Hiking Guidance / Trail Gear / Mountain Safety

Find amazing hikes in the Catskills, Gunks, Adirondacks, Hudson Highlands

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Solo women hikers often face pushback from friends and family who’s anxiety is triggered by the suggestion that a woman might be heading into the wilderness alone. It’s time to call that what it is.

An easy walk leads to a spectacular payoff: Massachusetts’ highest waterfall.

These 35 tips for winter hiking will help keep you safe in the harshest conditions

Winter hiking essentials — crucial gear and intel to hike safely this winter.

Do you know where Bee Line Mountain is in The Catskills? You’re about to find out…

A round-up of recent Catskills Trail Conditions, reported by hikers fresh off the trails.

Everything you’ll need to complete the Catskills Fire Tower Challenge safely.

I had no idea what I’d find on this unsung trail. I was blown away.

A list of my favorite Catskills hiking groups online.

Delightful hike, sometimes steep, but a very rewarding payoff from Hadley Mountain Fire Tower.

Hiking News & Culture

solo woman female hiker hiking

Solo Hiking Advice for Women: Persist

Solo women hikers often face pushback from friends and family who’s anxiety is triggered by the suggestion that a woman might be heading into the wilderness alone. It’s time to call that what it is.

  Read ›

Arnold Guyot Catskills Mountains Map

Arnold Guyot’s 1879 Catskills Map

Do you know where Bee Line Mountain is in The Catskills? You’re about to find out…

  Read ›

Hikers helping each other

9 Best Catskills Hiking Groups Online

A list of my favorite Catskills hiking groups online.

  Read ›

Patreon logo

Patreon vs Amazon

I currently use Amazon affiliate links on this site, in my email newsletter, and sometimes on my @TotalCatskills story feed on Instagram. Patreon may offer a way out of that compromise.

  Read ›

mountain scenic view

How Indian is Indian Head?

Native American communities were forced out of The Catskills by the Indian Removal Act, signed into law in 1830 by President Andrew Jackson.

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sunset over mountain peaks

Shop @TotalCatskills Prints

Many of my best photos are now for sale, framed, via an exclusive deal with KeepsakeFrames that entitles you to 15% off 5 frames!

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Mountain Hiking Trails

The Best Hikes

These are the best mountain hikes in the Catskills, Taconics and Adirondacks.

cascade’s open rocky summit

Hike Cascade & Porter

This entry-level Adirondack High Peak hike is a great introduction to the rigors of mountain hiking: rough trails, rocky scrambles and incredible views make this short day-hike super rewarding.

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sunset over mountain peaks

Shop @TotalCatskills Prints

Many of my best photos are now for sale, framed, via an exclusive deal with KeepsakeFrames that entitles you to 15% off 5 frames!

  Read ›

Blackhead from Black Dome

Hike Blackhead & Black Dome from Big Hollow via Lockwood Gap

An outstanding double-bill that combines an epic view of Black Dome from Blackhead with an epic view of Blackhead from Black Dome. This is one of my favorite hikes in the Catskills.

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scenic view of mountains

Big Crow

A very short hike with a very big pay-off.

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fire tower shot from below

Catskills Fire Tower Challenge 2022

Everything you’ll need to complete the Catskills Fire Tower Challenge safely.

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chimney

Sloan Gorge Preserve

You don’t have to climb a mountain to experience the Catskills. The lowlands have so much to offer. Sloan Gorge Preserve is a great example: an absolutely delightful, short, and family-friendly nature walk.

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Get ready for the cold / hike safe

Order snowshoes now

Easy Mountain Hikes

Be aware that “easy mountain hikes” does not mean “easy hikes” — before you go, learn how to stay safe on a mountain.

pre-dawn mountain ridges

Overlook Mountain Trail

You can hike up Overlook Mountain’s easy trail in about an hour. The fire tower at the end of this short trail is positioned to give one of the most dramatic views in the Catskills.

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the cabin in woods

Balsam Lake Fire Tower

Even light snow cover turns Balsam Lake into a glittering winter wonderland. And it’s a cinch to hike. A cold fall morning is the perfect time to take in the fire tower’s incredible 360° view. Winter hikes to the tower are absolutely spectacular.

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Iced-up Kaaterskill Fals

Kaaterskill Rail Trail

This is a short, super-easy hike to one of the most popular Catskills destinations. It includes views not seen by those who park closer to the falls. It’s the perfect trail in winter for some easy snow-shoeing or cross country skiing.

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calm beaver pond and low mountain ridge

Shaupeneak Ridge

Shaupeneak Ridge 936.5 acre park contains almost 10 miles of easy trails, suitable for easy hiking, kayaking, fishing, trail running, picnicking, and excellent mountain-biking.

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sunset over devil’s path mountain summits

Huckleberry Point

Huckleberry Point is one of the most beloved Catskills destinations. The trail is short and relatively easy. In 75 minutes or so, you’ll get to one of the most dramatic vistas in the Catskill Mountains.

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scenic view of mountains

Big Crow

A very short hike with a very big pay-off.

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  Moderate Hikes

master map graphic

Master Map of Hike Reports

This interactive master map lists all my hike reports to date

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Covered brigde

Hike Doubletop from Seager

My favorite part of this hike was actually the first mile of trailed section along Dry Brook, heading southeast from the parking area. By mid-June the banks on both sides of the brook are lush. All along the stream feels wild and natural, and the crossings are a lot of fun.

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old broken hiking trail sign

Hike Balsam, Haynes & Eagle from McKenley Hollow

A long hike over rugged terrain that takes you to one of the best lookouts in the Catskills Park and through one of my favorite cols.

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glacial erratic covered in moss

Hike Romer Mountain & Mount Pleasant

An exceptionally beautiful hiking trail brings you to one of the most spectacular vistas in the Catskills.

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orange canister affixed to tree trunk

Fir & Big Indian

This long hike mixes beautiful Catskills trails and fun water crossings with a long bushwhack section over two substantial mountain peaks.

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small waterfall, long exposure

Secret Hike: Winter Views, Giant Quarry, Waterfalls, Ruins

I had no idea what I’d find on this unsung trail. I was blown away.

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   Difficult Hikes

knoll and mountain from indian head

Indian Head Hiking Trail (Best Route)

Fantastic terrain, epic views, a beloved cliff ascent, a long boreal summit, a steep and rugged descent, and an easy walk out through beautiful woods — this is my absolute favorite single-mountain hike in the Catskills.

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ticetonyk

New Catskills Hiking Trail: Ticetonyk Mountain

I figured Ticetonyk was beautifully positioned to have great views — but I had no idea. Ticetonyk’s lookouts are now among my favorites in The Catskills.

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Behind the Cave on Twin

Hike Sugarloaf & Twin from Roaring Kill

Any hike that includes Twin Mountain is a great hike. From either side, Twin offers some the funnest ascents in the Catskill Park. But the western side of Twin, with its steep talus field and a section of technical open rock face, is perhaps the toughest 0.7 mile you’ll hike on any Catskill trail.

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large boulder protruding from mountain

Twin Mountain via Jimmy Dolan Notch

This quick ascent to a gorgeous two-peaked Catskill ridge includes a fun, tricky rock scramble — and one of the truly great views in the Catskill Park.

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View from West Kill’s Buck Ridge Lookout

West Kill via St. Anne’s Peak

A long, strenuous hike over a massive Devil’s Path mountain that includes a variety of Catskills terrain and an epic view from Buck Ridge Lookout.

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wintery waterfall

Eagle Mountain from Seager

Not many people hike this way to Eagle but it’s the most beautiful route. The Seager Big Indian trail which passes along Dry Brook is uniquely challenging and magical.

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Recommended Reads

map / compass

What to Pack: The 10 Essentials

The ten essentials is a list of items you should carry on every trip into the backcountry. This essential gear can keep you safe and on track. In an emergency, it might save your life.

  Read ›

hwa lice on hemlock

Catskills Hemlocks Under Threat

Spend any time in the Catskills and you’ll see how special our hemlock groves are, and how unique their micro-environment is. Learn about Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and how you can help.

  Read ›

master map graphic

Master Map of Hike Reports

This interactive master map lists all my hike reports to date

  Read ›

standing desk with hiking gear storage underneath

Hiking Gear Deals

These are the best deals I’ve found this week…

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screen cap of video

Windham High Peak in 3 Minutes (Walk-Thru Video)

This is one of my favorite hikes to do in The Catskills. This video walks you through the trails and junctions from trailhead to summit, giving you a clear sense of just how lovely this hike is.

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the blacks

Where are the Catskill Mountains?

The Catskill Mountains are located in New York State, just south of Albany and just west of the Hudson River.

  Read ›

Wilderness Safety Basics

Mountain Hiking, Planning Tips, Gear Lists, Emergency Numbers

Start mountain hiking safely, hike well, finish in one piece. Here’s everything you’ll need: your clothing, your gear, how to plan a safe hike in every season, the best apps, what to eat, what to bring. It’s all the advice, all in one place.

Stay Safe

The Best Mountain Hikes

The Very Best Hikes You Can Do in the Catskills, Gunks, Adirondacks, Hudson Highlands, Taconics…

This mountain hiking list is a personally-curated selection of the most rewarding hikes you can do in the Catskills, Taconics and Adirondacks. Use this list to hike an awesome hike every week!

Best Hikes

The Catskills High Peaks

The Traditional List of Catskills Peaks Above 3500’

Most people begin mountain hiking in the Catskills by climbing a few High Peaks: Indian Head, Slide Mountain & Balsam Lake are popular starting points. Here are the summits you’ll need to bag if you want to join the Catskill 3500 Club.

Catskill High Peaks

Or Start Mountain Hiking Here…

With hundreds of miles of mountain hiking trails and countless bushwhack routes, there are so many ways to hike the mountains. I can’t make new peaks, but I do add new hikes regularly…

Apart from the Classic Catskills High Peaks and the Best Catskill Hikes, you can also view lists of Popular Catskills Hikes and Scenic Catskills Hikes.

If you’re just starting out, check out the Easy Hikes list.

If you have kids in tow, these Kid-Friendly Hikes will give you plenty of great options.

For anyone new to hiking, Nature Walks are a great way to get a deep dose of forest magic without much uphill effort.

Finally, you can view a simple but complete list of all the Catskills peaks I’ve hiked, with all their associated hikes. (The Taconics and Adirondacks lists are small right now, but growing.)

Best Hikes in the Catskills, Hudson Highlands, Adirondacks, Taconics, and more…

This website’s 12 most recent posts in reverse-chronological order

Solo Hiking Advice for Women: Persist

Solo women hikers often face pushback from friends and family who’s anxiety is triggered by the suggestion that a woman might be heading into the wilderness alone. It’s time to call that what it is.

Bash Bish Falls

An easy walk leads to a spectacular payoff: Massachusetts’ highest waterfall.

35 Best Tips for a Safe Winter Hike

These 35 tips for winter hiking will help keep you safe in the harshest conditions

Arnold Guyot’s 1879 Catskills Map

Do you know where Bee Line Mountain is in The Catskills? You’re about to find out…

Winter Hiking Essentials

Winter hiking essentials — crucial gear and intel to hike safely this winter.

Catskills Trail Conditions

A round-up of recent Catskills Trail Conditions, reported by hikers fresh off the trails.

Catskills Fire Tower Challenge 2022

Everything you’ll need to complete the Catskills Fire Tower Challenge safely.

Secret Hike: Winter Views, Giant Quarry, Waterfalls, Ruins

I had no idea what I’d find on this unsung trail. I was blown away.

9 Best Catskills Hiking Groups Online

A list of my favorite Catskills hiking groups online.

How Windy is Too Windy To Hike?

I moved my hike from a windy Friday to a less windy (but much colder) Saturday. 80% of my online followers agreed with me. Here’s why.

Hiking Gear Deals

These are the best deals I’ve found this week…

Patreon vs Amazon

I currently use Amazon affiliate links on this site, in my email newsletter, and sometimes on my @TotalCatskills story feed on Instagram. Patreon may offer a way out of that compromise.

Grab this before your next hike…

Winter Gear Checklist

The perfect quick reference to keep you safe on your next cold weather hike