Hike the Northern Catskills: Ginseng to Huntersfield

These are some of the loveliest and quietest hiking trails in the Catskills.

Hike Length: 15.0 miles (24.14 km)

Total Ascent: 4,600ft (1,402m)

Intensity: Difficult Catskills Hike

Route Type: Shuttle

Includes: Blazed Trail, Herd Path, Easy Bushwhack, True Bushwhack, Road Walk, Stream Crossing

Parent Huntersfield

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

erratic boulder in woods

A touch of Catskills seabed

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 A through-hike plot, just for reference.

Hiking Trail Description

For those seeking tranquility and solitude away from the bustling trails of the High Peaks, these northern Catskills hikes offer a haven of quieter, less-trodden, but deeply rewarding routes.

Encompassing Ginseng Mountain, Mountain Hayden, Mount Pisgah, Richtmyer Peak, Richmond, Ashland Pinnacle, and Huntersfield Mountain, this under-hiked region invites hikers to immerse themselves in the beauty of quiet landscapes dotted with deciduous trees, pine stands, lush ferns, and unique Catskills scenic views.

Unlike the more popular High Peaks, these northern Catskills hikes are less well known, offering a sense of seclusion and a chance to connect deeply with nature.

Ginseng Mountain and Mountain Hayden are perfect examples of the region’s peaceful charm. Mount Pisgah and Richtmyer offer slightly stranger experiences, with the added bonus of historical remnants that hint at the Catskills’ rich past.

Richmond and Ashland Pinnacle, with their fern-covered forest floors and towering trees, provide an enchanting hiking experience, while Huntersfield Mountain offers a unique blend of forested paths, a lean-to shelter, and sweet vistas.

Though the views may be fewer and farther between compared to the High Peaks, the beauty of northern Catskills hikes lies in their quiet allure and the intimate encounters with nature they offer.

The Northern Catskills Hikes

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking for new trails to explore or a newcomer seeking a peaceful escape, the northern Catskills promise a hiking experience that is both refreshing and rejuvenating. Lace up your boots and discover the hidden gems of this lesser-known region, where every step brings you closer to the heart of the Catskills.

These mountains can be tackled as singles or pairs, or strung together in larger groups. A full through-hike of the ridge runs to just under 15 miles and requires a car at either end.

The Long Path

From the east side of this route, the trails over the summits follow The Long Path which begins in New York City, near the George Washington Bridge, and ends in Thacher State Park, near Albany.

Northern Catskills Hikes: aqua-colored blaze on wooden post
Long path blaze

Blazing the Northern Catskills Hikes

The blazing in the Northern Catskills uses mostly paint daubs, rather than the reflective blazes seen elsewhere in the Catskills. This is fine, just make sure you’re off these peaks before dusk. Blazing is inconsistent and navigation would be very tricky, if not impossible, in the dark.

Ginseng & Hayden

Above Route 23, the Long Path follows the Catskill Escarpment north over Ginseng Mountain and Mount Hayden toward Mount Pisgah, Richmond, Ashland Pinnacle, and Huntersfield. The smaller scale of these northern Catskills means there are no High Peaks vibes — little to no boreal summits — though the mountains are beautiful and exceptionally quiet.

Northern Catskills Hikes: fern glade on Ginseng Mountain
Fern glade near summit

Michael Kudish says that Ginseng Mountain and Mount Hayden have been extensively cut, but not burned. The trees here are all second growth forest — meaning they are forest that has bounced back after previously being cleared of old, original growth — which is true of most of the forest in the Catskills.

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Mount Pisgah

This short, steep hike is packed with fascinating sections—so many parts to this trail: the road walk, the abandoned logged trees, the boulder ledge and bare quarry, the steep sections, the views, and then there’s that mysterious summit with its olde worlde remnants.

Northern Catskills Hikes: Mount Pisgah
Northern Catskills Hikes: Mount Pisgah & Cunningham Farm

Mount Pisgah is, like Ticetonyk in the Central Catskills, the kind of uncelebrated small mountain that the locals use to get into nature regularly and stay healthy. It’s also unique, historic, and a little strange.

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Richtmyer & Richmond

This hike was quiet and mysterious; these trails are not often used.

I looked for two scenic views and found only one, but it was a banger — a rare angle on the entire Blackhead Range from Blackhead mountain all the way across to Camel’s Hump.

scenic view of Catskills mountains
View of entire Blackhead Range from Richmond Mountain

I love the quiet northern Catskills and the infinite-seeming bucolic landscape that surrounds them. The drive up to these hills is as lovely as hiking the hills themselves.

Ashland Pinnacle & Huntersfield

This out-and-back route crosses a long stretch of rich, ferny woods between two peaceful peaks. At the far end: views of the northernmost Catskills and New York State at its most bucolic. This quiet trail over lush peaks makes for a rich, rewarding and restorative hike.

lean-to view
Huntersfield Lean-To

From the summit of Huntersfield, the trail descends to a parking area on the west side of the mountain, with at least one scenic view on the way…

bucolic scenic view
Schoharie valley

Northern Catskills Hikes

The northern Catskills offer a deeply serene escape for hikers seeking solitude, away from the more crowded High Peaks. You’ll find peace and quiet among deciduous trees, ferns, and historical remnants. Embrace the tranquility and discover the hidden gems of the northern Catskills on your next hiking adventure. Happy trails!

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The parent mountain for this hike is Huntersfield.

If you do this hike, LMK how it went…

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Trailhead Info for this Hike

Small lot. Do NOT park near the house.

Google Maps Location: 42.328928, -74.188332

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

Decent throughout, once up high. Generally speaking. Patchy down low, as always in the Catskills. My network is Verizon. YMMV.