Indian Head Mountain, NY
Climb into The Catskills and enjoy the picturesque views that inspired the famous Hudson River School paintings. Influenced by Romanticism, these 19th century landscape painters embodied themes of exploration, discovery and settlement. Similarly, you can escape the monotony of daily life with the exploration of this Mountain loop. Picture hiking this loop in early summer with the wildflowers in full bloom. The subtle beauty is emphasized with a sharp contrast generated by the 500-foot cliffs of Indian Head. Both the ascent and descent offer rewarding panoramas, while the summit provides a you with a fragile spruce-fir environment. This is a highly respected rarity in the Eastern United States. There's no limit to what we can discover in a day! Return home for dinner after a day of high adventure.
The Catskill Park is a 300,000-acre forest preserve designated "forever wild." 98 peaks exceed 3,000 feet creating alpine characteristics that pair nicely with the quarries and dense forests. The Indian Head Mountain Loop lies west of Saugerties and offers vistas, wildflowers, fall foliage, and some of the best bird-watching in the state.
Location: Catskills, NY
Length: 6.9 or 8-mile loop options
Elevation change: 1,683 ft.
Seasons: Spring through Fall
Trail Head: 42°08'01.4"N 74°04'55.5"W
This lollipop loop trek begins at the DEC parking lot along Platte Clove Road. The hike starts south and delivers you to a very Catskillesque quarry with famously arranged [rock]ing chairs. I guarantee you won't be able to resist a photo while posing in the throne.
Next, the Long Path intersects with the red-blazed Devil's Path. Don't let the name discourage you but prepare yourself for a steep ascent and some probable hand over hand climbing. The Devil's Path leads up to Sherman's Lookout, where you will take in an impressive view of surrounding mountains including: Roundtop Mountain, High Peak, and Plattekill Mountain. Imagine reaching this outcropped ledge in early fall and feeling immobilized by the colorful leaves intertwined with evergreen branches that span the vista.
Once you reach Jimmy Dolan Notch, you have concluded you spurt on the Devil's Path. This is an excellent place to celebrate the victory with a much-deserved break and of course, lunch! Here, you will enjoy a parting view of Ashokan Reservoir and Slide Mountain Ridge before heading down the blue trail back toward Platte Clove Road.
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