoes or prepare to cross streams without boots in the rainy Spring and Summer seasons here as water levels are high.

Thu Aug 24 2017

Sun Jul 09 2017

Beautiful hike!! Loved walking through the Granny Burrell bit but GOSH!!! The Schoolhouse waterfall was such a joy!! Absolutely wonderful and the water is sure to wake you up!! Seeing the view from Salt Gap during the early morning and then again after your hike

Wed Apr 05 2017

Nice trail, super views

Fri Nov 25 2016

Easy to get lost

Sat Oct 15 2016

There are so many trails in this park, it's easy to get turned around and lost. Take a trail map with you. The views are spectacular. Well worth visiting.

Wed Jul 20 2016

Great hike! The end was hard-all uphill after a 4+ mile loop. Will do again.

Wed Mar 30 2016

Not as pretty as some other ones...very narrow in some parts

Thu Mar 24 2016

Nice hike, great area. Blazes could be a little better marked on some of the smaller side trails, But all in all, great workout for me and my dog.

Mon Aug 03 2015

Very nice hike. You definitely have to put trails together to make a nice long loop, as long or short as you like.

Mon Jul 06 2015

This is a good hike, giving some challenges and a good workout. If you want to swim, there is a swimming area near the waterfall. Some of the signage could be better. Many of the blazes are 10 - 15 feet into the trail and are hard to find when you are looking for the trail. Some people have placed arrows on the rocks, but finding where the trail foes off the rocks is sometimes hard. I will do this hike again.

Sat Jul 12 2014

I've done the Panthertown loop a half dozen or so times now as well as many of the side paths and it's my favorite area in western North Carolina to hike. Most recently my wife, small dog, and child in a jogging stroller made this loop. The stroller had big wheels and we made it actually pretty good the entire way. It does get slightly steep at parts, but is an easy trail for the most part. Get the Panthertown map, it's definitely worth it. Good selection of waterfalls both on and off the beaten path. It gets busy in the summer.

Thu Jul 03 2014

Was a nice hike, busier than I had hoped but beautiful.

Thu Jun 26 2014

Big park! Get a map of all the trails. Went to two waterfalls and hiked about 7 miles today. Most trails are wide but get narrow at points. I think some trails could be marked a little better. I would definitely go back to see more of the waterfalls!

Wed May 28 2014

Hiked this trail for my second time today. I must admit that this trail is as beautiful this time as it was my first time. I highly recommend this trail.

Sun Sep 22 2013

Great trail! Just remember that in the description, the first right at the 4-way junction is called Mac's Gap. Don't get confused and continue on the Pantertown Valley trail (although if you do you can take a left at the other end of Mac's Gap to make the loop, but you'll just miss a lot). I had my dog and he had a blast, plenty of water options for him. He didn't even want the water I brought for him, he preferred the water options there! Views weren't quite as great as some of the other hikes in the area, but the trail and distance options are wonderful. And we saw a black bear up ahead on our way back which made it totally worth it.

Mon Mar 11 2013

Great hike, beautiful scenery even in March! We would love to go back in the summer to swim at Granny Burrell falls. Be careful of ice in the springtime on any northfacing wet surface. Additionally, when at the top of Little Green mountain look for spray painted arrows to get you down off the top. We got lost for a bit looking for the exit trail to continue the loop.

Thu Oct 06 2011

Beautiful area, did a day hike with the family, the terrain is really easy and it is pretty secluded except for the people working on the trails. Right alongside a small creek with a few small falls which were fun to play in nothing more. compared to my usual hiking it was a good break with great views just way too easy for my tastes.. waay to short...

Fri Aug 26 2011

really nice way to spend the day real nice red dot trails

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