From the parking area, go around a yellow gate and past the trail register (please sign), and proceed ahead (northeast) on the yellow-blazed Phoenicia-East Branch Trail, which follows a wide woods road. In about a mile, the trail crosses a wooden bridge over a stream and, a short distance beyond, it reaches a junction with the blue-blazed Peekamoose-Table Trail. (The junction is also marked by...
From the parking area, go around a yellow gate and past the trail register (please sign), and proceed ahead (northeast) on the yellow-blazed Phoenicia-East Branch Trail, which follows a wide woods road. In about a mile, the trail crosses a wooden bridge over a stream and, a short distance beyond, it reaches a junction with the blue-blazed Peekamoose-Table Trail. (The junction is also marked by a sign indicating that it is the eastern terminus of the Finger Lakes Trail.)
Leave the woods road and turn right onto the Peekamoose-Table Trail, which descends to cross two streams – Deer Shanty Brook and the East Branch of the Neversink River. These crossings were often quite difficult until, about 2010, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation built sturdy bridges over these streams. The bridge over Deer Shanty Brook is supported by steel beams, while the bridge over the East Branch of the Neversink is built of logs. There are several designated primitive campsites near these stream crossings.
Beyond the second stream crossing, the trail begins a rocky and rather steep climb. After reaching a high point, it descends a little. At the base of the descent, the trail passes several cube-shaped huge boulders. It now resumes its climb, with steeper ascents alternating with nearly level sections. In about three-quarters of a mile, the trail passes near the edge of a cliff. A short, unmarked path to the right leads to a panoramic south-facing viewpoint, with Van Wyck Mountain in the foreground on the right.
After taking in the view, return to the trail, turn right, and resume the climb. The trail descends slightly for a short distance, but soon continues its ascent. About three-quarters of a mile from the viewpoint, a sign on the left points to a piped spring. A short distance beyond, a side trail on the right leads 200 feet to the Bouton Memorial Lean-to – a good place to take a break.
Just above the side trail to the lean-to, you’ll pass the 3500-foot elevation sign. The climb now steepens, but you’re nearly there! Soon, you’ll notice a side trail on the right. Follow this trail, which leads to a broad southwest-facing viewpoint from a rock ledge.
Return to the trail and turn right. In less than five minutes, you’ll reach the summit ridge, marked by a small cairn and three brackets attached to a tree on the left. This is the summit of Table Mountain (elevation 3,825 feet). The brackets are all that remains of a canister (removed in 1990) that once was attached to the tree. You’ve reached the first peak of the hike, but your final destination is a second peak, a little further on.
Continue along the flat summit ridge (the flatness of the ridge is the source of the name “Table”). In a third of a mile, the trail begins to descend. You’ll descend about 200 vertical feet to a col, then regain nearly all the lost elevation to arrive at the summit of Peekamoose Mountain (elevation 3,819 feet), marked by a large slanted boulder on the right. Just beyond, a short unmarked trail on the left leads to a spectacular viewpoint – probably the best view on the hike. Ashokan High Point may be seen ahead, with the Ashokan Reservoir beyond.
After resting from the hike and enjoying the view, retrace your steps to the start of the hike.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 06/02/2020
This out-and-back hike climbs to the summits of Table and Peekamoose Mountains, with several outstanding viewpoints along the way.
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.