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27. Greene County Route 10 to South Mountain Road in Conesville, Schoharie County
Features: Mt. Pisgah, Richtmyer Peak, Richmond Mountain
Distance: 7.10 miles
USGS Map Quads: Hensonville, Durham, Livingstonville, Ashland
Trail Conference Map: Long Path North on the back of Trail Map 141 (Northeastern Catskill Trails)
This lightly traveled section of the Long Path passes through the first of many state reforestation areas between the Catskills and the Mohawk River. As a consequence of reforestation there are large bramble patches, which can make hiking less pleasurable. Long pants are recommended, and the hiking experience is distinctly back country. The trail climbs steeply up Mt. Pisgah, follows the ridgetop over Richtmeyer Peak, and climbs a shoulder of Richmond Mountain. The trail continues on a logging road before descending to Bluebird Road through a Norway spruce plantation. On its way it passes through both mixed deciduous forests and plantations of red pine and Norway spruce. There are a few good views, both north towards the southern Adirondacks, and south towards the Blackhead Range and the Devil's Path. All of this section is marked with Long Path Aqua paint blazes. A side trail near the end of the section provides great ridge walking with many views through the trees when the leaves are down. This side trail traverses some of the highest peaks in the Catskills outside the "Blue Line," including Asland Pinnacle and Huntersfield Mountain which has a lean-to.
Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 21 (Catskill). Continue on NY Route 23 west approximately 20 miles to the Town of Windham. In Windham, turn right on Mitchell Hollow Road (Greene County Route 21) and go north about 5 miles to Greene County Route 10. Turn right on Route 10, which continues east for about a third of a mile and then curves left. Cunningham Road continues straight ahead here; stay on Route 10. About 1/4 miles past the curve, the Long Path begins just after a woods road goes off to the left.
0.00 Pullout off Greene County Route 10, about 200 feet south of the trailhead. (42.37532°, -74.23265°)
2.65 Parking area 0.4 mi from the Long Path. A woods road blazed with yellow DEC discs leads to the trail. Take Mt. Pisgah Road off Greene County Route 10, in 0.4 mi turn right onto a forest road, and follow this to the parking area at the end (1.35 mi). (42.37351°, -74.26306°)
4.60 Parking area off Bluebird Road (formerly CCC Road #2). (42.36873°, -74.28938°). This road is not maintained from December 1 to April 1.
5.70 Parking area just beyond the point where the Long Path reaches forest road. (42.36172°, -74.30128°).
7.10 Roadside parking on forest road off South Mountain Road. (42.37356°, -74.31530°)
0.00 From where the trail reached Greene County Route 10, proceed north past the parking area and turn left.
0.05 The Long Path proceeds uphill on a trail marked with aqua paint blazes and passes through a red pine plantation. It skirts the south side of an old quarry, then curves right along the west side of the quarry. The trail reaches an interesting rock wall and follows it to the right.
0.25 The trail makes a sharp switchback to the left and passes through a cleft in the cliff. It continues gradually uphill through the woods, crossing a few more low escarpments. The trail turns right onto an eroded woods road and continues uphill. There are lots of brambles.
0.55 The Long Path turns sharp left onto another woods road and begins climbing steeply.
0.65 The trail turns sharply to the right onto another woods road and continues uphill. Mt. Hayden can be seen from here when there are no leaves on the trees. Soon the trail turns right and leaves the road. It climbs steeply.
0.85 To the right are good views of the valley of the Manor Kill. The Long Path passes through some bramble patches and continues on a woods road for a short distance.
0.95 The woods road continues straight ahead, the trail turns left for the final ascent to the summit of Mt. Pisgah.
1.10 Reach the summit of Mt. Pisgah. This was formerly the site of a summit observatory. Remnants of the well that supplied water to the site may still be seen about 100 ft straight ahead, on the left side of the old carriage road that provided access from the valley. The summit was once cleared of vegetation, but today it is covered with a mature Norway spruce and red pine grove. There is a view to the north of the Helderbergs and the Adirondacks in the distance.
27.1 USCGS marker at the summit of Mt. Pisgah. 2012 [JAKOB FRANKE]
At the summit, the Long Path turns right, soon crosses a stone wall, and descends through the forest. There is an interesting contrast here between the deep greens of the spruce and pine grove and the lighter greens of the deciduous forest to the right.
1.40 The trail leaves the evergreen grove, continues to descend to the left of a low escarpment, and reaches the col between Mt. Pisgah and Richtmyer Peak.
1.45 The trail veers right through the escarpment and begins a gradual ascent, skirting below private land to the north.
1.60 The Long Path crosses an old logging road, turns right, and ascends to the top of the ridge, then turns left to follow the ridge. After a level stretch, the trail continues to ascend to Richtmyer Peak. This entire area is covered with brambles.
2.55 The Long Path reaches the flat summit of Richtmeyer Peak. To the left there is a seasonal view through the trees towards the Blackhead Range. The trail now turns right and makes a short descent to the col between Richtmeyer Peak and Richmond Mountain.
2.65 The trail reaches a logging road and the start of a trail (yellow DEC markers) that leaves to the left and leads in 0.4 miles to a parking area. The trail crosses the logging road and continues uphill to the east summit of Richmond Mountain.
2.90 To the left a short side trail leads to a view to the south, with the Blackhead Range, Kaaterskill High Peak and the Devil's Path visible.The Long Path continues along the ridge and descends to the col between the two peaks of Richmond Mountain. Here it levels and follows the north shoulder of the main peak, then begins a steep descent.
27.2 The Blackhead Range from Richmond Mountain. 2001 [HERB CHONG]
3.20 The trail reaches a wet area and turns left onto a logging road. In a tenth of a mile the road makes a jog, then goes straight, while the trail turns right. There are seasonal views to the north.
3.55 The Long Path reaches another logging road and turns left, following the road. In about a tenth of a mile an overgrown logging road heads down to the right. The trail continues straight on the road.
3.75 The trail reaches another woods road. Turn left.
3.95 The Long Path turns right into the woods, descending through a Norway spruce plantation, and crossing a few seasonal streams.
4.30 Near the large root mass of an uprooted pine tree the trail approaches a small ravine with a permanent stream on the left, and keeps descending along the stream.
4.45 Turn left onto Bluebird Road (gravel road) and follow it uphill.
4.60 The Long Path turns right into a parking area on the west (right) side of Bluebird Road. Sign in at the registration box at the north end of the parking area, proceed to the southern end of the parking area, turn right, and follow the Long Path blazes west. The trail can be wet in this area, then soon passes through a pine plantation.
4.80 Cross a small stream. The trail now slowly ascends through mixed forest, crosses a few stone walls, and passes by a couple of stone pillars on the right.
5.40 The trail turns sharply left, soon after passing DEP signs, and starts a steep ascent through forest consisting of mostly spruce and striped maple.
5.70 Reach a maintained forest road. (The old Long Path route to the left, to Ashland Pinnacle, the Huntersfield Mountain Shelter, and Albert Slater Road, has now been blazed with red DEC disks.) The Long Path turns right and follows the forest road downhill.
7.10 Reach South Mountain Road, the end of Section 27.
27.3 Stone pillars off the trail. 2010 [JAKOB FRANKE]