Hike to Warden, Jawbone, and Riding Ford Falls

Rate this Adventure Panthertown Trailhead

This 4.5 mile out and back takes you to three waterfalls, with the option to add on more adventures.

Warden, Jawbone, and Riding Ford Falls are three waterfalls located along the headwaters of the Tuckasegee River in Panthertown Valley. Not far from the Cold Mountain trailhead, these falls are quite popular in the summer. On a weekend, you will often find people playing in the pools below the falls. 

If you are not familiar with the area, be sure to pick up  a copy of Burt Kornegay's map which contains not only the official Forestry Service maps, but also the other trails maintained by the Friends of Panthertown Valley. While signs in the valley have greatly improved over the years, there are still many unmarked trails.  

Directions: Starting from the Cold Mountain trailhead, take the Panthertown Valley trail to Devil's Elbow trail. Shortly after passing under the power lines, there is a trail to the left which leads down to Warden Falls. After visiting Warden Falls, hop back on the main trail. Continue on the Devil's Elbow trail until you reach the Riding Ford trail. Jawbone Falls is located just upstream from Riding Ford falls. 

If you are feeling adventurous, continue further along the Devil's Elbow trail to Red Butt Falls. Or, stop at Schoolhouse Falls on your way back to the trailhead!  

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Hiking boots
  • Map 
  • Water and snacks
  • Camera
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RT Distance 4.5 Miles
Activities Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Waterfall

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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