Hot Spot

Panthertown Valley | Aug. 30-Sept. 3, 2021

Panthertown Valley, NC

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Yosemite of the East,’ Panthertown Valley (part of the Nantahala National Forest of North Carolina) is home to dramatic granite cliffs, large waterfalls, trout-filled streams, and sweeping views. Because of these features, Panthertown is designated as a Blue Ridge National Heritage Area natural heritage site. Thirty miles of backcountry trails in Panthertown Valley are open to hikers, and many of those trails also allow mountain biking and equestrian activities.  The well-established trail system and stunning landscape draw in 25,000 visitors from around the world each year.  This ever-increasing level of visitation to an area less than 7,000 acres has caused significant impacts over the years, including campsite impacts, campfire impacts, and proliferation of undesignated trails. For the Hot Spot activation, the Subaru/Leave No Trace Team will be at Panthertown Valley leading a variety of workshops, outreach programs and community events, including opportunities for community involvement.

*Panthertown Valley is located on the ancestral lands of the ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East) and possibly other tribes*

Opportunities to Get Involved

Wednesday, September 1st

Leave No Trace Introductory Workshop – Skills & Ethics – in-person workshop, Bridge Park in Sylva

Check-in/meet & greet @ 5:30pm; Workshop @ 6:00pm

Workshop RSVP/Registration

Bring a chair or a picnic blanket and enjoy this grassy spot on Scott’s Creek in historic downtown Sylva. Arrive early and stay late to explore downtown or take a short walk to award-winning local restaurants, breweries, and a farmer’s market. Worth the trip.

Topics in this interactive workshop include:

  • Overview of Leave No Trace principles that protect the outdoors while minimizing our impacts to the land, soil, vegetation, water, wildlife, cultural resources and other visitors.
  • Leave No Trace guidelines to practice, promote and share whether in the backcountry, frontcountry, your favorite local parks and natural areas or in your everyday life.
  • Programs and resources of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and ways to get more involved.

Thursday, September 2nd

Service Project: The Great Panthertown Campsite Clean-up

9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Meet at Salt Rock Trailhead, Panthertown Valley

Service Project RSVP/Registration

Volunteers will work on projects to address campsite impacts such as removing trash, pruning and dispersing brush, drainage improvements, campfire ring and tent pad upkeep. Volunteers will be introduced to Leave No Trace and the Hot Spot program, receive a rundown on the service project and safety briefing, and learn more about how to protect Panthertown Valley. This project is limited to 20 volunteers. LUNCH provided! Register early!

COVID-19 Updates: All participants are asked to follow CDC guidelines and state and local requirements regarding Covid precautions. See the following links for more information:


NCDHHS Local requirements: 

USDA Forest Service Covid Updates: 


Contact Panthertown with questions.

Your donation helps bring Leave No Trace solutions to these impacted areas.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

Get the latest in Leave No Trace eNews in your inbox so you can stay informed and involved.