Well known hiking blog site No Speed Limit describe themselves as “a couple on foot… and their dog.”
Leaving their dog behind on this occasion, they brought a group to try out the Leopard trail. Their review provides a VERY comprehensive guide to the leopard trail. This is from their introduction:
“It is difficult to rate all the hikes we have been done because some of them of very different and each has its own unique memories and experiences. That being said, you are going to find it difficult to top this hike. It has everything you could possibly want in a hike and more. It’s a perfect starting hike for those wanting to ease from slackpacking into full-blown multi-day hiking. The rugged beauty of this part of the country is unsurpassed, and it certainly is both a challenge and an adventure.
This is a great trail to ease you into multi-day hiking, because it has the element of slack-packing combined with the ‘roughing it’ style of sleeping in tents, outdoor (cold!) showers and navigating by head-lamp when the sun goes down. Each day of the trail has its own unique terrain, views and challenges. Depending on the time of year you visit this trail, you may need to contend with high temperatures, so you will need to plan your starting times accordingly each day. Don’t rush this trail. There is SO much to see along the way. You will need time for resting on the uphills (they are long and tough in the heat), taking in the views of the huge expanse of mountains, the beautiful flowers and enjoying the river along much of the route.
This trail is a great training hike if you are planning on doing the Fish River Canyon. Although much more green, the Leopard Trail boasts a very similar terrain to the Fish, and the long, hot days will be excellent preparation. You will also (quickly) learn the art of picking the perfect camping spot, setting up a tent on uneven ground in the fading light, and facing the dilemma of smelling clean and fresh vs putting your tired body into icy cold water just to get clean.
The trail itself is well marked, and the facilities at each campsite are more than adequate. Although initially a little skeptical, this method of slack-packing certainly has its perks. It was VERY nice having vegetables with dinner every night, instead of having to whip out the little gas stove and cook our dry, light-weight food that we usually pack for other multi-day hikes.
It is great to know that there is a local hike that includes so many varied aspects of multi-day hiking. It is definitely worth booking this route. We wouldn’t recommend it for children, but teenagers who are regular multi-day hikers would enjoy it. Whoever you are, you need to be fit and able to handle the heat. Don’t go if you can’t be without your cell phone or electricity to charge your devices. We recommend that you take all the available detours on this hike. They don’t add much in terms of distance, but a HUGE amount to the overall enjoyment factor.
Lastly – you ABSOLUTELY MUST do the day hike to Cedar Falls. We recommend doing it as a ‘Day 5’ of the Leopard Trail. Book the Hiker’s Hut for the night you return to base camp and then head off on this spectacular day hike adventure on your last day. It is phenomenal.”