This hike features the Long Path over Romer Mountain, Mt. Pleasant and Cross Mountain – one of the most magnificent stretches of trail in the Catskills. It was built to a very high standard in 2013-14 by a dedicated team of volunteers, with sidehilling and rock steps. It may well represent the most outstanding trail construction achievement by volunteers in the...
This hike features the Long Path over Romer Mountain, Mt. Pleasant and Cross Mountain – one of the most magnificent stretches of trail in the Catskills. It was built to a very high standard in 2013-14 by a dedicated team of volunteers, with sidehilling and rock steps. It may well represent the most outstanding trail construction achievement by volunteers in the history of the Trail Conference!
The hike is a strenuous one. Besides the overall distance of the hike (12 miles), it involves a gain in elevation of about 3,300 feet. However, most of the grades are moderate, and (except at the end, where you proceed downhill on an older trail) there are only a few steep sections
From the parking area, head into the woods on a blue-blazed trail, which climbs Romer Mountain on switchbacks, crossing several streams along the way. After climbing about 1,100 vertical feet, you’ll approach the crest of Romer Mountain. The trail passes an interesting boulder, with striations in different directions, and goes under an overhanging rock in a narrow passage. Soon, after climbing a little more, the trail reaches the crest of the mountain, with some west-facing views through the trees.
After a relatively level stretch, the trail resumes its climb to the summit of Romer Mountain (2,240 feet). There are no views from the summit, but after descending a little, you’ll come to a viewpoint about 25 feet to the left of the trail. Tremper Mountain is visible to the northeast, and the Emerson Resort along Route 28 can be seen directly below. You’ve hiked about 3.5 miles to reach this point, and this is a good place to take a short break.
The trail now resumes a moderate ascent towards the crest of Mt. Pleasant, soon passing through a hemlock forest. In about a mile, after following along the edge of an escarpment, you’ll come to a limited viewpoint over Wittenberg Mountain to the southwest. Then, after climbing a little more and crossing to the east side of the ridge, you’ll reach a limited viewpoint over the eastern half of the Devil’s Path (Indian Head, Twin and Sugarloaf Mountains).
The Long Path now heads due south on a level footpath along the western shoulder of Mt. Pleasant, soon reaching a panoramic viewpoint over Wittenberg Mountain. This is the first unobstructed view on the hike, and you’ll want to spend some time here to take in the spectacular view.
The trail continues ahead, with some minor ups and downs, and soon resumes a gradual climb of Cross Mountain, with one rather steep section. In about a mile and a half, as the trail turns right, there is a panoramic viewpoint on the left over the Ashokan Reservoir. A short distance beyond, an unmarked trail on the left leads to another viewpoint. The view of the reservoir from here is more limited, but you can also see Ashokan High Point to the right.
For the next mile, the trail continues on a relatively level route. It then begins a steady ascent towards the southeast arm of Wittenberg Mountain, steeply in places. Along the way, you’ll climb the Grand Staircase – a long series of rock steps along the side of a cliff, constructed by the volunteers who built the trail.
After climbing about 250 vertical feet, you’ll emerge on open rock ledges, with panoramic views in three directions. To the west, Wittenberg Mountain towers above you, and there are also spectacular views to the north and east. These rock ledges are reminiscent of those found in the Adirondacks and in Maine, and they are a very special feature of this hike. You’ll want to rest from the climb and savor the views from this delightful spot.
The trail proceeds ahead and resumes its climb, soon reaching the highest elevation of the hike (2,770 feet) on the southeast arm of Wittenberg Mountain. The trail continues on a relatively level route, but the route becomes rockier. You’ll cross several streams along the way.
In another mile, the blue-blazed trail ends at a junction with the red-blazed Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide Trail. Turn right and follow this red-blazed trail, which will lead you down to Woodland Valley in 2.6 miles. In 0.2 mile, you should bear left at a junction with a yellow-blazed trail which heads to a lean-to. The Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide Trail is much rockier than the blue-blazed trail that you followed from Phoenicia, and the descent is quite steep in places. The trail can be quite wet, especially after heavy rains, so use caution, especially on the steep downhill sections.
At the base of the descent, the trail crosses a footbridge over Woodland Creek. Just ahead, you’ll come to a campground road. Bear right, and you’ll soon reach Woodland Valley Road. Turn left, and the day use parking area where you left the first car is just ahead on the right.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 10/08/2015 updated/verified on 10/07/2015
This one-way hike over Romer Mountain, Mt. Pleasant and Cross Mountain offers spectacular views of a number of Catskill peaks.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.