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Carlton Falls

Rhododendron, hemlock, and mountain laurel adorn this chute, which commemorates a man as memorable as the scenery itself.

Fed by Greenland Creek, this falls features multiple sections of sliding cascades, totaling 45 feet in height. The waterfall’s namesake, Carlton McNeill died at age 86 in 2007 after years of living in and caring for the hiking trails and scenery of Panthertown Valley. It’s hard to find a veteran hiker of the area who doesn’t have a memory of McNeill stumbling out of the woods to give them a hand with their expedition.

Contact Information

Get Directions 35.1447, -82.9945
Photo of Carlton Falls

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Hike Description

Hike to Greenland Creek Falls and look for the path climbing the bank beside the falls on river right. Make sure you have both hands free, and take a deep breath before you start the ridiculously steep climb. You’ll come to a boulder on the right where a faint path turns to the right behind the boulder. Stay left here on the main “trail.” You’ll soon finish the climb, then descend back to the creek.

The path comes out a few yards above the brink of Greenland Creek Falls. A small, scenic cascade lies upstream. Be careful if you get out in the creek here. The rocks are slippery.

The path follows the creek upstream from the top of Greenland Creek Falls. It’s sometimes close to the creek, sometimes several yards away, but always twisting and winding. About 225 yards from the brink of Greenland Creek Falls, you’ll pass close to the creek at a scenic section of long slides and cascades that end in a large pool. In another 325 yards, a 10-foot spur path leads to the creek below a small, scenic waterfall above a long pool. This little falls is named Halfway Falls on the Guide’s Guide to Panthertown map. You’ll want to spend time here.

Continuing on the trail, it’s another 0.42 mile to Carlton Falls. You can’t see the upper portion well from the base, but if you look around, you’ll find a path leading up the river-right side to the middle of the falls.

Leave No Trace — Seven Principles

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

For more details, visit
©1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics


  • Heed posted warning signs indicating danger and stay on established trails.
  • Never climb on or around waterfalls and never play in the water above a waterfall. Rocks can be slippery and it’s easy to lose your balance especially with bare feet. Currents near waterfalls can be extremely swift even in areas further upstream.
  • Never jump off waterfalls or dive into plunge pools at the base of waterfalls. Rocks and logs can be hidden beneath the surface of the water. Often waterfall pools have swirling water or currents that can drag and keep you underwater.
  • Even if you have seen other people enjoy playing around waterfalls, be aware they have been lucky to escape unharmed. Waterfalls are constantly changing with varying water flows and erosion of the rocks around them. The current from one place to the next may be faster than you anticipate and the arrangement of rocks or other debris such as logs in the plunge pool is ever changing.

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