A gateway to the Santononi Range, Panther Peak gets its name for the mountain lions which once roamed the Adirondacks. It is the most climbed peak in the Santanoni Range, and the view it offers is one that shouldn’t be missed! It is frequently climbed with Couchaschraga Peak or Santanoni Peak.
The primary trailhead can be accessed by taking the Blue Ridge Road exit off of I-87. Follow this road toward Newcomb for 18 miles. Turn right on Tahawus Road and take a left at the sign for Mt. Marcy and the High Peaks Trails. Parking is about 2 miles from the sign.
A warning: this trail is known as the wettest train in the Adirondacks, and for good reason! You will need to wade through water, and you will come across many slippery surfaces.
Follow the gravel road and then take a sharp right on the foot trail for this 12.5 mile (round trip) hike. You will come to a brook which you will need to ford because the bridge is out. The next bridge is not well maintained but can be crossed, however be cautious as it is quite high up and very slippery.
You will pass some beautiful cascades at around 3.5 miles. A few yards beyond you will find a cairn which marks the beginning of the path to Santanoni. About a mile further along, another cairn marks the path to Panther. This herd path remains relatively flat until you pass Bradly Pond and then begins a very steep climb above the pond, where it becomes a more moderate ascent. You will come across Panther Brook and follow it to the top of the ridge. Here you will come to a junction. If you go to the right you will go to the summit of Panther (about .5 miles). If you go left you can head to Couchsachraga and Santanoni.
While this path is wet and slippery it offers beautiful views, not only from its summit but along its path. You’re treated to brooks darting through forests, and cascades spilling over rocks as you make your way up to the summit. It is a must see!