Panther Creek Falls is one of our top three hikes. It’s the perfect length to make you feel accomplished. It’s not too hilly. And there’s a gorgeous waterfall at the end. This is the first time our hiking corgi, Scotch came along. There were places he struggled with, especially near the waterfalls, but he pulled through like a champ.
Panther Creek Falls is an in-and-out hike that totals 7 miles. It’s mostly an easy hike until the last half mile or so where the terrain becomes steep, rocky, and there’s one place where the path is completely washed away. It took Greg, Me, and Scotch 4 hours and 35 minutes in total. We stopped for short rests and snacks three times.
This trail is also known as “OH DEAR LORD WHY!?” at least it is to me and Greg. Don’t get me wrong, it was absolutely beautiful and we had an amazing time, but this 7.2 mile loop trail is nothing but hills. Over the course of this trail, you will fall and rise over 1000 feet in elevation, which makes total sense when you find out that Black Rock Mountain State Park is the highest elevation park in Georgia. And man, does it have some of the most glorious views. You can see for miles from the visitor’s center at the peak of the mountain. We totally want to go back and try our hand (or legs) at the other, shorter trails.
Greg and I decided to do something a bit different while on vacation. Instead of hiking one day, we decided to try a bike ride instead. From 7am to 10am on Wednesdays, Cades Cove is closed to all motorized traffic. Only walkers and bikers are allowed in. We figured this was the best time to go when there was no threat of being ran over by someone distracted by a wild turkey. We got up at 5am (yeah, you’re reading that right. We got up at 5am while on vacation), and was in Cades Cove by 7am renting our bikes.
I will tell you this truth right now–Biking uses a whole different set of leg muscles than hiking, muscles I didn’t even realize I had.
It took us almost exactly two hours to bike the 11-mile loop. And though it was tough, it was fun and utterly fantastic. I didn’t even fall off my bike even though it was the first time in at least fourteen years since I’ve been on one.
On the first full day (May 20) of our vacation in Townsend, TN, Greg and I drove through Cades Cove in the wee hours of the morning (okay, like 8am) so that we could get an early start on a popular hiking trail. The Abram’s Fall trail can be located just off of the Cades Cove loop soon before you get to the half-way point. You take a right turn onto a gravel road which will take you to the trail head. The trail itself follows Abram’s Creek for 2.5 miles (making it a 5 mile round trip) and terminates at the falls themselves. It’s a moderately difficult hike with the trail going up and down several hills, but there’s nothing too steep. We’ve done this trail once before several years ago, and it seemed a lot tougher back then than it did this time (now we’ve conquered a lot more strenuous trails, making this one pale in comparison). Overall, it was a gorgeous hike and an absolutely wonderful day.
Another weekend, another hike in the North Georgia Mountains. This time Greg and I loaded our backpacks with trial mix and water and headed to Clarkesville, GA to hike to the Panther Creek Falls. This particular trail is a total of 7 miles (3.5 in and the same 3.5 out). It took us four and a half hours. For the first three miles in, everything is pretty simple. The terrain is relatively flat with just some minor rolling hills. There’s nothing too scary, then that last .5 miles to the trail, you are holding on to rocks and roots for dear life, hoping that the mud underneath you doesn’t make you slip and fall 100 feet into the shallow, fast moving creek beneath you. I didn’t get any pictures of the really dangerous part; I was too busy using my hands to hold on for dear life.
It was AWESOME!
It was also a very long trip, which means I took LOTS of pictures (over 100, only posted 92 here).
The Raven Cliff Falls hike was unfortunately lacking ravens; however, the falls made up for it. No seriously–I fell down on my bum twice. Anyhoo, the hike was nice, although there were too many people and too many campers (leaving behind too much litter–Seriously, there was toilet paper EVERYWHERE!) to be able to fully enjoy the marvelous natural beauty of the area.
You can actually hike to the top of the cliffs. Greg and I decided against it. Climbing up wouldn’t have been an issue. The tumbling that would have happened on the climb down, though…Let’s just say that the falling I did on the regular trail was enough to screw up my hip, and I didn’t want to tempt the fates further.