Schoolhouse Falls / Warden’s Falls

These falls are both located in Panthertown Valley and we used the trailhead at Cold Mountain road. When you reach the trailhead sign here you want the smaller blazed trail on the right, not the wider forest road beyond the gate.

This trail takes you down across a small bridge onto the switchbacks section of the Panthertown Valley trail. Continue along this trail until you can see the fairly major wooden bridge below Schoolhouse Falls (you haven’t seen Schoolhouse yet, but you probably heard it off to the left). Don’t cross the bridge! Instead take the trail to the right (Devil’s Elbow) which goes uphill. It will cross the power lines and give you a great view across the valley.

Not far past the powerlines you’ll re-enter the forest and then come to a small clearing. The main trail goes slightly to the right here and a very small trail goes straight ahead. This trail descends rather drastically and will leave you at the top of Warden’s Falls. This is a dangerous area, especially in high water. Do not enter the river here, turn right and pick your way down this bank along the faint trail here. You will come to a small bluff above a creek junction and from here figure out the best way down. You’ll have a partial view of Warden’s Falls here. To see it all you have to cross the river which is probably a wet crossing.

Warden’s Falls

This is a nice area but it is a difficult descent from the Devil’s Elbow Trail. From here we went back down Devil’s Elbow Trail to the bridge and this time we crossed it. Not far across it on the left is the Little Green trail which will take you directly to Schoolhouse Falls.

Schoolhouse Falls

This is perhaps the most popular destination in Panthertown and there are trails in all directions here. You can easily circumnavigate this pool to get behind the falls from either side, which is worth doing.

Behind Schoolhouse Falls

There is a small shortcut going back, from the opposite side of the river from the Little Green Trail an orange blazed trail leads up to the top of Schoolhouse (be careful here) and then reconnects with Panthertown near the bottom of the switchback section.