About This Park

Panther State Forest, located on the border of West Virginia and Kentucky, is the state’s southernmost state forest. It occupies 7,810 rugged acres, and its heavily wooded surroundings offer a range of outdoor amenities like camping, hiking trails, scenic overlooks, fishing, picnicking, swimming and hunting.

Accommodations

Activities

Select an activity below to learn more
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • DeerViewing
    Hunting
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Swimming
Attraction is located outside of the park.
Groups, Meetings and Weddings Rules & Regulations Download Park Pack & Map Deals

History

Panther State Forest gets its name from Panther Creek, a tributary of the Tug Fork where a pioneer reportedly killed a panther. It was established in 1940 after the Welch Daily News spearheaded a “Pennies for Panther” campaign that raised more than $9,000 in community donations. 

Trails

Drift Branch Trail

This trail starts behind the Group Camp. (When the Group Camp is occupied the trail can be accessed from the footbridge downstream.) The first section is steep and follows a contour until the trail reaches a drain, then follows the drain. The trail crosses two roads and a powerline right of way. At the top of the hill the trail ends at the fire tower.

Distance:  1.7 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Twin Rocks Trail

The easiest trail in the forest, Twin Rocks starts on the Drift Branch Trail behind the Group Camp. (When the Group Camp is occupied the trail can be accessed from the footbridge downstream.) Twin Rocks veers right where Drift Branch leads around a contour. The trail then crosses a powerline right of way and leads down an old tram road and back onto the main road.

Distance: 0.75 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Overlook Trail

This trail can be accessed either from the campground or Georges Fork. The overlook structure has been removed but hikers can still find scenic views from the site.

Distance:  0.75 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Loop Trail

As the least utilized trail in the forest, Loop Trail is hard to follow on several sections and is recommended for experienced hikers.

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Additional Information

Picnicking

How about a nice picnic for a hot summer day? Panther has six shelters available for reservation by calling the office. Picnic areas vary, several have playgrounds, shelters, volleyball court, grills, picnic tables, and hand-pumps, and others are more tucked away with a fireplace and picnic table.  Make a reservation for your next family get-together now!

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