Hiking: Sugarloaf Mountain | Devil's Path | Catskill Mountains, NY | 7/8/07

While it wasn’t the coolest summer day to go over Sugarloaf, it turned out that while it remained quite hazy throughout the day, the weather on the mountain was sunny and with the strong breeze that blew most of the day, not too hot.

Of course, I’ve got the sunburn to prove that it was sunny.

We started the trip on the old Mink Hollow Trail that starts at the end of Mink Hollow Road instead of using the new Mink Hollow Trail which starts off the Roaring Kill Road. It saves some walking and having never been a big fan of the new trail, I like the old way to get to the notch.

Sugarloaf Hike
Once we reached Mink Hollow, we headed east on the Devil’s Path and began our ascent of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Sugarloaf Hike
It’s only about a mile from Mink Hollow to the top of Sugarloaf but with a summit around 3,800 feet, there’s plenty of vertical relief to climb up. The trail makes its way through several different lines of cliffs where it clambers up through boulders and cracks in the rocks.

Sugarloaf Hike

Sugarloaf Hike
One of my complaints about hiking Sugarloaf is that there aren’t that many views (well, not as many as neighboring Twin Mountain or Indian Head). When I was an Assistant Forest Ranger, I’d always leave hikes of Sugarloaf until last – it just wasn’t my favorite on the Devil’s Path. So that was one reason we settled on it – neither my Father nor I had been there in years – so we figured we would revisit the mountain. As I expected, there are few of the “wow” views that are on other mountains but I was actually surprised at how good the views were – my memory must be getting rusty.

You get a good view looking across from the side of Sugarloaf towards Plateau Mountain as you are climbing up.

Sugarloaf Hike
As you get to the crest of the mountain, there’s another good view (though it is starting to grow in) on top of a large boulder. From there – you look across to Plateau and towards the south across to Slide and its surrounding mountains.

Sugarloaf Hike

Sugarloaf Hike
From there, you continue up more gently until you come to a yellow side trail that goes off to a more direct view of the south.

Sugarloaf Hike
Sugarloaf Hike
Past the yellow trail, the Devil’s Path makes its way across the summit of Sugarloaf and slowly meanders across the top of the mountain. As you start to descend, there’s a small herd path that leads to a spectacular view.

Sugarloaf Hike
It’s even more amazing because as you can tell from the shot, you can barely see any human activities from this view – it’s basically all wilderness.

The trail starts drooping a lot quicker at this point, descending down into Pecoy Notch. There are a few views across to Twin Mountain, but no real dedicated “vistas.” The best you’ll get are some views through the trees.

Sugarloaf Hike
At Pecoy Notch you can either continue on the trail and head up Twin Mountain, or you can take the blue trail out of the notch to the Roaring Kill Road. Since our car was at the Roaring Kill Road parking lot, we headed down.

Sugarloaf Hike
As we descended, I was surprised to find that the beavers had returned to the small stream that is located below the crest of Pecoy Notch. This naturally swampy area has been flooded over the years by beaver, but the last time I was there it had been dry for several years.

Sugarloaf Hike
Now the beavers have a dam of about 2 feet in height or so built and quite an area flooded.

One of the neat attributes of the blue trail is that it travels through Dibble’s Quarry. This quarry was used in the 1800s to mine Catskill Bluestone. The stones were used as sidewalks in both local and more distant cities. In places like Kingston and Saugerties you can still find bluestone sidewalks and even in New York City, some of the old bluestone can still be found on sidewalks.

Since the quarry was abandoned, folks have used the scrap rock to build stone walls, staircases, seats, fireplaces and even two grand thrones that overlook the Platte Clove area.

Sugarloaf Hike
Soon we were out to the parking lot and the Roaring Kill road and that was the end of our hike.



For More Information on Catskills Hiking and Outdoors

Check out our Catskill Mountain Information Page for hikes, advice and planning information.  Need a hiking map for the Catskills?  The Trail Conference publishes the Catskills Trails Map Set, which is the best set of maps available for hiking in the Catskills. How about a guidebook?  Both AMC and ADK publish Trail Guides to the Catskill Region


Guide to Catskill Trails (Forest Preserve, #8) (The Forest Preserve Series)AMC Catskill Mountain Guide, 2nd: AMC's Comprehensive Guide to Hiking Trails in the Catskills (Appalachian Mountain Club)Catskill Trails

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