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Hiking in Catskill Park
Hunter Mountain at 4040 feet is the second highest mountain in the Catskills. It's located in the 11,000 acre Hunter Mountain Wild Forest in the northeast portion of the Catskill Park. The wild forest is located in Greene County in the towns of Hunter, Jewett, and Lexington. The area can be accessed from NY 214 and Greene County Route 6 (Spruceton Road). Watch for trailheads and forest preserve access parking areas along these routes.
Although it is the second highest peak, Hunter has not enjoyed the same popularity as Slide Mountain. It does, however, have several different approaches and a couple of these have viable options for forming a loop. Hunter also has a rather high state fire tower which, on a clear day. offers wonderful views of other 3500 foot peaks and the valleys between them.
A side trip to the Colonel's Chair is well worth the effort. This trail leads down the mountain descending 500 feet and is a little over a mile. The payoff occurs when you arrive at the ski lift area for Hunter Mountain. The views of the mountains, the valleys and the Village of Hunter below are amazing.
The summit of Hunter Mountain can be attained by four different routes. Two are located within the Hunter Mountain Wild Forest.
Click on the image above for a map of the hiking trails on Hunter Mounatin
Diamond Notch Trail (Blue Trail Markers)
This trail was developed during the 1937 season primarily as a ski trail from the Stony Clove Road (Route 214) near Lanesville to the Spruceton Road near its junction with the old Spruceton-Hunter Road.
A gentle three mile hike with an ascent of 1,300' from the south of the notch, and a 700' ascent from the north to the notch. Hikers will find the Diamond Notch Lean-to just to the north of the notch, and can visit Buttermilk Falls at the Devil's Path Junction. This beautiful waterfall drops about 25 feet in an amphitheater-like setting, with a small meadow nearby. Just to the east of the Falls, the Devil's Path enters the Hunter Mountain Wild Forest.
The northern portion of the Diamond Notch trail, leading from the parking lot along the Spruceton Road to the Falls, is a popular 2 mile round trip family hike and is identified as such in the "Catskill Adventure - Day Hikes and Paddles for Families" brochure.
Becker Hollow Trail (Blue Trail Markers)
This trail begins at the trailhead along State Route 214, just north of Devil's Tombstone Campground. This short trail is arguably the most difficult hike in the Catskills - climbing nearly 2,000 feet in two miles. However, for those willing to exert the energy, the reward is a short route to the summit of Hunter Mountain with it's spectacular views.
Spruceton and Colonel's Chair Trails (Blue Trail Markers)
This 3.6 mile trail is to the fire tower access road. Along it you can visit the John Robb lean to and take in good views of the Westkill Mountain Wilderness and Spruceton Valley. A short one mile trail leads off to the north, just above the lean to, to the upper ski lift area on Hunter Mountain. This yellow marked trail, known as Colonel's Chair, will also lead you to the resort's snack bar, which is seasonally open!
Devil's Path (Red Trail Markers)
This trail because of the rugged country which it traverses, is known as the "Devil's Path." The easterly section over the ridge of Indian Head, Twin, and Sugarloaf mountains was first opened in 1930. The westerly continuation over Plateau and Hunter Mountains was opened in 1935. The trail follows the height of land on the range for almost its entire length and beautiful vistas of the Catskill region are enjoyed from numerous points along the way.
4.2 miles of this very popular trail traverses the unit. This hike is considered strenuous, rising approximately 1500 feet within two miles. Views along the trail are spectacular, and include the Spruceton Valley, Plateau Mountain, and south to Ulster County. A seasonal spring and the Devils Acre leanto are located near the summit of Hunter Mountain at the trail junction of the Devil's Path and the yellow-marked Hunter Mountain Trail.
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