Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain Out and Back
ElevationAscent: 1,918' 585 m
Descent: -1,933' -589 m
High: 3,730' 1,137 m
Low: 2,229' 679 m
GradeAvg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 66% (34°)
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“The most popular (and easiest) route to the summit of Panther Mountain, taking in the Giant Ledge along the way.”— Lou Poulas
At the top of this section, bear left (north) onto the blue-blazed Giant Ledge-Panther-Fox Hollow Trail. What starts with a manageable grade quickly steepens until reaching the 1st ledge at around the 1.6 mile mark. Four more ledges follow in quick succession in the next 4/10's of a mile. While each ledge offers a similar view looking east, it is absolutely worth it to visit all 5.
Once you've had your fill, continue north on Giant Ledge-Panther-Fox Hollow Trail, descending about 150 feet into a small valley before ascending the steepest section of the run, a nice 700 foot gain in 8/10's of a mile. Near the top, the forest canopy changes to a wonderful singletrack through alpine forest. As you approach the summit be sure to climb a neat rock formation for a summit-like view and then onto a last ledge at the 3.5 mile mark.
After a rewarding snack, retrace the route back to the parking lot, taking in each ledge once again on your descent. There are a few recreation side trails to unmarked ledges that are worth exploring as well. The only possible spot to lose direction is the right-hand turn onto Phoenicia East Branch Trail (Yellow). It's a memorable spot with signage so you should only get lost if daydreaming while taking in the forest surroundings.
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