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Bearpen Mountain State
Catskill 3500 Club
In the Catskills there are thirty-five peaks that are over 3,500 feet in elevation and are noted in the Catskill 3500 Club. Vly Mountain, at 3529 feet, is the 32nd highest point in the Catskills and is part of the Catskill 3500 Club. There are three popular summits in Bearpen Mountain State Forest. You will find Roundtop, a Catskill 67 plus the two Catskill 3500 Club members, Bearpen Mountain and Vly Mounatin.
A hike to Vly Mountain requires hiking along a part of a road that is no longer maintained and an old trail. There are multiple places where you can start his hike. The best route is from a small snowplow turnaround at the end of the maintained part of County Route 3. Do not park there from November to April! The GPS coordinates are N42 14.484 W74 27.912. Take NY 28 to the small hamlet of Fleischmanns. Take Main Street into small town and turn onto Lake Street. This road will eventually turn into County Route 3. Veer left on CR 3 at the Elk Creek Road junction and veer right at the Johnson Hollow Road junction.
The starts by following the dirt road up the hill. The old dirt road, although not maintained, is still a public right-a-way. A land owner has placed home made "private road" signs in an attempt to keep hikers and others away. Do not let this deter you. Stay on the dirt road as you hike up to the col between Bearpen Mountain and Vly Mountain, where you will find a hunters cabin located on private property.
Look to the right for the start of the herd path that leads to the summit of Vly Mountain. It is located near the DEC State Forest sign. I believe there are some faded blue blazes as well. There are no real views from Vly Mountain, except when the leaves are off the trees. It is a 1.8 mile hike to Vly Mountain with an elevation gain of over 1200 feet. You can reach Bearpen Mountain by going straight on the trail when you get back to the cabin at the col. Stay on the ridge and it's about 1.4 miles from the col to Bearpen.
You can also start from the north end of County Route 3 and follow the old road up to the col. This route is not only longer, it is steeper. Some try to hit all three summits on this ridge and start from one of the other two starting points for Roundtop and Bearpen Mountain. You will find info on those webpages. Look below for a topographic map to help assist in planning your adventure.
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