Catskills, NY: Panther Mountain

Climb the 18th-highest Catskill peak with a stop for amazing views from Giant Ledge on this 6.7 mile out-and-back.
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Climb the 18th-highest Catskill peak with a stop for amazing views from Giant Ledge on this 6.7 mile out-and-back.

From the parking lot on the hairpin turn on NY 47, walk slightly uphill and you will see the trailhead on the opposite side of the road. You'll enter the forest here and for the first portion of the hike, you will follow yellow trail markers.
Not far from the start of the trail, you will find the trail register. As with other trails in the area, remember to sign in and out in case of any emergencies and so the DEC can keep track of trail use. After the register, the trail begins to climb moderately with some steep sections. The trail is extremely rocky, so use caution especially if the trail is wet.
After about .7 mile, you will come to a large rock formation that looks like a ledge facing you. Climb up and over these rocks and the trail begins to curve to the left. Soon after this rock formation, you will reach a junction with the blue trail. From this point it is roughly .8 mile to Giant Ledge and about 2.3 miles to the summit of Panther. Follow the blue trail from the junction towards Panther. There are some steeper rock sections along the trail as you progress along the trail.

A little over .5 mile from the junction, there is a junction trail on your left that heads to a spring. I didn't check on the condition of the spring, and am not sure how reliable it is.
The trail continues to climb from here until you reach Giant Ledge on your right. There is actually a series of 3 or 4 ledge overlooks in this area, and since there are no signs, I assume they collectively are known as Giant Ledge. They all have the same amazing view to the east. This is a great spot to stop for lunch and to take some photos of the surrounding landscape.
From the ledge, proceed north towards the summit. Again the trail climbs steeply in sections with some tricky rock pitches to climb over and around. There will be some other spots with views here and there, but mostly the trail is closed in with vegetation in the summer. As you reach the summit area, the trail finally begins to level out. There is no sign marking the summit (apparently there used to be), but there is one more nice viewpoint here from a rock outcropping. Take in the views again before retracing your steps back to the start.

-Mapped by Bryan Swain

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 10.5

Waypoints

PAN001

Location: 42.02647, -74.40347

The trailhead is located on the east side on County Road 47 just slightly south of the parking area.

PAN002

Location: 42.02798, -74.39187

At this point on the trail, there is a large rock formation that appears like a ledge facing you. Climb up and around it to continue on the trail.

PAN003

Location: 42.02802, -74.39141

At the trail junction, turn left here to follow the blue marked trail north towards the Panther summit.

PAN004

Location: 42.03497, -74.39493

Several large boulders are in this spot just on the left side of the trail. Nice place to take a short break on your climb.

PAN005

Location: 42.03546, -74.39499

A spur trail heads to the west here, leading to a spring. We do not know how reliable it is, however.

PAN006

Location: 42.03762, -74.39448

Giant Ledge. There are 3 or 4 separate ledges in this area with great views to to the east. You can see several other peaks on a clear day.

PAN007

Location: 42.05665, -74.39421

Panther Mountain Summit. As with many other peaks in this area, there is no sign marking the summit. However there is another nice viewpoint to the east on (or near) this summit where you can take a break before your return trip.

Giant Ledge Pano

Location: 42.038329, -74.394865

Panoramic photo of the view east from Giant Ledge.

3,500 feet

Location: 42.051119, -74.394487

3,500 feet sign on trail between Giant Ledge and Panther summit.

Trailhead

Location: 42.02647, -74.403424

Trailhead is on the east side of 47 - follow the yellow markers.

Giant Ledges

Location: 42.037621, -74.394493

Another view of one of the ledges with the view beyond.

Notch

Location: 42.048424, -74.395297

One of the rock notches that the trail climbs through.

Rocky trail

Location: 42.02742, -74.39377

The trail is very rocky in areas, so watch your footing.

Trail Junction

Location: 42.028373, -74.391281

Trail junction.

Summit View

Location: 42.056657, -74.394256

View from Panther summit.

3500' elevation

Location: 42.051141, -74.394522

This point is where the trail crosses above 3500'. Special DEC restrictions on camping apply above this elevation.