Atlanta TrailsbyTrailful Outdoor Co
Hiking Trails in Georgia

Panther Creek Falls

Hike or backpack to Panther Creek Falls, one of North Georgia’s most beautiful and popular waterfalls, and explore a lush stretch of the Chattahoochee National Forest.

georgia hiking trails: 6 or more miles 6.9 miles
(round trip)
? Your mileage may vary! Accuracy of your GPS device, weather conditions, and stops along your route will affect your own recorded distance.
georgia hiking trails: moderate to difficultmore
?Our difficulty estimate, based on distance, terrain, elevation change, & ease of wayfinding. May vary daily due to weather, trail reroutes, downed trees, etc.
georgia hiking trails: Okay for Trail-savvy dogs Challenging
for some dogs
?Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail, but it might be a challenging hike for your canine hiking buddy. Check out our favorite dog-friendly trails in Georgia for a great hike with your pup.

LOCATION:Chattahoochee National Forest near Tallulah Gorge

PACK:our Osprey day pack and our hiking gear list

OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 778 Trails Illustrated Map (find it at Trailful Outdoor Co.)

It’s one of North Georgia’s favorite waterfall hikes, and for a good reason: this 7-mile adventure travels to a series of cascading falls set in a beautiful forest, framed by towering trees and mossy boulders. This adventure hikes to Panther Creek Falls, a series of broad, multi-tiered waterfalls that tumble into a deep pool on a sandy beach.

The level, sandy flat below the waterfall is the perfect summertime spot to chill and to soak up some seriously beautiful North Georgia beauty. And the trail is studded with campsites along the way, making this hike one of North Georgia’s most popular backpacking trips. (All campsites are first-come, first camp, so be sure to arrive very early on fair-weather weekends. Please camp only in existing campsites, please pack out everything you pack in, and leave no trace.)

TRAIL UPDATE: after a long closure, the US Forest Service has reopened Panther Creek Trail to advanced hikers, and notes that bridge reconstruction and trail repairs will be ongoing through 2024. See the official USFS website for more information.

Hike or backpack to Panther Creek Falls, one of North Georgia’s most beautiful and popular waterfalls, and explore a lush stretch of the Chattahoochee National Forest. #hiking #running #camping #backpacking #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Panther Creek Falls: the hike

The adventure departs from the opposite side of Historic 441 from the Panther Creek picnic area (view maps and driving directions). The hike follows its namesake waterway downstream, traveling under a concrete overpass and diving into a young, mossy hardwood forest. The route ventures deeper into the forest and the sounds of the highway disappear in the distance. The trail crosses a small tributary creek at just under .5 mile.

The trail begins to climb elevation, catching views of the cascading creek far below as it travels through a clearing. The creek’s turbulent roar echoes through the forest as it tumbles over several just-out-of-sight waterfalls. The hike passes several just-off-trail campsites before reaching a massive rock outcrop overhang at .85 mile. Due to heavy trail traffic, erosion has closed some sections of the trail recently; follow the green trail blazes for the current route.

The trail rolls elevation, traversing a wooded area high above the creek valley. The hike descends to the creek’s banks, passing a large campsite and crossing the creek over a large wooden bridge at 1.5 miles.

Panther Creek Trail: top North Georgia hiking and backpacking trails

The trail explores a flat, sandy floodplain on the western shore, crossing the first of many small tributaries at 2 miles. The hike crosses another bridge and passes a large campsite, climbing elevation and rising high above the creek. Over the next mile, sections of the trail drop sharply and suddenly to the creek below, and the trail is extremely narrow.

At 2.25 miles, the trail veers left at a fork and reaches a series of tumbling waterfalls soon after. The route scrambles over several massive, chiseled rock outcrops and makes several more tributary crossings, nearing the large waterfall downstream.

The trail reaches the beautiful, multi-tiered waterfalls of the upper falls at 3.4 miles. Small cascades flow over a wide, tiered rock outcrop, pooling along banks filled with tall grasses and wildflowers.

Hike to Panther Creek Falls, a series of tumbling waterfalls in North Georgia

The hike crosses an enormous rock outcrop and descends to the base of Panther Creek Falls, reaching the towering waterfall’s sandy shores at 3.5 miles. Large, tumbled boulders line the creek’s sandy shoreline and make a great resting spot for viewing the beautiful, roaring tumbling waterfall.

After soaking up some scenic North Georgia beauty, the hike departs the falls, following the outbound route in reverse. The hike reaches the trailhead at 7 miles, completing the adventure.

Nearby hiking adventures

Follow an alternate, though much more difficult, approach to Panther Creek Falls from the trail’s eastern trailhead near Yonah Dam. The eastern trailhead offers a shorter route to the falls, but it’s a much more remote and strenuous hike, requiring some careful tracking and scrambling.

Or venture northward to the view-packed Tallulah Gorge State Park, and wander the park’s exceptional trails to lofty overlooks and views of the gorge’s incredible rushing waterfalls. Just east of Clayton, follow a segment of the Bartram Trail to Pinnacle Knob, visiting the tumbling cascades of Becky Branch Falls and Martin Creek Falls before climbing to stunning overlook views. And check out the list of our favorite hikes near Lake Burton and Rabun County for even more nearby adventure inspiration.

Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.

Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.

Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.

Panther Creek Falls Trail Map, Directions & Details

This map shows our approximate route while exploring this trail, but does not replace an official trail map. Please refer to the official trail map for the most current and accurate route.

Love the trail?

This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!

Driving Directions


Parking at the trailhead is $4 (cash, daily).

GPS Coordinates

34.698950, -83.419967     //     N34 41.937 W83 25.198

Elevation Profile

Panther Creek Falls Trail Elevation Profile

Eric Champlin is a creative director and photographer who loves to explore southeast. He's the co-owner of Trailful Outdoor Co, a locally-owned hiking outfitter shop in Hiawassee in the Georgia mountains near the Appalachian Trail. He’s also the co-founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.