Giant Ledge Catskills Hike
Mileage: About 3.4 Miles to the first ledge and back
Hike Time: About 3 hrs in ice and snow, no kids on this trip
Rise: About 1 thousand feet
Significance: Hike in the Catskills, awesome views. Next door panther mountain must be hiked in winter as well as summer to become a member of the Catskill 3500 club, this is your trail.
Here is some of what you need to know: In regards to cold weather hiking, their is nothing like it. Conditions are at their most primitive, the burden of survival is weighed more heavily on you, and their is a view of the landscape that you do not get 10 other months out of the year. The temperature at the bottom of the mountain was 10 degrees before the wind. The exceptional weather calls for some extra precautions. Dress right, hike with a buddy, bring supplies, sign in and sign out at the trail head, and make sure someone knows where you are going.
We wore several layers and were comfortable through most of our hike. Just before the assent to Panther mountain we come into a valley where we were full exposed to the winds. From there we could see that for the next 2-3 hrs we were committing to very Low temps, heavy winds, and snow squalls. We turned around.
1. Scroll the mouse over the altitude line to see where it lines up on the map
2. Click on the flags for more information
3. Click on the pictures to make them larger
The trail is rocky with brief periods of steep incline. It is a nice hike, the strenuous parts are broken up enough so you can get little walking breaks. As you go up the first 0.8 miles you can look up to the left and see a bump in the mountain, that is where the ledge is going to be.
At about 0.8 miles you will come to an intersection, you want to go left at the sign.
Their were 2 types of ice obstacles on this trail. First you had the large glacial type ice flow, these were easy to see and you can walk around. The second type was the ice between the rocks. This ice was covered by an inch or two of snow and was very difficult to see. Between the slipping and the trying not to slip it really slowed us down.
At about 1.6 miles you reach the first ledge and wow what a view. I was told you can see every Catskill mountain greater than 3500 ft from this Ledge except for two. Their were rows of mountains big and small, and a valley of leafless trees contrasted with the fresh white snow. The wind was blowing plumes of snow off of the tops of mountains. Later we saw the snow squalls make the mountains disappear. There are about 5 Ledge vistas, all having about the same views.
This is a great hike, and for amount of miles it takes to get their and back it is hard to beat. When it comes to hiking the Catskills this is a must do trail. Check out our other hikes in the area.