Eastern Devil’s Path

Completing this very challenging hike is a top Catskills hiking achievement.

Hike Length: 12.0 miles (19.31 km)

Total Ascent: 5,000ft (1,524m)

Intensity: Hardest Catskills Hike

Route Type: Shuttle

Includes: Blazed Trail, Rock Scrambles

Parent Indian Head

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Fantastic view on Eastern Devil’s Path

Hiker enjoying the view from Indian Head

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 This tough AF thru hike requires a car at both ends.

Hiking Trail Description

The Eastern Devil’s Path is one of the top Catskills hiking challenges. Traversing Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf and Plateau mountains, this is the toughest half of one of the toughest trails in the United States.

At close to 12 miles, and with just under 5,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, this challenging day hike includes stunning forests, extremely rugged trails and superb rock scrambles, as well as some of the Catskills’ finest boreal summits.

And let’s not forget the views: fantastic scenery from every mountain, including one of the best views (from Twin Mountain) in the entire Catskills Park.

If, like me, you’re not yet ready to tackle the full Devil’s Path traverse, the Eastern Devil’s Path is an excellent and do-able day hike for strong hikers who are looking for a significant challenge.

Even though it covers only half of the full Devil’s Path, this is still definitely one of the hardest hikes in the Catskills — according to my legs, knees, and toes.

I hope to hike the Eastern Devil’s Path at least once a year from now on. This was one of the most fun days I’ve ever had in the mountains.

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Eastern Devil’s Path Hiking Trail

The Eastern Devil’s Path hiking trail includes…

  • An easy warm-up for the first two miles
  • Then relentless up and down for the remaining 10 miles
  • Some of the toughest trail sections in the Catskills
  • 12 miles of tough trails
  • 5000 feet of elevation gain
  • 5000 feet of elevation loss
  • Increasingly deep and steep notches
  • Increasingly large mountains
  • Increasingly higher summits
  • This hike requires cars staged at both ends

Allow anywhere from 8-12 hours for this hike.

Eastern Devil’s Path Trail Notes & Gallery

Note: there’s only one reliable water source along this trail section, and it’s near the end. You must pack in (and out) all the supplies you need to complete this route. And you will need to stage cars at both ends, or arrange a taxi ride.

My hiking partner on this hike and I are both strong hikers. We loved the first 75% of this hike. The last 25% nearly killed us. We each considered completing this hike a major personal achievement.

My trail notes below include escape routes, as well as some before-and-after thoughts on the experience, which might inform your own expectations and planning.

In my planning for this hike, I used my normally very reliable hiking pace formula — I allowed 6 hours for trail length plus 2 hours for elevation gain. This gave me an estimate of 8 hours.

With some wiggle room, I figured 8-9 hours total.

In end, on a really favorable day (weather-wise), this hike took us almost 11 hours.

You can see the gory details on my AllTrails track.

Here is the elevation chart from the hike…

Eastern Devil’s Path elevation chart

On the left, you can see the easy walk in, followed by the increasingly high summits and increasingly low and steep notches.

Coming down Sugarloaf and seeing the climb of Plateau ahead was… mentally taxing!

Car Staging

My hiking partner and I met in Stony Clove Notch and drove in one car to Prediger Trailhead.

Our plan was to hike back to the first car and grab dinner in Tannersville on the way back to Prediger — an excellent, excellent plan, undone only by how long it took to complete this hike. By the time we got to Tannersville, everything was closed. Waaa.

Fantastic view on Eastern Devil’s Path
Hiker enjoying the view from Indian Head

Bail-Out Points

If you need to bail on this hike, there are three obvious ways off the trail — three escape routes that become increasingly less appealing as the hike proceeds…

You’ve got the key details, but there’s so much more to explore. Unlock this exclusive content to get valuable intel on this hike. Access the full trail beta, including my personal tips, and more.

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Similar Hikes

Looking for a major hiking challenge in the Catskills? Check out The Complete Devil’s Path, Huckleberry Loop, Slide/Cornell/Wittenberg out-and-back, and The Burroughs Loop.

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The parent mountain for this hike is Indian Head.

If you do this hike, LMK how it went…

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Trailhead Info for this Hike

Large but very popular lot. Arrive as early as you can on popular days.

Google Maps Location: 42.134142, -74.104385

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

Spotty coverage throughout, best signal up high, but no guarantees. My network is Verizon. YMMV.