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

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Nantahala National Forest

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.

Length8.0 miElevation gain1,299 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashBackpackingHikingHorseback ridingMountain bikingNature tripsBird watchingRunningForestViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlife
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Getting There

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.

US Forest Service, Nantahala National Forest - 828-526-3765

From I-40 take I-26 East to exit 40. Follow NC-280 west to US-64 near Brevard. Follow NC-64 through Brevard to Lake Toxaway. Turn North (right) on Cedar Creek Road and follow for approximately 2.2 miles. This will be about 1.9 miles East of Cashiers. Turn right at the brown and yellow USFS Panthertown sign on Breedlove Road. Follow for approximately 3.5 miles to gate and trailhead parking.

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Reviews (73)
Photos (1,114)
Activities (59)
Completed (303)
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@ Hopsandhiking
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 12, 2021
Hiking

If you do the loop make sure you follow the green trail markers once you get to Wilderness Falls. The trail can be somewhat confusing so download map on AllTrails or map it another way. Loop side of Macs Gap, Granny Burrel Falls and Wilderness falls section is kind of tight and technical. A couple deep creek crossings depending on your route and weather.

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Alessandra Smith
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Hiking
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Christy Scott
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Running

Very hard to follow. Got lost multiple times and just had to take trails that ran in the right general direction to get back. With the rainfall, some of the water crossings were dangerous. It is beautiful though.

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Zach Pazol
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HikingGreat!

Great loop, add about 2 miles to go up black rock mountain

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Tracey Parker
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Hiking

Not well marked, trail description is not accurate. Schoolhouse falls were pretty.

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Olivia Hedges
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Hiking

I ended up doing the trail backwards because I couldn’t find the trail through Mac’s Gap (if only I had walked 20 feet further!). All the side trails are not labeled, which does make it tricky, but using the map and GPS was a lifesaver. Especially on the ascent/descent of Little Green Mountain. There weren’t anymore spray painted arrows that I could see. Look for the little flags tied to trees to help you find the trail. The waterfalls were beautiful and bringing a pair of flip flops or water shoes is a great idea for walking through wider areas of water crossing the trail. Plenty of great campsites and further trails for backpacking. My GSD loved it and had a blast at the swimming holes.

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Alexey Kravtsov
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HikingRocky
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Amanda Allison
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HikingBugsOver grownRocky

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

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Chris S
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Hiking

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.

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Sarah Korellis
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HikingMuddy

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.

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Andy McCullough
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HikingMuddy
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Richard Kuerston
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Hiking

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.

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Alison Mann
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Hiking

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.

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John Sims
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Hiking

Beautiful trail but our venture to Little Green Mountain led us waaaay off trail somehow.

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Brad Bowser
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Chelsea Ashley
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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

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Carrie W
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Hiking

Nice trail, super views

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Jennifer Kristin
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Easy to get lost

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Hiking Family
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 15, 2016
Hiking

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.

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Greg Mercer
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Hiking

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

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Carrie Hinson
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Hiking

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

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Martha Barrett
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Hiking

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.

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Rick G
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Hiking

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

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Bob Schroeder
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Hiking

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.

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Matt Masem
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Hiking

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.

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Armando Thomas
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Hiking

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

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William Jones
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 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!

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Caleb Gaines
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Hiking

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.

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