Trail Run Project Logo

Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain Out and Back

Intermediate/Difficult
  3.5 ( 2 ) Favorite

Trail

6.9 mile 11.1 kilometer out and back
73% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,918' 585 m
Descent: -1,933' -589 m
High: 3,730' 1,137 m
Low: 2,229' 679 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 66% (34°)

Dogs

Leashed
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Lou Poulas

The most popular (and easiest) route to the summit of Panther Mountain, taking in the Giant Ledge along the way.

Lou Poulas

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Views

Overview

The reward for this steep and strenuous ascent to Panther Mountain is arguably the best view in the Catskill Mountains. An absolute gem in the autumn, this trail takes you to three main points of interest. First is a series of 5 ledges that overlook Woodland Valley and several Catskill Peaks in the distance, including Cross Mountain, Wittenberg Mountain, Mount Pleasant, Romer Mountain, and more. Second is a beautiful alpine forest with an intimate winding trail that routes to the third point of interest, Panther Mountain Summit. Normally this view would be reward enough for any run of this nature, but does play second fiddle to the 5 ledges, so if you're only here for the views it can be skipped, although it's best to see it all.

Need to Know

Around 1.3 miles into the ascent there is a Spring, just off the trail and clearly marked.

Description

This is a classic 'out and back' and therefore extremely simple to navigate, with only a lone spot for a possible misstep. The run commences on the yellow-blazed Phoenicia East Branch Trail (Yellow) headed east. After a flat first tenth of a mile, the next 0.65 miles are very steep ascending approximately 550 feet rather quickly with sections of up to 45% grade.

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.

Flora & Fauna

Expect typical northeast hardwood forest until near the summit of Panther Mountain where it turns into a lush Alpine Forest. Bear, Dear, and birds of prey can be seen in the area.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Runner Notes, History & Background

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.

Contacts

Rate This Featured Run

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In

Check-Ins

none

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#3950

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
50%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Featured Run Rankings

#102

in New York

#3,950

Overall
11 Views Last Month
51 Since Oct 23, 2019
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
50%
50%
0%
0%

Photos

just a little clearing with a gorgeous rock formation and beautiful fall colors
Oct 2, 2019 near Shokan, NY
Panther Mountain offers a gorgeous view of the surrounding, rolling hills.
Jun 25, 2017 near Shokan, NY
autumn view from one of the ledges
Oct 2, 2019 near Shokan, NY
The incredible view from the ledges of the "Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain" hike in the Catskills Mountains, NY.
Oct 29, 2019 near Shokan, NY
Classic autumn view from the Giant Ledge hike in the Catskills, NY
Oct 29, 2019 near Shokan, NY
We love the beautiful view from Giant Ledger.
Jun 25, 2017 near Shokan, NY

0 Comments

Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running