Nantahala National Forest: Greenland Creek Trail, Devil's Elbow Trail, and Shelton-Pisgah Trail to Shelton-Pisgah Mountain and Panthertail Mountain, Cashiers, North Carolina
Panthertown Valley is a mecca for outdoor recreation, with over a dozen waterfalls and many mountains that provide spectacular views. Some locations, such as Schoolhouse Falls and Little Green Mountain, are very popular. Other locations, such as Riding Ford Falls and Panthertail Mountain, are seldom visited or even heard of. On this hike, you will get to see as many as five waterfalls, with several others just a short ways off. Also, you'll visit two mountaintop vistas, with a third one nearby. Just make sure not to stray off too far on the unclear trail system on Panthertail Mountain, because you might have a long way back. This hike occurred on Saturday, May 28th, 2016. My plan was to begin this hike at Cold Mountain Gap, where I would take the Mac's Gap Trail to Greenland Creek. After hiking te short spur trail to Greenland Creek Falls, I would take the Greenland Creek Trail downstream along Greenland Creek, before turning onto an unofficial trail that led past Mac's Falls and Pothole Falls to Schoolhouse Falls. From Schoolhouse Falls, I would follow the Devil's Elbow Trail to its terminus at Shelton-Pisgah Trail, (with a short side trip to Riding Ford Falls along the way). Then, I would take the Shelton-Pisgah Trail across Shelton-Pisgah Mountain, before venturing onto a set of unofficial trails to Panthertail Mountain. From here, my plan was to return to Panthertown Valley by way of Little Green Creek, but things turned out otherwise, and I ended up following an unknown-to-me trail to Cold Mountain Gap Road.
What are some of the tallest waterfalls in north Georgia? You probably have the names "Amicalola Falls" and "Anna Ruby Falls" somewhere in your head. But what about Cochrans Falls? There is a possibility that you haven't heard that name before, and for good reason. This 600-foot waterfall is only around 130 feet lower than Amicalola Falls, but it is one of the most secluded waterfalls in the entire state and has nowhere near the fame of its taller neighbor to the west. On this hike, you'll follow a jeep road into the depth of the Cochrans Creek valley, before taking a rugged and steep goat path to Cochrans Falls and the head of this remote and very scenic area. This hike occurred on Saturday, May 21st, 2016. My plan was to follow a jeep road from Blackhawk Road along Cochrans Creek. At the terminus of the road, I would take an unofficial trail that would scramble along the creek and past the numerous lower cascades and drops of Cochrans Falls all the way to the uppermost and highest drop. I returned to Cochrans Falls on Saturday, June 2nd, 2018, for better photos. This trail report has been updated with new access information, and a new photo gallery can be found below.
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