Kaaterskill High Peak Hike

Hike to Kaaterskill High Peak’s summit via the classic (and mostly-trailed) route.

Hike Length: 8.8 miles (14.16 km)

Total Ascent: 2,025ft (617m)

Intensity: Difficult Catskills Hike

Route Type: Out-and-Back

Includes: Blazed Trail, Herd Path, Easy Bushwhack, Rock Scrambles, Stream Crossing

Parent Kaaterskill High Peak

Similar Entries In: Catskills, The Difficult Hikes, , , , , .

Kaaterskill High Peak hiking trail

Hurricane Ledge on Kaaterskill High Peak

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 A long out-and-back.

Hiking Trail Description

This classic Kaaterskill High Peak hike starts in Platte Clove, crosses the summit, and descends to Hurricane Ledge for one of the great Catskills views.

Kaaterskill High Peak, once thought to be the loftiest summit in the Catskills, is shrouded in a tapestry of history, tall tales and tragedy. This storied mountain, rising to an elevation of 3,652 feet, was for many years believed to be the highest point in the Catskills — a title eventually ceded to Slide Mountain. Despite this, the peak retains its legendary status.

In the 19th century, Kaaterskill High Peak stood as a symbol of the sublime beauty of the Catskill wilderness, inspiring an entire school of landscape painting known as the Hudson River School. Artists like Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church were enamored by its rugged contours and the ethereal quality of light that draped its forests and valleys. This mountain was a muse.

Yet, Kaaterskill High Peak harbors darker narratives too — at least twice it has been the unwilling cradle for aviation tragedies. The first incident, in 1983, involved a small private plane that, enshrouded in fog, met its fate just below the mountain’s summit. The second, occurring in 1987, saw another aircraft succumb to the mountain’s slopes.

These twin wrecks, now part of the mountain’s lore, offer a clear reminder for hikers who come upon them of any mountain’s power and the respect they command.

The Kaaterskill High Peak hike, with its breathtaking vistas, is a serious but rewarding day hiking challenge.

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Kaaterskill High Peak Hike

The Kaaterskill High Peak hike from Platte Clove includes…

  • A long road walk up Steenburgen Road
  • Access to Huckleberry Point (optional)
  • The most direct trailed route to the northern slope
  • Usually a lot of mud
  • Access to the summit plane wreck
  • Amazing views from Hurricane Ledge

Allow 5-6 hours for this hike. A full breakdown is provided in the trail notes below, with 17 jaw-dropping photos.

Kaaterskill High Peak hike trail
Hikers in winter on Kaaterskill High Peak

Kaaterskill High Peak Hike Notes & Gallery

Being at the ample parking area just off of Platte Clove Road. Good backcountry navigational skills are required for this hike, as there are many intersecting trails and old roads in the area. Trail blazing is inconsistent and junctions are a mix of unofficially-marked and officially-marked.

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Similar Hikes

KHP is a significant day hike. I say it feels like 90% trail and 10% mountain.

Tougher routes to the summit of KHP include this route which takes in both plane wrecks, and via Hurricane Ledge.

If you enjoyed this hike, you’re going to love Sugarloaf, Black Dome and Hunter.

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The parent mountain for this hike is Kaaterskill High Peak.

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Trailhead Info for this Hike

Large, popular lot in Platte Clove also serves hikes to Huckleberry Point.

Google Maps Location: 42.133649, -74.082228

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

Sketchy for most of this hike. Signal up high. My network is Verizon. YMMV.