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Granny Burrell Falls
A hike through the middle of
Panthertown Valley. You'll visit
two waterfalls and climb one
Difficulty (1-5):
Distance (round trip):
Elevation change:
Round trip time:
0 miles
0 feet
3.5 hours
Arriving at Meadow Ridge from the
clubhouse, turn right before the pavilion
and drive 1.1 miles on gravel to the left-
hand turnoff into the Panthertown parking
area. Park somewhere along the road,
which ends at a gate in front of a power-line

Take the trail leading to the right of the
parking area. Within five minutes, you will
cross a footbridge to arrive at an old
logging road. Turn left on the road, and
pass a signboard with information about the
forest. The road, which follows the route of
railroad tracks used by lumbermen in the
early part of the century, will be visible on
your left as it switchbacks down the steep
hillside. Instead of remaining on the road as
it makes these curves, pick up the footpath
before the first bend. You’ll notice it near a
rain-collection station with a solar panel.
Bear right immediately and soon enough
you will rejoin the logging road farther down
the mountain.

Turn right, and as soon as you cross a
rickety wood-plank bridge over Greenland
Creek, turn left onto a trail leading through
the woods to the falls. When the falls are
within view, take note of the trail on your
right leading to the summit of Little Green

Stop at the falls for a snack or a swim. Then
retrace your steps to the steep trail up the
mountain, which will take about 30 minutes.
At the top the trail splits in several
directions, offering a number of different
options to sit and enjoy the view over
Panthertown. The valley before you is
defined by Blackrock Mountain on its right
wall, Big Green Mountain on the left, and, at
the far end, a bare granite face called Salt
Rock, near the trailhead closer to Cashiers
Valley. Little Green’s best sitting spots are
at the end of a path leading off to the right
through a pine forest.

After enjoying the views at the top of Little
Green Mountain, locate the white arrows
spray painted onto the rock (the arrows
begin at the rock face to the left as you
approach the summit on the trail up from
the waterfall). The trail down the east slope
of the mountain is easy to lose whenever it
surfaces from between rhododendrons onto
the wide-open rock, so take time to locate
the white arrows each time. The Cashiers
rescue squad is used to sending in
stretchers to rescue hikers who slip on the
rock, so be careful in wet or icy weather.

About 20 minutes after you leave the top,
you will connect to a logging road. Turn
right. The white-pine forest you enter is
what remains of a Christmas-tree plantation
from the 1960s. The Forest Service has
rerouted parts of the trail through here, so
note the short detours the new trails. When
you emerge from the pine forest, listen for
the sound of the falls and turn toward them
when a trail branches left at a wide, sandy
spot in the double-track road. If you reach a
wood-plank bridge, you’ve gone too far.

The trail to Granny Burrell Falls is only a
few hundred yards long. The falls are
named after an early settler who left the
valley after her husband was killed, likely by
poachers, in the 1930s.
Copyright 2016 by Tony Austin
Back at the logging road, continue in the direction you were heading. Within 10 minutes you’ll arrive at the
Three Trails Intersection, where the route you’ve been following meets the main thoroughfare through the
center of the valley. If you head left, you’ll arrive at Salt Rock and the Cashiers entrance to Panthertown. To
return to your car, turn right. The trail, running parallel to Panthertown Creek, splits shortly after a sandbar.
Just ahead of you, Greenland and Panthertown creek join to become the Tuckasegee River.

When you recognize the trail to your right leading to Schoolhouse Falls, you’ve completed your loop.

Now return the way you came. Continue over the bridge on the wide trail. When it goes around a bend to the
right, find the footpath leading back up the hill to the weather station. Just before the road enters private
property called Canaan Land, catch the trail at right to reach your car.