My favorite place on the river

What is your favorite spot on the Tuckasegee?
Mine is Warden’s Falls in Panthertown. My late wife Pam and I use to like to go out on the rocks at the falls and lay in the sun for awhile.
I remember a particularly warm day in February a few years back when we lay on the rocks, sunned and listen to the rushing water that passed by just a few feet from us. I think we both dozed. It was kind of surreal.
Warden’s Falls is just downstream from where the Tuckasegee River begins –

Route from Tuckasegee origin, lower left, to Warden's Falls

where Greenland Creek and Panthertown Creek join. If you’ve ever been to Panthertown, Greenland Creek is the one that flows over Schoolhouse Falls. Panthertown Creek follows the valley floor trail, and there are interesting sandbars along the way.
Warden’s Falls is the first of a series of falls that gets the river on its way. Downstream, in fairly rapid succession, are Jawbone Falls, Riding Ford Falls and Elbow Falls. A little further down is Red Butt Falls, a good place to waterslide, according to Burt Kornegay, whose map of Panthertown is the best way to find these out-of-the-way places.
A hike along the Panthertown Valley Trail, which parallels Panthertown Creek, will get you to the river’s beginning.  Then to get to Warden’s Falls, you go up the Power Line Road Trail to where it takes a sharp bend to the left. A foot path to the right takes you under the power line and steeply downhill through woods to the river and the rocks.
A portion of the route – from river’s origin to the falls – is seen in the accompanying map. This is provided through the courtesy of Burt, whose map is for sale in Sylva at City Lights book store and Black Rock outfitters and in Bryson City at the bicycle shop. It can also be found at the Highlands Hiker in Cashiers and Highlands. Or you can order it directly from Burt at slickrockexpeditions.com.
The latest edition of the map was published in 2009, and overlays a USGS topographical map. Park boundaries; many, many Forest Service trails, and less maintained footpaths are outlined on the map, as well as the waterfalls and other points of interest.
So, what is your favorite place on the river. This blog is open to all. Let’s hear from you.

_ Bill Lee

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