Hiking: Sugarloaf Mountain - Devil's Path Challenge With Alan O'Mara and Hal Brodie - May 20, 2016

The Devil's Path Challenge with Hal Brodie and Alan O'Mara

Sugarloaf Mountain is is the third hike of our Devil's Path Series. We are doing the six peaks in order, all as thru hikes. This past winter we completed Indian Head, Twin, and now Sugarloaf mountains.

For this hike, we spotted one vehicle at the end of MInk Hollow Road, where we would end the hike. We went over to the Roaring Kill Trail Head, and were on the trail at 8:40 AM. Elevation at the Roaring Kill TH is 2008 feet.

Temperature was in the low 60's, with a slight breeze as we gained elevation. A perfect day for a strenuous hike. We hiked the 1.3 miles to Dibbles Quarry arriving at 9:30 AM. The trail is rocky, but dry with a few steep spots. Elevation at Dibbles Quarry is 2334 feet.

We continued on to the col between Twin and Sugarloaf mountains (Pecoy Notch), passing the remains of a huge beaver dam. The  col is at an elevation of 2573 feet, Pausing briefly we started up the steep incline.

From the col to the summit of Sugarloaf is an elevation gain of 1200 feet in 1.2 miles. A series of ledges, chutes, and steep rocky pitches led us past two open ledges, with partial views of Twin. After the steepest part, we stopped for lunch at noon. Continuing on past the summit at 3779 feet, we hit the Yellow Trail turnoff, which led to beautiful expansive views to the south. The Yellow Trail is at an elevation 3730 feet at the 3.3 mile point of the hike. We spent some time there, and started heading down to the col between Sugarloaf and Plateau Mountains (Mink Hollow) at 1:15 PM.

From the summit to the col is one mile, with a drop of 1200 feet down a very steep rocky trail. We had to sit and drop in a number of spots, and I had to use a rope to maneuver down one particularly steep pitch.

We arrived at the col at about 2:30 PM, and made our way out the 6/10 of a mile to the end of Mink Hollow Road arriving about 3:30 PM. Using Mink Hollow as an end point saved us over two miles vs hiking down to the Roaring Kill Trail Head. This is a great short cut, especially after a very tough hike.

Grades of the hike ranged up to 74%, and there were a lot of spots in the 50% and 60% range.

The hike distance is 5.4 miles, and we were on the trail almost seven hours. Ascent 1858 fee. Descent 1596 feet. Minimum elevation 2008 feet. Maximum 3779 feet. A beautiful day, with a safe return, and a tremendous amount of satisfaction.


Read up on the Catskill Park at our Catskill Mountains Information Page for hikes, advice, travel and planning information.   We have a Guide to Hiking in the Catskills available.

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 that is useful for trip planning and road navigation. How about a guidebook?  Both AMC and ADK publish trail guides to the Catskill 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.