Best North Georgia Mountain Hikes: Panther Creek Trail

There’s no question that one of the big draws to the North Georgia Mountains is the exceptional hiking. Between the gorgeous rolling hills, the rich vegetation, the babbling brooks, the enchanting waterfalls, and the indescribable away-from-it-all feeling you get when you venture deep into the north Georgia forests, it doesn’t take much to see why folks flock to our neck of the woods. We are on part four of our best North Georgia Mountain hikes this week, and today we are going to talk about Panther Creek Trail. For the other entries into this series, take a look at our posts about Smith Creek Trail, Yonah Mountain Trail, and Raven Cliff Falls Trail. And then book a stay at our mountain top inn to experience it for yourself!


You’ll find the trailhead to Panther Creek Trail just outside of Turnerville, GA, along the Old Historic U.S. 441. It’s a beautiful pathway within the Chattahoochee National Forest and is a popular destination for waterfall lovers. The 7-mile out-and-back hike follows its namesake creek, with plenty of places to pause and enjoy the cascades leading up to the main waterfall. The hike was closed over the winter so that the Forestry Department could make significant improvements to the descent into the waterfall area, making it safer and more accessible.


You’ll start from the parking lot and cross under a concrete overpass into the mossy, hardwood forest where you’ll quickly leave behind the hustle and bustle of the highway. Step further into the woodlands to find rich vegetation, towering trees, and small tributaries to Panther Creek. At about .85 mile, you’ll come upon a large, rocky outcrop, and you’ll start to see some off-trail campsites. Continue further and you’ll cross a wooden bridge over the creek as you make your way down to the main falls. There are parts where the trail is extremely narrow, so make sure to pay attention to your steps as you carefully make your way down the path.

After a little over 2 miles, you’ll veer left and begin to hear the roar of the tumbling water and get a gorgeous view of the smaller waterfalls leading up to the main one. At about 3.5 miles you’ll reach the main falls. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on one of the many mossy boulders at the base of the falls or dip your toes in to cool off. Once you’ve taken in all the splendor, simply hike back the way you came, again, remembering to watch your step, especially in the steep, narrow areas of the path.

Spectacular Views

When you’re worn out from all the adventures, come back to Lucille’s for a comfortable overnight stay in one of our cozy, mountain top rooms (no hiking required!). We will spoil you with our decadent gourmet breakfasts and evening treats. Reserve time at our spa for a truly rejuvenating experience. Summer fun awaits, so book your stay today!