Slide Mountain Wilderness Area
Slide Mountain West Trail Head:
Take NYS Parkway north (I-287N) to Exit 16 for NY-17W toward U.S. 6/Harriman. Follow US-6 W and NY-17 W to NY-55 E/State Rte 55 E in Liberty. Take exit 100A from NY-17 W. Continue on NY-55 E/State Rte 55 E. Take Claryville Rd and Frost Valley Rd to Oliverea Rd in Shandaken. 2027 Oliverea Rd, Phoenicia, NY 12464.
GPS Coordinates 42.008816, -74.427883
Slide Mountain, the tallest peak in all of the Catskills, inspired poet and naturalist John Burroughs to write; "Here the works of man dwindle, in the heart of the southern Catskills."
All 35 miles of trails in this area are open exclusively to foot travel, affording the visitor an uninterrupted back country experience. Harboring the tallest of the Catskill Peaks and offering numerous trailside vistas, the Slide Mountain trail network is quite attractive and, as a result, is the most heavily visited wilderness trail system in the Catskills. Visitors seeking solitude are less likely to encounter others during mid-week.
The shortest, most direct route up is from the Oliverea Road South (Slide Mountain Trailhead) Parking Area. Follow the yellow marked Phoenicia East Branch Trail southwest 0.7 miles to its juncture with the red-marked Burroughs Range Trail. Turn left, heading east 2.0 miles to the summit rock and Burroughs's Plaque. Total distance: 2.7 miles (5.4 miles round-trip). Elevation gain: 1,780 ft.
Accessed either from the Woodland Valley Campground on the east or the Phoenicia East Branch Trail on the west, the Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide Trail (AKA Burroughs Range Trail) provides a challenging route through the heart of the Slide Mountain Wilderness, ascending Wittenberg, Cornell and Slide Mountain. The eastern approach is notably more difficult, often requiring the use of one's hands to negotiate several rock ledges. At higher elevations, thick stands of balsam fir channel the hiker upwards, adding an element of surprise to the beautiful panorama that unfolds on the various summits. (9.75 miles, red markers, challenging 3,620 feet elevation gain.)
A segment of the Long Path passes through the wilderness area (look for Chapter 19, "Wittenberg Mountain to Phoenicia")
Click to view a detailed description of a loop hike to the Slide Mountain summit. Here are detailed descriptions of all Trail Conference hikes in Catskills Park.
Use the Web Link link on this site to view a trail map.
Slide Mountain Wilderness Area
The Slide Mountain Wilderness, encompassing over 47,500 acres, is the largest and most popular wilderness area in the Catskills. Extensive foot trails provide access to the remote interior, often climbing over lofty peaks with spectacular views. Aside from the trail system the Wilderness Area offers an expansive trailless area providing visitors with the solitude, challenge and independence commonly associated with wilderness."
For a compilation of New York State lands in the Catskill Forest Preserve consisting of wild forests and wilderness areas click here. For a description of Catskill Park and its trails click here. See also the Trail Conference's Southern Catskills web page.