Panther Branch Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,093' 333 m
Descent: -59' -18 m
High: 2,634' 803 m
Low: 1,600' 488 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 32% (18°)
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“Panther Branch starts wide and easy and ends narrow and steep with a couple waterfalls along the way.”— Rusty Bingham
Panther Branch is a 2.25-mile trail that is composed of two distinct sections. The first 0.8 miles is on a wide gravel trail with only 200' of elevation gain. The trail hugs the bank of the North Prong Flat Fork Creek for the 0.8 miles and there is a very scenic waterfall (Debord Falls) only 0.55 miles from the trailhead. There is a small overlook at the waterfall and stairs that lead down to the bottom of the falls.
At 0.8 miles, Panther Branch intersects the Emory Gap Trail. Emory Gap is a 0.5-mile spur which terminates at Emory Falls. The vast majority of hikers on this trail will take the trail to Emory Falls and then return without hiking the second half of the trail.
At the Emory Gap intersection, the Panther Branch Trail crosses the creek on a very nice trestle bridge and begins its climb up the mountain. This 1.4-mile portion of the trail is a narrow singletrack trail that climbs 800' before terminating at the North Old Mac Trail. This section provides solitude, creek views, forest views and a nice climb to get the heart pumping.
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Land Manager: Tennessee State Parks - Frozen Head State Park