Hiking: Kaaterskill High Peak | Catskill Mountains, NY | October 2007

While Kaaterskill High Peak is considered a peak without a trail by some, its northern side is actually home to one of the oldest maintained foot trails in the region, if not the oldest in the Catskills. Not only that, but another, rougher trail runs up the southern face of the mountain. Both trails are fairly clear and are easy to follow and make for a good traverse of the mountain. I prefer a southern approach with the descent down the northern side as the southern side is steeper and descent would be more difficult, especially if the rocks were wet or icy.

The best way to access the Kaaterskill High Peak is via Steenburg Road and the snowmobile trail that travels around both High Peak and the nearby Roundtop. Steenberg Road is an unmaintained road that travels from its intersection with Platte Clove Road near the top of Platte Clove, past a Forest Preserve access parking lot and up to a series of private camps on the slopes of High Peak. After about a mile though, the snowmobile trail, the Long Path and the Huckleberry Point trail diverge from the road and continue on their way.

Kaaterskill High Peak Hike
If you have a high-clearance 4wd vehicle, you can save yourself a mile of walking and drive to this point. The Huckleberry Point trail quickly diverges and the Long Path and the snowmobile trail continue climbing the shoulder of High Peak. I got to finally use the 4wd low on my truck, which made it up without any problem.

Kaaterskill High Peak Hike
The trail eventually reaches a height of land and then meets up with the snowmobile trail loop around the two mountains. When you first reach the height of land, you can bushwack up to the snowmobile loop trail, saving yourself a bit of walking and then backtracking.

Kaaterskill High Peak Hike
You’ll pass a small airplane crash site on your way around to the southern face of the mountain. The trail though is generally flat and in the wetter seasons, can be quite muddy.

Kaaterskill High Peak Hike
Kaaterskill High Peak Hike
You’ll soon come across a large stone cairn that marks where the unofficial trail begins climbing up Kaaterskill High Peak (it also travels downward towards Josh Road, but you’ll have to cross private property to reach the road). From here, it’s not very far to the summit, but there’s plenty of vertical to climb.

Kaaterskill High Peak Hike
Kaaterskill High Peak Hike
The trail reaches Hurricane Ledge slightly below the true summit. This has to be one of the best views in all of the Catskills. You look south out across Platte Clove towards the Devil’s Path Range. To the east is the Catskill Escarpment and the Hudson Valley and to the west the mountains continue.

Kaaterskill High Peak Hike
Kaaterskill High Peak Hike
Kaaterskill High Peak Hike
Hurricane Ledge Panorama
That last shot is a panaroma and is best viewed in full-size. Click through to Flickr to see the full-sized image. Also, all the peaks are labeled.

The true summit is located within the woods a bit further up the trail.

The trail down the north side of the mountain quickly reaches the snowmobile loop trail and you follow that back around to where the Long Path and Snowmobile trail descend down to Steenburg Road. In total, it around a seven mile round-trip hike.

All in all, it’s one of my favorite Catskill Hikes (though I have to admit the portion along the Long Path and Snowmobile Trail isn’t all that exciting) with one of the best views in the region.

Visit Flickr for the entire photoset from this trip.



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

Comments

  1. Lots of nice info and pix, thanks. Just tried an overnight up here yesterday. An hour in it was 8 degrees at 4 pm, trail was icy, my fingers frozen. Bailed, but really want to get back up this trail.

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