pre-dawn mountain ridges

Hike Overlook Mountain Fire Tower for Sunrise

One of the most popular hikes in the Catskills can be completed in 2-3 hours. Overlook’s fire tower is 60 ft tall and is placed for one of the best views in the Catskills. An excellent view from a large ledge near the summit trail caps this insanely scenic hike.

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footbridge by roadside

Hike to Mount Tremper Fire Tower

This short, moderate hike to one of the most popular fire towers in the Catskills ends with an incredible 360° view of dozens of classic Catskill mountains.

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scenice view of Blackhead Mountain

Hike Blackhead & Black Dome via Batavia Kill

This route crosses some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the Catskill Mountains. I think this is the best route for hiking Blackhead.

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scenic catskills view

Hike Giant Ledge & Panther Mountain

This classic route to Giant Ledge is a short moderate hike with a huge pay-off: a series of ledge views which are spectacular in all seasons. This is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Catskills.

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sunset view

Hike Windham High Peak from Peck Road

This is the hike I recommend to anyone who’s never hiked in the Catskills before, or is wondering if they’d even be able to handle a mountain hike. (Yes, you can.) It’s a short and easy hike — but it’s also very beautiful and so rewarding.

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creek

Hike Rochester Hollow

An easy hike through beautiful woods leads to a series of magnificent stone fences, ruins, and a memorial to John Burroughs. This is an underutilized and under-appreciated trail. Especially suited to skiers, trail-runners and animal track lovers.

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knoll and mountain from indian head

Hike Indian Head

Indian Head is the smallest mountain on the infamous Devil’s Path trail. But it’s also the most delightful. The other five peaks are wonderful too, of course, each in their own way — the scale! the drama! the views! — but hiking Indian Head is a very special, intimate, and rewarding experience.

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the cabin in woods

Hike Balsam Lake Mountain

This route combines the easiest ascent to any summit in the Catskill Park with a much more interesting (and far less trafficked) descent down the south side of the mountain. I also tried to find the scenic view, and visited a lean-to.

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rock ledge

Hike Kaaterskill High Peak & 2 Plane Wrecks

KHP’s summit is a Catskills classic with a spectacular view from Hurricane Ledge. This route takes in two eerie plane wrecks, and there is much to see on the long trek in and out. This a tough, muddy, rewarding hike.

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summit of bearpen mountain

Hike Vly & Bearpen

Personal opinion: these are the only two boring Catskill 3500 hikes. Vly has a few small ledges to keep things interesting, barely, but I swear the trailed route up Bearpen has almost nothing to recommend it. Luckily, you can bag both of these hills together on a single, easy out-and-back.

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View from Slide Mountain

The Absolute Best Route for Hiking Slide Mountain

This route features an easy ascent, great views before and after the summit, and a slightly different descent route that passes through more varied woods and terrain.

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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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Mark on Wittenberg, 2019

Hike Wittenberg & Cornell from Woodland Valley

This is a long and tiring but incredibly rewarding hike. This hike was also memorable because my buddy and I met two hikers from New Jersey who got into serious trouble the same day, kicking off a massive rescue response.

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