Giant Ledge Hike in the Catskills (Ultimate Guide)

Giant Ledge is one of the most rewarding, scenic and popular hikes in the Hudson Valley. This Ultimate Guide has everything you need to know before you go.

Hike Length: 4.6 miles (7.40 km)

Total Ascent: 1,050ft (320m)

Intensity: Moderate Catskills Hike

Route Type: Out-and-Back

Includes: Blazed Trail, Unmarked Trail, Herd Path, Rock Scrambles, Road Walk, Stream Crossing

Parent Giant Ledge

Similar Entries In: Catskills, The Best Hikes, The Moderate Hikes, The Most Popular Hikes, , , , , , , , , .

Giant Ledge in the Catskills

Giant Ledge at dawn

Disclosure: This content may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

 A classic out-and-back.

Hiking Trail Description

The rugged and challenging Giant Ledge hike has long been one of the best in the Catskills. It rewards in every season.

With multiple distinct ledges offering awe-inspiring views, the hike to Giant Ledge is a favorite among Hudson Valley explorers, especially during fall foliage season.

Situated near Big Indian, New York, Giant Ledge beckons both seasoned hikers and newcomers to The Catskills. The trail, considered a challenging route, promises a rewarding journey through pristine wilderness to panoramic vistas. Multiple ledges provide ample opportunities to pause and soak in the magnificent surroundings.

Known for its remarkable effort-to-payoff ratio, those seeking an extra challenge can extend the basic 3.2-mile round-trip route by hiking out to the pine-cloaked 3,724-foot summit of Panther Mountain.

You might also enjoy…

Giant Ledge Hike

The Giant Ledge hike includes…

  • Footbridge over Esopus Creek
  • Steep rocky trail
  • A boulder field dominated by a beloved Catskill Ent
  • A generally reliable mountain spring
  • Some of the most breathtaking views in the Catskills
  • Multiple camping spots all over the mountain
  • A small view that most visitors never see

The attached GPS route for Giant Ledge takes in the mountain spring, primitive campsite on the ridge, all the main viewing ledges which face east, multiple primitive campsites on the summit, and the summit view which faces west.

A full breakdown is provided in the trail notes below, with over two dozen stunning photos.

How Long is the Giant Ledge Hike in the Catskills?

If you hike only to the main views and back, allow 2-3 hours for this hike.

If you want to hit everything contained in this very detailed trail guide, allow 3-4 hours.

Parking for Giant Ledge Hike

Get here early. And I mean early-early. For such a popular destination, parking in scant. On busy days, the lot is full by 8am and even earlier. Hikers, runners and photographers being arriving long before dawn.

giant ledge hike in the catskills / parking is meager
Parking is scant

Cell Service & Navigation

As in much of the Catskills, cell service here is spotty. Do not expect to be able to navigate this region with a cell-only service like Google Maps. Make sure you have AllTraills, GaiaGPS on your phone, or a paper map, to help keep you on track. This is a short hike, but it is still a wilderness hike.

Proper hiking footwear is also highly recommended, too, as this is definitely not a trail for Vans or sneakers.

Is Camping Allowed on Giant Ledge?

Yes! Because this Catskills summit is below 3500 feet, you can camp overnight here at any time of year — as long as you pitch your spot at least 150 feet from the trail or any water source. The best places to camp are at the official primitive campsites which are adequately hardened and most have stone fire rings.

Panther Mountain Crater

As is obvious from any map of the area, Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain sit at the center of a unique circular valley formed by Esopus Creek and Woodland Creek. This circular structure is associated with significant fracturing in the bedrock. Gravity and magnetic profiles indicate an 18-mgal negative anomaly, suggesting a near-surface source, possibly a buried meteorite crater.

Giant Ledge Hike Notes & Gallery

Time after time, this is one of my favorite trails in the Catskills. At any time of year, it’s an absolute joy to hike this short hike, and to sit quietly at the edge of one of the biggest views in the Catskills. There are at least five separate viewing ledges at Giant Ledge, so there is no shortage of views even on a busy weekend.

As you’ll see from the photo gallery below, Giant Ledge is not just one of the most scenic locations in the Catskills. It’s also one of the absolute best places in the entire Hudson Valley for watching sunrise.

You’ve got the basic details, but there’s so much more…

Unlock this exclusive content to get deep intel on this hike, including my personal tips. Immerse yourself in every layer of the journey. With, you’re not just skimming the surface; you’re delving into a passionate hiker’s in-depth experience.

Become a Patreon supporter today and immediately elevate your hiking adventures with full trail beta, comprehensive insights, and stunning visuals. Experience hundreds of trails to their absolute fullest!

Unlock the Full Experience Now

Get full access now and enjoy member-only benefits.
hiking trail

Similar Hikes

I hope you enjoyed this ultimate guide, and that it encourages you to explore more of Giant Ledge on your next visit.

Giant Ledge is one of the best scenic hikes and one of the most popular hikes in the entire Hudson Valley.

Read More

Get full access…

Get instant access to the full version of this site and enjoy great supporter benefits: full galleries, full trail notes, early access to the latest content, and more.

Hot on the website right now…

Follow for more…

Follow my @TotalCatskills content on Instagram for regular hiking inspo and safe, inclusive community.

I also stay active on Facebook and Threads.

The parent mountain for this hike is Giant Ledge.

If you do this hike, LMK how it went…

Your comments are welcome here…

Trailhead Info for this Hike

Medium sized lot which is way too small for one of the top Catskills destinations.

Google Maps Location: 42.026848, -74.404522

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

None down by the trailhead and pretty patchy up high. Classic Catskills cell service experience. My network is Verizon. YMMV.