Panther Creek Trail

#1 of 143 trails in Cohutta Wildlife Management Area

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Panther Creek Trail is a 7.2 mile trail located near Clarkesville, Georgia that features a waterfall and is accessible year-round. This trail is awesome since it has great diversity in terrain, and is really pretty in the Fall when the leaves turn.

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Justin Griffith (403)

12 Completed9 Reviews

Fairly mild trail with plenty of pretty scenery. Having the trail run along the creek makes for nice sounds and atmosphere. Panther is an excellent spot for overnight hike/camp trips as there are plentiful campgrounds along the trail and creek and the forest and terrain are just really nice to experience. If you want to camp the waterfall but the main area is full, keep going on the trail a little ways and there are some more areas just around the corner.

Reviews on the difficulty of this place seem to be split. If you're an intermediate or advanced hiker, you'll likely find this wildly easy, especially if you've spent plenty of time on the AT. The inclines here are practically non-existent by comparison and the trail at times is quite wide. I saw day hikers in August in pants without water doing this hike if that tells you anything. If you're not used to hiking, I could see some of the terrain here being quite a challenge, especially the area just before and after the falls.

This past weekend, we were the last people to leave the falls in the morning, behind three groups camping at the falls, one of which was a Boy Scout troop. Someone out there left a white kitchen-size trash bag overflowing with garbage. In addition, there were cigarette packs and water bottles all over the place. That is completely unacceptable. This is a hugely popular spot, so it's hard to not leave a trace, but everyone can certainly pick up their own garbage.

Distance-wise, it seems nobody can agree on how far the trail is, so I'll add to the confusion with my own number. I brought my FitBit to track steps and it reports that the waterfall is about 4 miles from Hwy 441.

Diana Ogles (161)

1 Completed1 Reviews

The blazes were few and far between, so we kept losing the trail and had to backtrack several times.

About one mile in, the trail branched and we took the right branch. Really rough and dangerous trail. On the way back, we found the upper trail that led from the left branch. It was ridiculously easy. So be sure to take the left branch.

Lots of people. There must have been thirty people camping along the 3.5 mile trail. Also tons of day hikers. Probably shared the falls with forty people. But it was very pretty and the cold water at the falls felt fantastic on a hot day.

Marsha Johnson Davis (581)

16 Completed12 Reviews

A challenging, yet rewarding, trail for a beginner as myself. I'm glad I went with a group because a few areas along the way were rather steep and rough terrain. Of course the falls are beautiful and be sure to take time along the way to enjoy the wonderful nature that surrounds you.
I ranked 4 stars because of poor trail maintenance and that the stated 3.5 miles of trail is an under estimate.

Shane Adams (155)

4 Completed4 Reviews

Be sure to take the high trail after about 3/4 of a mile. The low trail is dangerous and has some rough terrain.

Melissa G (36)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Great trail! Reminder: the trail head is across the street from the parking area. Sadly, it took us awhile to figure that out.

Mindy Stombler (101)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Lovely hike! Gorgeous waterfall at the end with a sandy bottom in the swimming hole (added a photo). I enjoyed hiking along the creek--many opportunities to enter the water. However the trail was poorly maintained--especially right toward the end with loose handrails and a relatively treacherous descent to the base of the falls (for a beginner). What was most disconcerting was that the sign at the trailhead measured this trail as 3.5 miles each way. Yet our GPS watches measured the distance at 4.5 miles--for a total of 9. For someone who is in shape, it may not be a big deal, but I hadn't hiked in months and was expecting 6 miles (based on descriptions), saw 7 miles on the sign when I arrived, and measured 9 miles by GPS watch. Any idea why there was such a discrepancy? I have no idea. Unlike most trails, people we passed seemed to remark that they were tired/surprised how far away the falls were. Could it be re-routing over time changed the mileage? Again, overall a pretty hike with a great waterfall at the end, wish it had been better maintained/safer and also measured accurately!

Bill Spellman (40)

2 Completed1 Reviews

Great trail to practice your first backpacking trail before going somewhere much more remote. Plenty of people around. Good swimming hole.

Louis P. (43)

A beautiful trail; however, it is not very well maintained and can be dangerous at times because of loose handrails. This is most notable at the final downward approach to the level area at the bottom of the falls from the cascades. As mentioned previously, one must be very careful when hiking this trail. There is an east end of the trail, approximately 2.4 mi, which is mentioned in some books, etc. This is extremely hard to find, not well marked (found one blaze at the trail head, but faded so much you have to be almost next to it) and IMHO is more treacherous during the first mile, than the west end of the trail. It is beautiful and follows the creek for most of the way. I give it 5 stars for beauty, and three for maintenance. Average= 4 stars

Ansley Maddox (119)

2 Completed1 Reviews

A difficult but very rewarding hike! The falls are absolutely beautiful, but the trail to it is not very well maintained and maybe even dangerous if one is not prepared. The trail head is a little hard to find, as maps tells you its in the wrong spot. I do not recommend this trail for families with small children or dogs (even though they are allowed on the trail) because in many places the trail is VERY narrow, at some places it is maybe 8 inches wide with a 60 foot drop with no rails, and the few rails that are in place aren't very stable. I went there for a picnic and it took me about 3 hours each way, and I am only a beginner. If you are planing on doing this hike do it when it hasn't rained recently,as the rocks are already slippery enough, don't go alone, bring $4 for parking, and be sure to bring plenty of water, food, and tp because there is nothing when you start the trail.

Jason Callaway (198)

4 Completed1 Reviews

My girlfriend and I for many months have been trying to do some serious hiking and finally made our way to Panther Creek. We read the information that all trail gives for how long and how treacherous. We found that the 7.2 miles is a one way trip. Started out at 3:30, got to the waterfalls at 6:15. We knew we had to make it back to the car, got there at 8:20 just before dark. 14 miles and 5 hours, with not enough water. Totally unprepared won't let that happen again. love and best wishes to all who venture on this trail its 14 miles round trip. Keep hiking