Hiking: Mink Hollow via the old Mink Hollow Trail | Catskill Mountains, NY | 12/25/10

One of the benefits of getting to spend Christmas in the Catskills is having the ability to go out on a Christmas hike. So Moe and I, along with my Dad headed out for an afternoon trip. Maisy was there too, now an old pro after her first hike back in Massachusetts on Noon Hill.  We didn't have a ton of time between Christmas morning and then dinner that evening, so we picked something close and not all that long and ended up heading into Mink Hollow.  We had an ulterior motive to, to get measurements on the privy for the leanto, since this upcoming summer that is one of the privies that is scheduled to refurbished.

The original Mink Hollow trail climbed into Mink Hollow (the notch between Plateau and Sugarloaf mountains) from the end of Mink Hollow Road.  The trail was abandoned when a new trail was cut from a new parking area along the Roaring Kill Road. That Roaring Kill Trailhead lets you climb Sugarloaf in a loop since you can hike to Mink Hollow, head over Sugarloaf and then from Pecoy Notch, head back down to the Roaring Kill trailhead.

However for a quick an easy hike, the old Mink Hollow trail is a great choice.  It's an old road and even though it hasn't been maintained in years, it is still very easy to follow and provides access to the Mink Hollow leanto with about 3/4 of a mile of solid climbing.

Mink Hollow Hike - 12/25/10

Mink Hollow Hike - 12/25/10

Mink Hollow Hike - 12/25/10

Since we were there before the December Blizzard (which hit the next day), there was only about 3-4 inches of snow on the ground.  Just enough to hide any slippery icy spots, but not to slow you down that much.

We headed out with Maisy and made the climb rapidly, coming upon the leanto pretty quickly.  Turns out that there was someone there trying to spend the night.  When we arrived she was standing in front of the fire shivering.  She was probably quite close to reaching the incoherent stage of hypothermia.  She was not able to get her fire started and had spent three hours trying to get it started, the entire time, getting colder and colder.

Turns out the problem was that she had collected all green wood and with the cold weather, wet wood wasn't going to start no matter how hard you tried.  So we took her and started gathering dry, dead wood and some birch bark.  Within about 5 minutes we had a fire going and then stayed long enough to make sure that it was going to stay going as we got it burning enough to handle heavier wood.

We did try to explain the issues surrounding staying in the woods overnight on a night like that.  It was already under 20 degrees and her bag was only a 15 degree bag, which we were easily going to go under that night.  We also explained that she was going to need a ton of wood before it got dark to have enough to make it through the night.

Not sure if she made it all night or if she walked down to her car, but we did our part to at least get her to a place where she wasn't going to get into serious trouble.

I said to Moe and my Dad on the way down that we helped out with our own kind of Christmas miracle.

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.



  1. Greetings from Southern California.

    I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to :-)

    God Bless You, ~Ron


Post a Comment