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Hiking in Catskill Park
Red Hill Fire Tower, Ashokan High Point
The 30,100 acre Sundown Wild Forest is located in the southeastern Catskills. There is a popular primitive camping area located within the wild forest. Popular hiking destinations include Ashokan High Point, Vernooy Falls, Red Hill Fire Tower, Kanape Valley and Denman Mountain. Below we have information on the camping and hiking trails located in Sundown Wild Forest.
Peekamoose Valley Primitive Camping Area
There are 27 primitive campsites located along Peekamoose Road in an area called the Peekamoose Valley. Camping is limited to designated campsites only. According to the NY DEC: If a location is not designated for camping then overnight use is prohibited. Otherwise the sites are open for FREE on a first come basis. Please contact the Forest Rangers (845-240-6790) for the required camping permits at least two weeks in advance for group camping, trailer sites and stays of more than three nights.
The following rules apply at the Peekamoose Valley Primitive Camping Areas (according to the NY DEC website):
Lower Field: Camping is restricted to designated sites. Two group sites are available. All other sites are restricted to a maximum of nine people and three tents.
Middle Field: The middle field camping sites are each limited to nine people and three tents. No group camping.
Upper Field: Camping is restricted to designated sites, between Peekamoose Road and Rondout Creek. Two group sites are available. All other sites are limited to nine people and three tents.
Trailer Field: Camping in this area is by PERMIT ONLY and is limited to trailers. The two accessible campsites located within the Trailer Field are equipped with fire rings, accessible picnic tables and a nearby accessible port-a-john.
Hiking Trails in Sundown Wild Forest:
Red Hill Fire Tower Trail - This 1.2 mile graded trail travels to the fire tower on the summit of 2990 foot Red Hill. There is an elevation gain of 900 feet on this hike.
Ashokan High Point Trail - This popular trail features the scenic Kanape Brook and nice views from Ashokan High Point, although tree growth is slowly taking away some of the views. It is a seven mile round trip hike just to the 3080 foot summit of Ashokan High Point. Add another 2.7 miles if you decide to do the loop. This hike has an overall elevation gain of over 2000 feet.
Vernooy Kill Falls Trail - This red & blue marked trail coincides with the aqua blazed Long Path. The trail travels 1.8 miles from the trailhead on Upper Cherrytown Road to the bridge overlooking the pretty waterfall. The Long Path turns right just before the bridge and the Vernooy Kill Falls Trail continues over the bridge, through Balsam Swamp another 1.9 miles to Yeagerville Road.
Long Path - This aqua blazed long distance trail travels 9.6 miles through Sundown Wild Forest. This is where the Long Path enters Catskill Forest Preserve from the south off Upper Cherrytown Road, following the Vernooy Kill Falls Trail for 1.8 miles to just near the scenic waterfalls. There is a trail register and the Long Path turns right before the bridge over Vernooy Kill. After an almost level walk along an old woods road, turn left at 2.7 miles and gently climb Pople Hill.
At 4.0 miles the Long Path turns left to follow another old woods road. You may notice the primitive campsite located near the junction. At 4.2 miles cross Vernooy Kill on a gravel bridge over a culvert. At 4.8 miles reach a stream that you'll need to rock hop to cross. After crossing a stream over a culvert at 5.2 miles, in about 150 feet there will be a side dirt road on the left that travels to a beaver pond and a camping spot. Long Path continues straight.
At 5.6 miles the Long Path turns right off the woods road at an easily missed junction. The aqua blazed Long Path now climbs, at times steeply. After climbing the hillside the trail will ascend and at 6.0 miles turns left on another woods road, but quickly, within 500 feet, turns right off the road. At 6.3 miles the trail turns left and begins to head toward Bengle Hill. Cross a stream at 6.8 miles, climb and then descend to cross the headwaters of Sundown Creek at 7.3 miles.
Cross another stream at 7.5 miles. Reach the high point of 2350 feet of Bengle Hill at 8.5 miles and then begin the steep descent of over 1100 feet as the trail makes its way to Peekamoose Road, reaching the road at 9.6 miles. The trail turns right and follows the road for 0.5 miles before turning left and entering the Slide Mountain Wilderness.
Denman Mountain Trail - This seven mile snowmobile-horse trail circles around the mountain to avoid private property.
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