The trail up to the cliffs is a mere 0.7 miles from the trailhead, and round-trip it can easily be done in under 2 hours, even building in time to linger at the cliffs. And you will want to linger. What this short, steep hike lacks in distance it more than makes up for with amazing scenery.
At the cliffs, hikers are treated to spectacular panoramic views of Piseco Lake to the east. It’s a great place to bring a packed lunch and hang out, especially if you’re hiking with young kids.
The trail is well-marked and is a worn path that climbs through beautiful hardwood forests and features interesting boulders along the way. Most of the climb up is gradual, with a short, steep climb just before the cliffs.
The hike is popular, especially in the summer, so plan accordingly. You may want to shoot for an early start or climb it in the offseason.
The trailhead to Echo Cliffs does have a large parking area. To get there, take New York Route 8. Near the southwest corner of Piseco Lake, you’ll turn north on West Shore Road (look for a brown and gold NYSDEC sign). Take that 2.5 miles until you see the Panther Mountain trailhead on the left side of the road. Park at the turnout on the right side.