Hiking: Tremper Mountain and the Warner Creek Trail | Catskill Mountains, NY | 5/24/08 to 5/25/08

Considering the trail has been around for several years now, it was one of the few longer distance trails in the Catskills that I have yet to hike, so this past Memorial Day weekend I decided to do an overnight trip along the Warner Creek Trail from Tremper Mountain in the South to Silver Hollow Notch in the north.

The trip starts at the Tremper Mountain Trailhead in Phoencia, makes its way up Tremper Mountain, follows a ridgeline until it descends down to Warner Creek and then makes its way over Edgewood Mountain until reaching Silver Hollow Notch.

It turned out to be perfect weather all weekend, so I really lucked out there. On Saturday, I started out at the Tremper Mountain trailhead. It was fairly full of cars, but I actually didn’t run into that many people.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
I actually kind of wondered where they all were after I passed the Fire Tower since there aren’t too many places for people to go except for the Warner Creek Trail or to drop back down to Willow and judging from the levels of use on those trails, I wouldn’t think that many people are walking them.

Maybe they were hiding in the leantos, since I didn’t bother to go and look if anyone was staying in them.

The trip up Tremper was pretty uneventful. The most exciting part was less than a few minutes along the trail when I came across a garter snake.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
The trail follows the old jeep road that was used to access the fire tower (the fire tower warden used to drive up each day to man the tower) so it’s not overly steep or rugged, but it’s a stead grade that lasts pretty much right to the top of the mountain. There are really no views or anything as you climb, but it’s a pleasant trip.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
Warner Creek Trail Hike
Notice the hair hasn’t gone crazy yet. I had forgotten to bring my hiking cap and I spent the entire trip going “why didn’t I bring my hat,” especially as the blackflies continually flew around my head and got into my hair.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
Once you reach the top of Tremper, the trail continues along the flat summit until you reach the fire tower.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
I spent some time there having lunch and then climbing the tower to take some photos. The views weren’t quite as impressive as I thought they might be since the trees are almost as tall as the fire tower. You are only maybe 20 feet above the crowns of the trees at the top of the tower, which limits your views.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
Warner Creek Trail Hike
The trail beyond the summit of Tremper Mountain takes on a decidedly more rustic feel as you continue past the fire tower. Use drops off considerably and the trail becomes little more than a slightly worn in foot path through some fairly dense vegetation.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
After a few miles of basically just walking along a high ridge, you come to the trail junction with the Warner Creek Trail, the Tremper Mountain Trail and the Willow Trail.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
Warner Creek Trail Hike
From here it’s only a little more than 2 miles down to Warner Creek. However, the level of use, which was already pretty low on the trail to this point drops even more. The Warner Creek trail after this trail junction is really just a route that is marked with trail markers. The level of use hasn’t been enough to really wear in a visible footpath and in several places it’s quite overgrown.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
There were a couple of spots I’d have to backtrack to the last trail marker I had seen in order to find out where the trail went. In a few places I sort of just struck out and eventually found the trail again. Definitely some rough going in places.

The trail makes its way down quite steeply into the Warner Creek valley. I was pretty surprised at how steep it got – and was glad I was going down and not up it. The trail eventually comes out to a small stream with a quarry adjacent to it.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
It’s kind of cool – the quarry was carved into the right-hand side of the creek and the waste rock from the quarry was just thrown into the creek bed. The quarry isn’t that big – but you don’t often see one right in a creek. Could you imagine trying to get a permit to do that today?

From there, the trail crosses the creek and joins up with the old quarry road, which makes its way down to the area around Warner Creek. This looks like it was an old farm as there’s an old foundation and the area just seems very open and park-like – lots of grass fields and stuff.

I decided to continue a bit further to find a place to camp since it was still fairly early in the afternoon. I crossed Warner Creek, which was a bit of challenge since there’s no bridge and no logs hanging across and explored a bit on that side of the valley.

I eventually found a place to camp and started to get settled. First thing was to get a fire going to chase away the black flies that had been swarming all over me.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
Thankfully the ground was wet enough that I could just build a fire like this and not worry about it. When I was finished, I just made sure it was out, mixed the ash up with some water, worked the dirt back around it and then put the leaves back and you’d have been hard pressed to know there was a fire there.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
This trip was also my first attempt at using my new bivy sack. I didn’t really mind it, but there’s just something that a tent has that the bivy sack doesn’t. That said, setting it up sure is easy – just roll it out and put in the pole support and you’re good to go.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
It got cold as the evening wore on so out came the fleece.

As it finally got dark, I crawled into my sleeping bag and pretty much fell asleep. I discovered halfway through the night that my new air mattress had a leak since it was flat. I blew it up and it was flat again within the hour. Hence there will be a trip back to REI sometime in my near future. Besides the flat mattress the night wasn’t too bad.

I didn’t have a thermometer with me, but I’d guess it was somewhere in the upper 30s when I got up on Sunday morning. It was cold sitting there making my oatmeal.

From Warner Creek the trail starts to make its way up Edgewood Mountain. The climb isn’t really steep, but it is quite long, lasting about 2 miles or so. The trail on this side is slightly easier to follow than on the other side, but it’s still not great, so I found myself from time to time having to backtrack or just stop and really look for the next trail marker.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
From the top of Edgewood there aren’t any views to speak of. The only views you do get is just before you start really descending into Silver Hollow Notch. There are some glimpses of Plateau Mountain’s Daley Ridge across the notch.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
Warner Creek Trail Hike
The trip down Edgewood Mountain to Silver Hollow Notch was steeper than I expected. I didn’t think there was that much elevation difference between the summit of the mountain the notch, but there turns out to be several hundred feet of difference and you quickly drop down into the notch where you come to the trail junction with the new section of the Long Path up Plateau to the Devil’s Path via Daley Ridge. You can also follow the yellow trail down Silver Hollow Notch, which is what I did.

Warner Creek Trail Hike
Warner Creek Trail Hike
Warner Creek Trail Hike
All in all a very good hike.

I liked the fact that you could go that far without having to cross a road. Not only that, it was a pretty rugged experience considering the condition of the trail.

Another cool fact that is if you continue up Daley Ridge to the Devil’s Path, you can create an approximately 25 mile hike from Mount Tremper to Meads or Platte Clove (depending on which direction you go after finishing Indian Head Mountain) where you won’t be crossing any roads. This is probably the longest roadless section of trail in the Catskill Mountains and it rivals the length of longest roadless sections of trail in the Adirondacks. Not only that, it’s quite the hike as you’d cover Mount Tremper, Edgewood Mountain, Plateau Mountain, Sugarloaf, Twin, and Indian Head Mountains along with Overlook Mountain if you went out to the Meads trailhead.



Need more information on hiking and planning your 
trips to the Catskills and the Catskill Park?




Need a hiking map for your hikes in the Catskills? We recommend the Trail Conference's Catskills Trails 6-Map Set. These maps are the best available for hiking and outdoor adventures in the Catskills and the Catskill Park. The Catskill Center offers a regional map of the Catskills that provides an excellent overview of the region, it's roadways, attractions and trails. National Geographic Trails Illustrated also produces a map for the region. 

How about a guidebook? Both AMC and ADK publish trail guides to the Catskill Region and thAdventures in the Outdoors Bookstore carries many more books and maps that will help you as you hike and explore the Catskill Mountains region. 

If you are looking for more information about the extensive history of the Catskill Mountains and the Catskill Park, we would suggest reading The Catskills, From Wilderness to Woodstock and The Catskill Park, Inside the Blue Line. For the most comprehensive natural history of the Catskill Park and the Forests of the Catskill region, we recommend reading The Catskill Forest, a History by Michael Kudish.

   

Comments

  1. My family lived in Silver Hollow and owned about 210 acres on the eastern side of Edgecomb Mountain. back in the 1960's. Warner's Creek was the eastern boundary of our property. My brother and I walked from our house over Silver Hollow Notch to catch the school bus on rt 214. which took us to Hunter and the Elementary School. We never climbed to the top of what we termed our mountain, which is now called Edgecomb Mountain. I look forward to hiking The Warner Creek Trail and finally climbing our Mountain after all these years.

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  2. It is well worth the time to hike the trail now.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story, really appreciate it.

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