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Giant Ledge & Panther Mountain

Giant Ledge Panther Mountain

Overview of this Hike:

Distance: 6.87 miles from Rt 47.
Time: Average 4.75 hours round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,556 from Rt 47 DEC parking lot to Panther Mountain.
Best Time to Hike: Morning.
Difficulty: Moderate
VO Map No: 57 & 41
Catskill Highest: 17
Peak Elevation: 3,725'
Digital Mapper: Topo Terrain Satellite
Attractions: Spectacular views from multiple ledges with large number of mountains
Attractions: Peaceful Alpine forest on top of Panther Mtn
Unattractions: Rocky path
Common Animals:Black Bears, Coyotes, and porcupines
Risky Animals: Bears (Low)
Access Methods: Foot & snowshoe



Maps, Profile, and GPS files

Giant Ledge Panther Mountain GPS map
Giant Ledge Panther Mountain elevation profile
Click here to download the GPS file in Garmin GDB format
Click here to download the GPS file in Garmin TEXT format




Directions to Trail Head from New York State Thruway (Easist, not the shortest):

  • GPS Coordinates to DEC Parking Lot: N42 01.596 W74 24.223 - Elevation is approximately 2,167 feet
  • Take New York State Thruway to Exit 19 (Kingston).
  • Take a right out of the NYS Thruway toll booths onto Rt 28.
  • Go approximately 30.4 miles west on Rt 28
  • Take a left onto Rt 47 at Big Indian
  • Go 7.5 miles South on Rt 47
  • The DEC Parking lot is on the RIGHT side of the road, just before a sharp turn going uphill.



  • Special Circumstances about this Hike


    This trail can be very busy during the weekends. The parking lot fills up very quickly. The views from Giant Ledge are some of the best in the Catskill Mountains.

    Panther Mountain sits on top of a 375 million year old meterorite hit. The meterorite was approximately 1/2 mile wide. It sits 3300 feet below Panther mountain. Most of the rock on Panther Mountain is sand stone, which is just deposited sediments. If you go down near the Esopus Creek you will see significant fractucred rock, which is evidence of the meteor. You will not find this fractured rock on top of Panther Mountain. The mountain is earth that has risen over time. To learn more about this meteor, click on some of the links at the bottom of this page.


    Mile Stone Chart

    Mile PointAltitudeNotes
    0.002,167 DEC Parking Lot - GPS: N42 01.596 W74 24.223
    0.052,148 Start of Trail.
    0.172,221' DEC Registration Box.
    0.742,788' Trail Junction - Take LEFT to Giant Ledge & Panther Mountain
    1.343,000 Side trail to Spring - Spring is 250' away
    1.503,162 Giant Ledge #1.
    1.553,167 Giant Ledge #2.
    1.613,171 Camping Area - 150' off trail - side trail on the left.
    1.673,183 Giant Ledge #3.
    1.763,173 Giant Ledge #4.
    1.873,159 Giant Ledge #5.
    2.733,456 DEC 3500' elevation sign
    3.223,722 View from top of large rock on right side of trail.
    3.253,725 Panther Mountain Summit with view.
    3.433,700 Great View ledge just past the peak. - REVERSE your course back to your car - Do NOT continue straight!
    6.102,805 Trail Junction back to the Car - Take RIGHT.
    6.872,222 DEC Parking Lot.

    Hike to Giant Ledge Panther Mountain

    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    The DEC Panther Mountain Parking Lot is located at GPS: N42 01.596 W74 24.223 . While the parking lot is big, it does fill up quite quickly on the weekends. When it becomes full, people do park on the side of the road.

    The trail starts on the LEFT side of the telephone pole on the very left side of the picture.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    The trail is actually behind the guard rail, but inbetween the telephone pole and the street sign.

    The picture on teh RIGHT shows the sign just behind the guard rail
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    The trail starts out flat like the picture on the LEFT.

    Just below the bridge is West Kill Falls. It is sometimes called Buttermilk Falls or Giant Ledge Panther Mountain Falls.

    The picture on the right is the DEC registraion box. Registering provides money for maintenance, and may save your life.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    At mile post 0.17 miles, you will cross the only wooden bridge on this hike.

    This part of the Catskill Mountains has a lot of sandstone rocks. You will be seeing a lot of rocky trails on this hike.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    At mile post 0.74 miles, you will come to this trail junction pictured on the left. Straight will take you to Woodland Valley and the DEC campgrounds about 2.5 miles away. Left will take you to Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain. Go LEFT
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    The picture on the left shows the trail junction to Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    The trail for the next 1/2 mile will be basically flat like you see in the picture.

    The picture on the right shows the trail as it starts to climb in elevation.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    At mile post 1.34 you will see a trail off to the left. This trail will lead to a Spring. The Spring is about 250' from the trail. As you can see in the picture, someone pulled the pipe out of the spring. Hopefully the trail maintainer will put it back. After the spring the trail will continue to climb in elevation.

    At mile post 1.50, you will come to a small trail on the right. This small trail will lead to the first ledge. Some call it Giant Ledge #1. There are a number of ledges. Some bigger then others.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    The picture on the left shows the view over Woodland Valley. The picture on the Right shows a picture of Slide-Cornell-Wittenberg.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    At mile post 1.55 you will come to Giant Ledge #2. It is about 250 feet past Ledge #1. This appears to be the favorite of some local hikers.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Inbetween Giant Ledge #2 and Giant Ledge #3 is a side trail on the LEFT that will take you to a camping area. There is a yellow marker on the tree, but you have to be heading in the opposite direction to see it. The camping area does not have a lean-to, but has a very nice area for pitching a tent and camping. There are a number of places for multiple tents. It also a fire place and seats.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    A.t mile post 1.67 you will encounter Giant Ledge #3. It is just past the trail to the camping area.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    At mile post 1.76 you will encounter Giant Ledge #4.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    At mile post 1.87 you will encounter Giant Ledge #5. This is the last major ledge before you drop into the col and continue to Panther Mountain.

    There is also a section of the trail that goes right next to a ledge. The drop is around 100' down. There are some branches there to keep people from accidently walking off the ledge. Make sure that you do not walk off this section.

    Now you start dropping in elevation into the col between Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    As you go past the gentle col, you will start to climb up Panther Mountain. There is a good climb up the mountain. These two pictures are some of the more challenging sections. They are easier then they look in the picture.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    At mile post 2.73 (elevation 3,456') you will encounter the DEC 3500' sign. The sign is easy to miss since it was attached to the tree at a 90 degree angle.

    The picture on the right shows what the trail looks like as you start to approach the top of the mountain. The climb starts to level off.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    At mile post 3.22 (elevation 3722') you will see a large rock on the right. If you climb up on top of the rock, you will get a nice view.

    150 feet past the rock is the summit of Panther Mountain (3.25 miles - elevation 3725').
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    The picture shows the view from the summit. Unfortunately the day we took this picture, the clouds were rolling in as we arrived at the summit.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    If Panther Mountain is the end of the hike for you, I would recommend that you continue a little further for one more view point. The walk past the summit to this view point is excellent. The two pictures here show what the trail looks like.
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    Giant Ledge Panther Mountain
    The picture unfortunately still had clouds blocking most of the view. From this point you can also see the Ashokan Reservoir on the far right. You will also see the Woodland Valley and Slide-Cornell-Wittenberg.

    After you get done, REVERSE the course back to your car. If you continue straight, this will take you to another DEC parking lot on Rt 28, which will be a LONG ways from where you originally parked.
    Links and References:
    CatskillMountain.com Forum - Ask questions, talk about your experience with this hike
    Panther Mountain Meterorite Crater Information
    Panther Mountain Meterorite Crater Information
    DEC Information on the Slide Mountain Wilderness Area


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