Hiking Panther Creek

Saturday afternoon we drove to Clarksville, Georgia to hike Panther Creek Trail. You can choose to park in the small parking lot provided by the Chattahoochee Forest Service for $4/day, or you can choose to park along the side of the road for free. We were surprised by how many cars were there parked on the shoulder of the road. I'd guess about 30 cars or so. Since we were staying the night, we decided to pay to park in the designated parking area. Like most national parks, you put the money in the envelope and just slip it in the box. 



The sign reads the trail is about 7.5 miles long. Our fit bits averaged 8 miles and 15,000 steps. The trail crosses the creek several times throughout the hike and gives you multiple picture worthy angles and views. Along your hike, you'll come across several areas where you can pitch a tent or Eno. You don't have to camp beside the falls, although it does make for one gorgeous view to wake up to. Really, you can set up camp wherever is best for you. If you want to be close to the entrance, you can camp there, or if you want to camp in the middle or back of the trail, you can do that too. 



The trail was made up of three grades. The first mile was mostly declines, the second mile was mostly flat, and the third mile was inclines and declines. The final half of the trail was steep and downhill.  It was probably the hardest 5 minute decline I’ve ever hiked down. There wasn’t much to hold on to so I kept having to sit on my butt, and then stretch my toes down to the next rock and continue on. There was a chain link in some parts that you could hold onto, but in other areas it had fallen down, so use caution when grabbing. 


I think it would of been easier without the gear on our backs, but anytime I had to lean forward, I could feel the weight on my back leaning forward, throwing me off balance. It was challenging, but we successfully made it to the bottom of the falls. I went to take a picture only to realize I'd lost my phone on the trail. I'd taken a picture with it pretty recently so I knew it wasn't too far behind. Yay me, I got to back track and repeat the steep decline all over again. I ended up finding my phone on one of the hills where I took a big step up. Thankfully I found it before the next group of hikers behind us came across it. 
Miranda and I set up the tent, while Zac went searching for wood to build the fire. It was cute how set he was on building a fire. The guy next to us offered his fire to us, but no, Mr. Independent was going to start his own fire. Sure enough, he did just that! Lol, the guy next to us gave us some lint to help us keep our spark alive, and finally we had ourselves a fire. Thanks fellow camping dude! We enjoyed the fire for a bit, before putting it out and calling it a night. We huddled in the tent together and played around of Skippo before going to bed. We knew it was going to be a chilly night, but once it dropped into the 30's, we were reminded of just how cold the night would be. The sound of the waterfall outside our tent was like white noise. We were a little paranoid that we may encounter black bears, so I think everyone slept a little lighter than we would if we were at home in our beds, but overall, it wasn't too bad, just a little colder than we hoped for. 


Unzipping the tent to this gorgeous view, made the chilly night somewhat worth it all! Since it had rained throughout the night, we weren't able to start a fire and make breakfast and coffee like we had hoped to. Granola and water it was. We packed up our gear, took a few pictures, and began our trek back out of the trail. The trail was wet from the rain, so were cautious and careful on our way out. Zac managed to find a slippery spot and busted it, haha. His sleeping bag caught his fall so he was ok.  We've all had our fair share of slips and falls, so we willingly welcomed him to the club. 




One good thing about the rain, is it always makes for pretty falls. The best time to visit waterfall is after a good rainfall. 




After 3.5 miles of huffing and puffing our way back up the inclines, we successfully completed Panther Creek Trail. 

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2 comments

  1. Wow, 15,000 is a ton! Beautiful photos though. I love the waterfalls.

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  2. Sounds like you guys had fun! I love all the pretty nature pictures. Glad you were able to find your phone. I hate that panic when you realize you lost something!

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