Little Fern Trail to Lower Panther Trail to The Boardwalk and Pond

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User: AustinWhitewater - 3/12/2011

Location: River Place Nature Trail

Difficulty:  Solitude:
Miles Hiked: 2.00 Miles  Elapsed Time: N/A

I just did the 2 lower sections today as I was short on time. I entered at the Little Fern Trailhead which is the second of 2 along River Place Boulevard.
Little Fern Trail is mostly downhill from this trailhead and runs along Little Fern Creek, which has numerous pretty drop and pool sections.
Little Fern Creek and joins Panther Hollow Creek at Panther Junction. You have the option here of turning left or right. If you turn left (south) as I did you will be on the easy Lower Panther Trail which ends at the boardwalk and pond on Big View Drive. If you turn right (north) you will be heading into the 2 upper and more challenging sections.
All of the trails here are out and back. There are no loops. So if you park at a trail head you have to retrace your route to get back to your car. Don't worry about parking as there is plenty of parking along the street at all 3 trailheads.
The lower trails are very well defined and maintained, and on the lower sections I encountered very little gravel. They were mostly hard packed soil. And they were all single track except for the board grassy Water Line Trail.
There are 4 kiosks with excellent trail maps and descriptions. A kiosk is located at each trailhead and Panther Junction. The trails are very well marked.
I don't know where the elevation change of 1800' but it is wrong. Here is their trail information I obtained from one of the kiosks listing the trail system from the highest elevation to the lowest:
Canyon Trail - Canyon Trail Kiosk to Panther Hollow Creek - 1.0 mile - Highly difficult, many steep sections - 680' to 920' - Trailhead off River Place Boulevard
Upper Panther Trail - Canyon Trail Junction to Panther Junction Kiosk - 1.5 mile - Difficult with some level stretches, a few steep sections - 530' to 700'
Little Fern Trail - Upper Kiosk to Panther Junction Kiosk  - 0.5 mile - Moderately difficult, mildly steep sections - 560' to 700' - Trailhead off River Place Boulevard about 2/3 of the way down the trail system.
Lower Panther Trail - Panther Junction Kiosk to Boardwalk Kiosk - 0.5 mile - Moderate walk, mostly level - 520' to 560' - Trailhead is off Big View Drive at the pond next to the soccer fields.
Water Main Trail - Big View Drive to Little Fern Trail - 0.3 mile - Level easy walk - 530' to 560' - Trailhead is off Big View Drive at the pond - runs parallel to Lower Panther Trail but on other side of Panther Hollow Creek and the pond.
As you can see, the highest point on any of the trails is 920' (Canyon Trail) and the lowest 520' (Lower Panther Trail) for 400' of elevation change.
I really enjoyed my short hike here and will be back later this week to do the upper sections.

Area around River Place Nature Trail