Catskills -- Northeastern

Photo

View at sunset from the John Robb Lean-to on Hunter Mountain - Photo D. Chazin

Location


View Catskills -- Northeastern in a larger map

Park Overview:

The Devil’s Path south of Route 23A and the Escarpment Trail north of it, form long twin spines with numerous linking trails. This area also has of the greatest concentration of highest peaks in the Catskills.  

Trail Uses:Hiking, X-C skiing
Dogs:Dogs off leash
Trail Miles:173 miles
Park Acreage:
City/County/
State:
Phoenicia,
Palenville/Ulster/Greene/NY
Buy Trail Map:Catskill Trails Map
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Park Description:

The Catskills Escarpment - the so-called "Great Wall of Manitou," where the mountains suddenly rise up from the Hudson River valley - dominates this section of the Catskills.  The striking view of the Escarpment from across the river inspired many of the early Hudson River School artists.  For the hiker,  two areas of particular interest in the northeastern Catskills are the North/South Lake area and the Blackhead Range - both of which are linked by the Escarpment Trail.

Although more populous and with fewer remote areas than the southern Catskill, the northern Catskills have many rewarding climbs, including four trailless peaks over 3,500' and the Devil's Path that skirts 4,040-foot Hunter Mountain, second highest in the Catskills

Several of the Catskills' highest peaks dominate this sub-region. This table lists them in order of elevation.  A fuller description of each peak can be found by clicking on the “Catskill 3500 Club” link below, follow the “Peaks” tab. 

 

Mountain

Elevation

TC Map

Grid

Hunter 

4040

141

M5

Black Dome

3980

141

O3

Thomas Cole

3940

141

N3

Blackhead

3940

141

O3

West Kill

3880

141

L5

Plateau

3840

141

N5

Sugarloaf

3800

141

N5

Southwest Hunter ● ■

3740

141

M5

Rusk ● ■

3680

141

L4

Kaaterskill High Peak ●

3655

141

O5

Twin

3640

141

N5

Indian Head

3573

141

O6

Windham High Peak

3524

141

N2

● Does not have maintained trail to summit

■ Register box on summit maintained by Catskill 3500 Club

 Resources:

 

Trails Overview:

Catskills – Northeastern sub-region has 30 trails.  The majority of them are under two miles, while the Escarpment Trail and the Devil’s path are around 24 miles each.  In addition an 11-mile segment of the Long Path passes through the area.  These trails are displayed on NY-NJ Trail Conference “Northeastern Catskill Trails” Map 141.  The reverse side of the maps provides information about trailheads and turning points tied to mileage.  Featured below are a few popular trails:

  • Escarpment Trail [23.9 miles, blue, map grid P4/M2, trail designation ES].  Although the Escarpment Trail is a continuous 23.9-mile trail, extending from Schutt Road at the North/South Lake State Campground to NY 23 near Windham, there are, in a sense, two Escarpment Trails - the first being the lower five miles, an appealing day trip around the North Lake area, and the second being the remainder of the trail, which is ideal for backpacking [but also offers many day-hiking opportunities].
    • The southern trailhead is opposite the parking area on Schutt Road, just before the North/South Lake State Campground gatehouse.
  • Devil's Path [25.1 miles, red blaze, TC Map 141 grid O5/K4, trail designation  DP].  According to tradition attributed to the area's early Dutch settlers, the range of mountains traversed by the Devil's Path - with their steep, rocky slopes and deep gaps between them - were the devil's private preserve, specially adapted to his cloven hooves, where he could go when desiring to retreat from the world of man.  Most hikers cover this trail in short sections, using access trails through the cols for rewarding day climbs. 
    • Although the Devil's Path officially starts at the junction of Prediger and Platte Clove roads, several miles southeast of Tannersville, most hikers will choose to begin their hikes at the end of Prediger Road, 0.4 mile to the south, where there is limited parking along the right side of the road.  A side trail [yellow] to Hunter Mountain is roughly 15 miles from the trailhead.
  • Other Hunter Mountain Routes
    • The most popular route up Hunter Mountain is the Spruceton Trail [blue, map grid L5/M5, trial designation SP], the former jeep road to the fire tower.  Parking area is on Spruceton Road [County 6), 6.7 miles east of NY 42.
      • A popular eight-mile loop hike of Hunter Mountain, starting from the parking area near the end of Spruceton Road, can be made by using the Spruceton Trail, the Hunter Mountain Trail, and Devil's Path, and the Diamond Notch Trail. 
    • The Becker Hollow Trail [2.2 miles, blue, map grid M5, trail designation BH] offers the shortest route to the summit but has a well-earned reputation as the most difficult, due to its steady and steep grade.  It begins from NY 214, 1.3 miles south of its junction with NY 23A and 1.6 miles north of the Devil's Path crossing at Notch Lake.   
  • Overlook Mountain.
    •  A 3,140-foot peak north of Woodstock, Overlook Mountain has been a popular climb since the eighteenth century.  Its outstanding views over the Catskills and the Hudson River Valley have been enhanced by the restoration in 2000 of the fire tower on its summit.
      • Overlook Mountain may be approached either from Platte Clove Road to the north on the Overlook Trail [3.7 miles, blue, map grid O6, trail designation OL, or from Meads Mountain Road on the Overlook Spur Trail [2.3 miles, red, map grid O6, trail designation OS], with the shorter southern approach being favored by most hikers.
  • Kaaterskill Falls Trail [0.4 mile, yellow blaze, map grid O4, trail designation  KF].  This short trail allows visitors to access the base of Kaaterskill Falls, the highest waterfall in New York.
    • Trailhead is on the north side of NY 23A, about two miles west of Palenville, and just east of the bridge over Bastion Falls.  The parking area, however, is on the south side of the road, 0.25 mile further west.  Caution should be exercised while walking along this narrow, busy highway.
  • Black Dome Range Trail [also known as Blackhead Range Trail, 7.4 miles, red, map grid N3/O3, trail designation BD].  A distinct trio of high peaks visible from a distance, the Blackhead Range forms the southern wall of Big Hollow Valley, east of Hensonville.  The Black Dome Range Trail traverses two of these peaks, and it connects with the Blackhead Mountain Trail [0.7 mile, yellow, grid O3, trail designation BM], which leads to the summit of its namesake.
    • The western trailhead of the Black Dome Range Trail can be reached from the hamlet of Maplecrest by driving south on Maplecrest Road and turning left onto Elmer Barnum Road.  The trail officially begins at this intersection, but cars can be driven along Elmer Barnum Road for another 0.9 mile to the end of the road, where parking is available.
  • Colgate Lake Trail [4.3 miles, yellow, map grid O4, trail designation CL].  The Colgate Lake Trail offers the hiker the rare opportunity to take in some beautiful woodland and views at a mostly level grade.
    • It begins at a parking area on County 78, just east of Colgate Lake.

Trailhead descriptions and mile marker turning points of the remaining two dozen or so trails are detailed on the reverse side of TC Trail Map 141.  A map insert of a segment of the Long Path is also included.   

Directions:

Escarpment Trail trailhead at North/South Lake Campground:

  • Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 20 [Saugerties]. Beyond the toll booths, turn left at the traffic light, cross over the Thruway, then turn right onto Route 32 North. Follow Route 32 for 6.0 miles, and then continue ahead on Route 32A. In 1.9 miles, turn left onto Route 23A and follow it up Kaaterskill Clove. At the top of the climb, in the Village of Haines Falls, turn right onto North Lake Road. In 2.1 miles, turn right onto Scutt Road and follow it for 200 feet to a parking area on the right.

Devil’s Path trailhead on Prediger Road near Platte Clove:

  • Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 20 [Saugerties]. After the toll booths, turn left onto N.Y. 212/N.Y. 32, and continue straight ahead at the next intersection to stay on Route 212. In 2.3 miles, turn right onto County Route 35 [Blue Mountain Road]. In another 1.5 miles, turn left to continue on County Route 35, now designated as West Saugerties Road. Continue ahead on West Saugerties Road when it becomes County Route 33 and then Platte Clove Road, which climbs through Platte Clove on a steep, narrow road. Continue approximately one mile on Platte Clove Road [County Route 16] until you reach Prediger Road on your left.  There is a small “Forest Preserve Access Parking” sign.  Turn left onto Prediger Road.  After about a half a mile you will reach the end of the paved road, take a sharp right and cross the small stream, following the dirt road for about two tenths of a mile to the parking lot for the Devil’s Path.
  • NOTE: The section of Platte Clove Road that climbs steeply from West Saugerties is closed in the winter [from November 1st to April 15th]. During this period, the trailhead should be accessed via N.Y. 23A. Take Thruway Exit 20 and turn left after the toll booths onto N.Y. 212/N.Y. 32, but after crossing over the Thruway, turn right onto N.Y. 32. In 6.0 miles, where N.Y. 32 bears right, continue straight ahead onto N.Y. 32A. In 1.9 miles, when N.Y. 32A ends, turn left onto N.Y. 23A and follow it up Kaaterskill Clove and through the village of Haines Falls. At the traffic light in the next village, Tannersville, turn left onto Depot Road and continue ahead on Spruce Street [County Route 16]. When Spruce Street ends at a T-intersection, turn left onto Platte Clove Road and continue for 3.9 miles until you reach Prediger Road on your right.  There is a small “Forest Preserve Access Parking” sign.  Turn right onto Prediger Road.  After about a half a mile you will reach the end of the paved road, take a sharp right and cross the small stream, following the dirt road for about two tenths of a mile to the parking lot for the Devil’s Path.
  • GPS: 42.13413118875602,-74.10407066345215

 

Contact Information:Department of Environmental Conservation -- Region 4
8452563000
Region:Catskills
Fees:None