Red Butt Falls

A long, steady waterfall with a cavernous overhang, deep potholes, and unique flora - deep in Panthertown Valley.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
8.5 km
Ascent
257 m
Descent
257 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.1 km
High Point
1.2 km
Gradient
Red Butt Falls Map

Red Butt Falls is one of Pantertown Valley's most elusive waterfalls, and one that would leave your bottom red if you tried to slide down it. Though it could be fun to explore the falls and its numerous "potholes" in detail during low water, a cavernous overhang at the base of the falls offers the best view to enjoy the falls. Gnarled hemlocks, killed by the hemlock woody adelgid, can be seen towering along the banks of the river, though recent conservation efforts have produced a healthy habitat for hemlocks in nearby sections of the valley.

Description

Most of the hike is downhill, so know that the return trip will be more difficult than you expect. A unique selection of wild flora and fauna also accompany this hike, including liverwort, a non-vascular plant that grows on the underside of the cavernous overhang. As you stand there, also note how the rhododendron and mountain laurel are growing along the rock at unsuspecting angles and along cracks, paying homage to the plants' versatility and resilience in harsh conditions.

Panthertown Valley has two main trailheads: Cold Mountain and Salt Rock. Cold Mountain offers the best and most direct access to the falls, which is how it is mapped here. There are no restrooms or potable water at the trailhead, and it is a deceivingly long drive from town - so make sure you bring everything you need with you.

Should you have the time, and a copy of the Burt Kornegay's Map, other nearby waterfalls to consider include Schoolhouse Falls, Warden Falls, Riding Ford Falls, and the aforementioned Elbow Falls. If you'd like to explore Panthertown with a local guide, reach out to White Dot Adventures to inquire about guided excursions in the valley.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marchantiophyta

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area