Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Granny Burrell Falls in Panthertown Valley 4/19/2011

We began our hike from the west or Salt Rock trail head for Panthertown Valley.  We had read in a couple of places that four wheel drive might be required for the last part of the drive in but our van did fine.   There were potholes but the largest dip had been partially filled with gravel and we took it slow.  There were about fifteen cars at the trail head but we only saw a couple of people on the trail.  We started downhill on the Panthertown Valley trail which is a gravel road and very easy to follow.  There are frequent side trails some of which are marked and some that aren't.  We soon reached the Salt Rock overlook and our first views of the valley.  This valley has been referred to as the Yosemite of the East because of the granite domes.   We rested on the rocks and found a geocache before continuing our hike.

Continuing downhill we took a right turn at the Deep Gap trail thinking we could approach the falls from above.  This trail was more shaded and therefore cooler then the main trail.  We took a small trail on the left and got to within seven hundred feet of the falls when we dead ended at the creek.  We decided to backtrack and follow the suggested route to the falls rather then fording the creek.  This side trip was very pleasant with wildflowers in bloom.

Back on the main trail we continued downhill to a four way intersection.  We turned right on the Mac's gap trail.  This section was very pleasant with a couple of nice campsites.  After a short distance we came to a creek crossing on a small wooden bridge.  There was a sandy beach on the creek and the water was very clear.  It would be a nice place for summertime water play.  A right turn on the Granny Burrell Falls trail took us a short distance along the creek to the falls.  There were several places to step out onto the rocks at the creek side and view the falls.  The area below the falls also looked like a place for summertime water fun.

After finding the geocache hidden near the falls and taking a few pictures we headed back the way we came.  We will definitely be back to explore more of this valley.  There are many more waterfalls and other points of interest down here but they will have to wait for another day. 

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