Hiking: Twin Mountain Loop via the Pecoy Notch, Devil's Path and Jimmy Dolan Notch Trails | Catskill Mountains, NY | 6/26/09

Twin Mountain is like an old friend to me. I spent two summers as an Assistant Forest Ranger hiking it probably more times than I can count and I grew up in the area too, which has added a lot more trips. So it's sort of like an old standby, but I hadn't been up there in a while so I decided to make a trip. Sadly, the weather didn't really cooperate since it rained about 50% of the time, but while I was on top I did get a few good views from the various outlooks.

The Pecoy Notch Trail starts at the Roaring Kill Road Trailhead.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

The trail quickly climbs up to a trail junction where the Mink Hollow Trail goes off to the right and the Pecoy Notch Trail heads left towards Dibbles Quarry and then up into the notch. Considering the amount of rain the area has had, things are just so green and it almost feels like you're hiking in a jungle. It didn't help that the storms were starting to roll in either, so the humidity was just hanging in the air.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

From the trail junction, the Pecoy Notch Trail starts climbing up through a couple of benches as it makes its way through some smaller abandoned quarries. Though the best is saved for last. The trail drops a bit and you climb out into the talus slope of Dibbles Quarry. This large quarry gives you a great view of the Platte Clove region along with High Peak and Round Top across the valley.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

From there the trail crosses a stream and then follows it up along a fairly deep gorge before it turns towards the east and passes by a small vly.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

From here the trail turns a bit and you come up along the shoreline of a beaver pond just below Pecoy Notch. The beavers have taken advantage of this natural depression below the notch, which looks to have been at least partially carved out by glaciers. The trail passes below the beaver dam (though the beavers being industrious have started building dams downstream so the trail is quite wet and might have to be moved in the near future.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

The trail rejoins the original Pecoy Notch Trail shortly after that and makes the final ascent up to Pecoy Notch between Sugarloaf Mountain to the west and Twin Mountain to the east.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

From the Notch the trail takes a pretty direct route up the western shoulder of Twin Mountain. The lower portion of the trail is actually a scramble up, over and around some pretty large boulders and talus. Since it had been raining since Dibbles Quarry and the woods were just soaked, that made the climb up a little extra challenging since water + Catskill rocks = really slippery stuff. It wasn't too difficult though, you just had to watch where you were putting your feet.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

There is a decent view from the trail not too far up from the notch. It lets you look down into the Notch and across to Sugarloaf.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

As you can tell, on this hike, all you really could see were the clouds streaming up and over the mountains and through the notch. That's also about the time that I started hearing the thunder off in the distance. I just kept hoping that it would stay off in the distance.

The trail continues climbing, fairly steeply in places, until it reaches a fairly large rock shelter just above the 3500 foot elevation. This overhanging rock creates a "cave" that provides some respite from the weather. Considering it was still raining, I took advantage of that and enjoyed a snack and had a chance to take a break without having to stand in the rain.
Just above the cave a little higher on the mountain is the western summit of Twin and the first of the really good views. From here you get about a 270 degree view from the north over Sugarloaf and Plateau and then south towards the Southern Catskills. When I was there it was mostly overcast, but it was still a stunning view.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
The trail descends the higher western summit to a small col between the summits and then comes out on the eastern summit. This is probably where the best view of the mountain is. There's an open rock ledge that allows for a great view of the entire area.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Just after that viewpoint, there's a small view along the trail that gives you a view down into Jimmy Dolan Notch and across to Indian Head Mountain.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

You drop pretty quickly down into the notch after that. From the Notch you can either continue along the Devil's Path up and over Indian Head Mountain, or you can go down the Jimmy Dolan Notch Trail to reach the Prediger Road trailhead and parking area.

Considering the rain throughout the trip and fact that as I came into the Notch it really started raining heavily, I decided to skip Indian Head on this trip and just head down to the parking area.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

The trail down is pretty uneventful, though it's got plenty of switchbacks which seems to make it almost endless. As you get down though you'll cross a small creek and then come to the trail junction with the Devil's Path after it comes down from Indian Head.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

From there, it's about 4/10s of a mile or so to the new Prediger Road parking area and trailhead.

Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09
Twin Mountain Hike - 6/26/09

All told the trip is about 5.7 miles in length and it takes a good four hours or so if you take your time to enjoy the views and the climbs.

You can view all the photos and videos in this Flickr set.



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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