Devil’s Path Trail Guide

One of the most difficult and notorious hikes on the East Coast — bring your A-Game.

Hike Length: 24.0 miles (38.62 km)

Total Ascent: 9,000ft (2,743m)

Intensity: Hardest Catskills Hike

Route Type: Shuttle

Includes: Blazed Trail, Herd Path, Rock Scrambles

Parent Indian Head

Similar Entries In: Catskills, Home Page, The Hardest Hikes, , , , , , , , , , , .

Disclosure: Links to external products and websites on this page may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

 The eastern DP has several bail-out points. Stony Clove notch is the emotional half-way point; many people bail out there. You will need a car staged at any bail-out point, and/or at your terminus.

Hiking Trail Description

The Devil’s Path is a popular point-to-point trail in Greene County, New York. It is widely regarded as one of the most difficult hiking trails in New York State, and appears regularly on Most Challenging Hikes type internet lists.

Early European settlers found the terrain so forbidding and inhospitable they surmised it had been hewn by the devil as a place to retreat, and into which no man would dare follow.

The Devil’s Path is a serious hiking challenge. It’s tough. It’s technical. In summer, there’s no water. In the coldest months, some sections require full winter mountaineering gear.

The majority of day-hikers tackle the red-blazed Devil’s Path trail one or two mountains at a time, using one of the many trailheads along its length to access its cols — rugged notches which grow increasingly deep and steep as you hike west.

Devil’s Path History

The Devil’s Path was first cut over Indian Head and Twin Mountain in 1929, from Overlook Road to Mink Hollow.

In 1934 and 1935, the State acquired more land to the west and the Devil’s Path was extended over Sugarloaf and Plateau and along Hunter Mountain.

It wasn’t until 1973 that the route down to Diamond Notch Falls was finally opened, and West Kill and St. Anne’s were added not long after.

The original plan for the Path included North Dome and Mount Sherrill and, from time to time, a plan to develop those currently trail-less peaks bubbles up to the level of chatter. However, to date, no concrete funding or plans have materialized. The two westernmost mountains remain a solid bushwhack challenge.

These are the Best Catskills Trail Maps

Get this Headlamp to Stay Safe

Devil’s Path Frequently Asked Questions

How Difficult is the Devil’s Path?

Very. It’s the definitely the most difficult trailed hike in the Catskills.

The Devil’s Path is apx 24 miles long and demands apx 9000 feet of elevation gain, with a similar amount of elevation loss.

Many sections of the Devil’s Path are extremely rugged; a few are on the edge of being technical.

The Catskills offer several long and rugged multi-peak hikes — both trailed hikes and mixed trailed/bushwhack hikes – but none compete with the challenge of thru-hiking the Devil’s Path.

What is the Hardest Hike in the Catskills?

The Devil’s Path is the hardest trailed hike in the Catskills. No question.

Where is the Best Hiking in the Catskills?

“Best” is relative and personal, but the eastern Devil’s Path gives you everything the Catskills has to offer: amazing terrain, amazing views, amazing challenges, and real bragging rights.

To the west of Stony Clove Notch, it’s quieter, less hiked and less challenging. However, West Kill is so lovely, it’s one of the Catskills’ great jewels — and it has a banger view from Buck Ridge Lookout too.

Is the Devil’s Path a Loop Trail?

Definitely not. It is a long and relatively straight point-to-point trail. If you attempt this trail as a thru-hike, you will need transportation at both ends.

Is There Any Water on the Devil’s Path?

Not much! There’s a good spring on the east side of Plateau, but there are no guarantees with mountain springs. After that, the next flowing water you’ll see will be at Diamond Notch Falls, right before you climb West Kill.

For this reason, many through-hikers stage water in Stony Clove Notch to pick up on their way through.

Is The Devil’s Path Open in Winter?

Yes. The Devil’s Path is open year round. However, the fastest route to the Prediger Road trailhead for most hikers, Platte Clove Road, is closed to traffic at the first snowfall of the season. To access the eastern Devil’s Path during this time, you’ll need to use the alternate route to Platte Clove Road.

In cold months, the western flanks of the Devil’s Path mountains are especially treacherous. When iced-up, the west side of Sugarloaf is known as “Suicide Mountain” and it should only be attempted by experienced winter mountaineers. (But even the western side of Indian Head is no joke.)

Any time there’s ice or snow on these mountains you will 100% need microspikes and/or snowshoes.

Is There Anything Confusing About the Devil’s Path?

Not really, but kinda? The path crosses two Mink Hollows.

The eastern Mink Hollow is a massive col that lies between Sugarloaf and Plateau.

The western Mink Hollow runs between St Anne’s Peak and North Dome.

Other that that, just follow the red blazes and stay on the trail.

Devil’s Path Trailhead & Parking

The parking area at the end of Prediger Road is a generous loop, with lots of space for cars, but this is a very popular destination: even at lunchtime on a cold weekend the lot can fill up early.

The exact location of the trailhead is shown at the bottom of this post.

Most through-hikers hike the Devil’s Path from east to west, and this post focuses on that direction of travel. It has the benefit of using the freshest legs to hike the most difficult terrain.

A seasonal note: every year, between November 1 and April 15, the eastern end of Platte Clove Road is closed. During this period, which sometimes extends beyond April 15, use this alternate route to Platte Clove; it takes only a little longer.

Long Path Overlap

The Long Path passes over the summits of Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf and Plateau before descending, via Daley Ridge, toward Edgewood Mountain. 

To the north, the Long Path continues over Kaaterskill High Peak toward North/South Lake, Arizona Mountain, and Blackhead Mountain.

Devil’s Path Hiking Trail

At night, Catskills trail blazes reflect the light of headlamps very well. In fact, in spots, they’re often easier to spot at night than during the day. Of course, you should always hike with The 10 Essentials, which includes a good headlamp.

On the Devil’s path, water is very hard to come by, so pack extra. And pack a frozen Gatorade or two because you will definitely lose electrolytes on this trail.

There is good cell service at Prediger Road. However, after you leave the parking lot proper, the signal turns patchy. For the rest of the trail, you will constantly hike in and out of cell coverage. In general, the higher you are, the better — but sometimes, oddly, the opposite is true.

Getting to the Devil’s Path in winter is complicated after the seasonal closure of Platte Clove Road. When it’s closed you can use this alternate route to Prediger Road.

Eastern Devil’s Path

The Eastern Devil’s Path is considered the classic portion of the trail. It includes the four most rugged peaks — Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf, and Plateau. It offers hikers the trail’s most challenging terrain as well as its grandest views…

Eastern Devil’s Path: Indian Head

knoll and mountain from indian head
Indian Head’s “chin” and Overlook Mtn from Indian Head’s “nose“

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.

For Full Details Read: Indian Head Hiking Trail (Best Route)

Eastern Devil’s Path: Twin Mountain

mountain view
View of Twin Mountain

The ascent to Twin’s gorgeous two-peaked ridge includes a fun, tricky rock scramble and one of the truly great views in the Catskill Park. The walk across the top is a cinch. But the descent down the west side of Twin contains what is maybe the Park’s most challenging, technical and potentially dangerous trail section.

In winter, it’s madness to hike any mountain without microspikes — at the least. In the cold season, this trail includes long steep sections of ice-flow and many ice-covered boulders. Do not attempt without adequate winter hiking gear.

For Full Details Read: Twin via Jimmy Dolan Notch

Eastern Devil’s Path: Sugarloaf Mountain

teen girl between split boulders
Rock channel

Continue heading west. A long fun climb leads to an easy walk over Sugarloaf’s enormous boreal summit — to a great view of the Southern Catskills.

The western descent is tough and long. Sugarloaf is a lot of mountain; an awesome lot.

For Full Details Read: Hike Sugarloaf from Roaring Kill, Clockwise

Eastern Devil’s Path: Plateau Mountain

Long trail view
Long trail view on Plateau’s ridge

The trail from Mink Hollow is the shortest route to Plateau’s summit. The ascent from the col is relentless but the lookouts on either end of Plateau’s ridge are sensational.

The trek across Plateau’s 2¼ mile ridge is beloved to many a Catskills hiker. The view from Orchard Point on the western end is a classic resting point, before the steep descent to Stony Clove Notch.

For Full Details Read: Plateau from Mink Hollow and Plateau from Stony Clove Notch

Stony Clove Notch

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already achieved a bunch. Completing the Eastern half of the Devil’s Path as a thru-hike is a major achievement.

Stony Clove Notch is a great resupply staging area — and also a great bail-out point.

The remainder of the Path is (relatively) easier, and is mostly now a test of your stamina.

There are two major climbs remaining: the steep hike up the east flank of Hunter, and the relentless climb up West Kill.

However, don’t forget St. Anne’s. By the end of the Devil’s Path, even the modest hike up this small peak will threaten to crush your remaining ounce of will.

Western Devil’s Path: Hunter Mountain

ski slopes in distance
Just half of Hunter / Hunter’s ski slopes

Any hike up Hunter Mountain is a long hike. Hunter is a huge mountain. Just getting from A to B on this hill takes time.

Cross the footbridge. The east side of Hunter is steep, wet, muddy, and rocky. On your way up, you’ll pass by, around and through many large, dramatic rock outcroppings.

For Full Details Read: Hike Hunter & Southwest Hunter from Stony Clove Notch

If you have an extra hour to spare, you could also include a “bushwhack” to Southwest Hunter as you pass right by the jumping off point for that. But, seriously, be real about what you have left to do…

Western Devil’s Path: West Kill Mountain

snowy mountain summit seen from a distance
West Kill Mountain, seen from Hunter Mountain

I love this section so much. It’s so lovely, so rewarding. It was one of the first hikes I did in The Catskills and it’s always such a treat to revisit West Kill.

Begin at Diamond Notch Falls…

two waterfalls side by side
Diamond Notch Falls

Climb through some of the most beautiful terrain in the Catskills…

trees covered in snow
Tree growing on boulder
west kill rocky outcrop covered in snow
Rock Overhang on West Kill Mountain

Stop once again and soak in the view from Buck Ridge Lookout…

View from West Kill’s Buck Ridge Lookout
View from West Kill’s Buck Ridge Lookout, one of the finest lookouts in the Catskills

…before heading across the enormous summit ridge, with its wonderful pine forest, toward the quiet and wild St Anne’s Peak.

For Full Details Read: West Kill via Diamond Notch Falls

These are the Best Catskills Trail Maps

Get this Headlamp to Stay Safe

Western Devil’s Path: St. Anne’s Peak

Rock Outcrop
Rock outcropping St Anne’s Peak, an easy scramble

St. Anne’s is lovely but, by now, you will be half dead, and not at all in the mood to enjoy its subtle charms.

After a tricky little rugged climb to its summit, you’ll face a long and steep descent into the second Mink Hollow.

At least the final mile out is blessedly flat and easy. It’s one of my favorite miles in the Catskills. Too bad you’re a zombie now, shuffling to your car, ragged and brain dead — except for your basic motor functions and the deep animal need to eat eat eat.

For Full Details Read: West Kill via St. Anne’s Peak

Follow

Follow my instagram @totalcatskills to get the latest info in your feed — I’m also at Facebook.com/TotalCatskills.

Similar Hikes

Honestly, there’s nothing really like The Devil’s Path — but in terms of long and potentially grueling hikes…

Read More

The parent mountain for this hike is Indian Head.

If you do this hike, let me know how it went in the comments below. Your feedback makes this site better.

Trailhead Info for this Hike

A large but very popular lot. Get there early on busy weekends and holidays.

Google Maps Location: 42.134183, -74.104374

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

The Eastern DP has spotty service; the Western DP has much bigger holes in service. My network is Verizon. YMMV.

Your comments are welcome here…

Don’t Miss Out!

• Latest Hike Reports
• Weather Tips
• Seasonal Advice
• Trail Mix
• Backcountry Rescues

The best hiking newsletter on the planet