“The Panthertown Loop combines the best of what the area has to offer in a 12-mile ride.
— Mark O'Neal
Get away from the crowds and experience the remote wilderness of Western North Carolina. This is probably the most frequently done loop in Panthertown. It can be ridden either way but seems to be most commonly traveled counter-clockwise.
Need to Know
- Historically Panthertown was known to have poorly marked trails and a difficult place to navigate. Getting lost here was common place. Nowadays, the trails are relatively well-marked and signs are present at most trail junctions. However, keep the MTB Project mobile app handy or take a paper map with you just in case.
- Mountain biking is not the primary user group here. All of the trails are multi-use and many of the trails in the area are hiking-only. Keep an eye out for hikers at all times.
This loop gives you a little bit of everything Panthertown has to offer. Steeps, roots, rocks, ruts, flow, and creeks. A bit like Pisgah but not quite as hard and there are fewer people to contend with.
Park at either Salt Rock Gap at the end of Breedlove Road (mapped as start for this Featured Ride) or Cold Mountain Gap at the end of Cold M Rd.
From Salt Rock Gap, take the Panthertown Valley Trail #474 - West
down into the valley. After it flattens out, take a right on Mac's Gap Trail #482
. Follow the singletrack through a potentially deep creek crossing that often requires a dismount.
Turn left at Cold Mountain Gap to follow the road through the parking lot where the end of Panthertown Valley Trail #474 - East
starts. Take this back into the valley. Turn right on the Powerline Road Trail #451
and follow it until the ridgeline. Turn left to stay on the Powerline Road Trail #451
and follow this until a four-way intersection.
Head left on the Blackrock Trail #447
for a fun climb and then descent that's all singletrack. You'll be reminded of Pisgah riding on this somewhat challenging trail (it's not too difficult, but by this point in the ride it will feel more demanding). The singletrack will take you all the way back down to the Salt Rock Gap parking area.
Note: If you want to go directly between Salt Rock Gap and Cold Mountain Gap, the center of the Panthertown Valley Trail is hiking-only. Divert to the North Road Trail #453