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Panther Creek State Park Trails

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Over 28 miles of trail ramble through the tranquil woods at Panther Creek State Park. Some hug the banks of Cherokee Lake; some explore the depths of the forest, while others stretch across open fields. There's single-track, both wide and tight, mowed paths, plus a few old roads. The circuit of looped trails connect to each other allowing you to increase or decrease your mileage. Terrain varies from rock gardens to rolling hills and from easy to strenuous. Hike, run, mountain bike or ride a horse — there's something for everyone. While hikers have access to all 28.6 miles of trails, 10.2 miles are shared with mountain bikers. Equestrians are allowed on 11.2 miles of hiking trails.

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Hiking Only Trails

Norris Blackburn Trail: This 0.45-mile one-way trail climbs a short, moderately steep hill to the park's wildlife observation deck. Excellent for listening to owl calls in the early evening.
Road to Recycling Trail: This easy 1.2 mile one-way, interpretive trail educates hikers on the benefits of conserving our natural resources. This trail won the 2004 Governor's Greenways and Trails Stewardship Award.
Ore Mine Trail: Moderate in difficulty due to a series of short, steep hills, this 1.3-mile loop was named for the manganese mining operations that were in the area in the early 1800's. Manganese had an important property that was used in the production of steel and glass making.
Lost Road Trail: Following along the old "goat paths" that early settlers used in the 1900's, this moderate to strenuous, 1.9-mile loop steeply ascends River Ridge passing by stone foundations and privy depressions from old homesteads. Deer are often spotted along this trail.
Seven Sinkholes Trail: An easy 0.6-mile trail that weaves around seven distinct sinkholes then winds through a lush valley of cedar and pine. Sinkholes develop when rainfall dissolves the under-layer of porous limestone rock. Cavities are formed which then gradually enlarge to create sinkholes.
Ridge Crest Trail: This strenuous 0.7-mile one-way trail snakes its way down the Hunt Knob ridge over to the shoreline. At the lower end of the trail, you have an option to pick up the Hunt Knob trail or continue to the shores of Cherokee Lake where you're afforded wonderful lake front views.
Point Lookout Trail: This moderately strenuous trail steeply ascends from an elevation of 400 feet above the lake's shoreline to the highest elevation in the park at 1,460 feet. There are many outstanding vistas along this 1.9-mile loop.

Mountain Biking and hiking Trails

Old Wagon Trail: This 1.0-mile trail is the most popular trail in the Park. All ages and skill levels follow this trail as it contours Panther Creek.
Piney Cove Trail: Winding through tall pines, this 0.6-mile trail is a connector trail between Panther Path and the Old Farm trails. This is an excellent beginner mountain bike trail.
Deer Run Trail: Contouring the Lake, this 0.8-mile connector trail meanders around a series of curves and short, gentle hills as a connector trail from the Panther Path trail to the Trout Lily Trail.
Old Farm Trails: Excellent trail for viewing wildflowers and songbirds, this easy trail features a 1.0-mile inner loop and a 1.5-mile outer loop. The inner loop gently winds through cedar glades and bramble fields — think blackberries in summer! While the outer loop travels to the Pioneer Trail through open fields dotted with hardwood and pine stands.
Trout Lily Trail: Sections of this tail wind around the lake shoreline. This 2.0-mile moderate trail is the most technical trail in the park for mountain bikers due to its rooty and rocky terrain.
Panther Path Trail: Easy 0.9-mile loop winds through open fields and through shaded stands of hardwood.
Pioneer Trail: Winding through a pine and cedar forest, wildlife viewers will enjoy this 2.4-mile moderate loop.

Equestrian and hiking trails

Hunt Knob Trail: The 3.8-mile Hunt Knob trail is the longest trail in the park. This scenic trail follows the perimeter of Cherokee Lake 1.75 miles before ascending Hunt Knob Ridge. The trial offers variety from easy, straight, gently sloping sections along the lakeshore to strenuous, hilly sections around Hunt Knob. NOTE: The Hunt Knob trail is accessible only from the horse trailer parking area along a 1.6-mile connector trial. The total length of the Hunt Knob trail and the connector trail is 5.4-miles.
Maple Arch Trail: The 3.2-mile Maple Arch trail loop is moderately difficult and features short, steep hills and one very steep ascent. This trail is named for the unique tendency of Red and Silver Maple trees to form arches as they grow over the trail corridor. Much of the trail follows the shoreline of Cherokee Lake before sharply ascending River Ridge. The Maple Arch trail is excellent for observing waterfowl and other wildlife and offers many captivating views of Cherokee Lake. NOTE: The Maple Arch trail loop is accessible only from the horse trail parking area along a 2.6-mile connector trail. The total length of the Maple Arch trail and the connector trail is 5.8-miles.