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Where should you hike today? Where is a good swimming hole? Are the Mountain Laurel out in Harriman yet?

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an1089's picture

Going camping/hiking with my 4 year old son.  Looking for suggestions for easy hike and camping.  Want to avoid the camp grounds and give my son a true camping experience. Any help appreciated!
Fabian's picture

Does anyone have a great recommendation for a 2 day hike with great views in the Catskills? Any inputs and thoughts greatly appreciated! We'll be bringing tents and ideally would be camping along the trail.
Daniel Chazin's picture

Another good two-day hike in the Catskills is Hunter Mountain, starting from Spruceton Road.  You can make a loop via the Spruceton Trail, Hunter Mountain Trail and Devil's Path and stay at either the John Robb Lean-to or the Devil's Acre Lean-to.  If you want to make it into a three-day trip, you can stay one night at each.  There are excellent views from the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower as well as from a number of viewpoints along the trails.
BrianSnat's picture

You don't say if you need a loop or will be bringing multiple cars. Nor do you mention how many miles you are willing to hike in a day.  Here are a few ideas: Start in Woodland Vallley. Hike over Wittenberg, Cornell and Slide Mtn. Great views there. Then there is a road walk of about a mile.  You can spend the night at Giant Ledge (be sure to use a legal campsite because I've seen the rangers up there checking in the evening), then hike back out to Woodland Valley the next morning.  Awesome views on Wittenberg, Cornell and Giant Ledge.  Slide has a great view from the spring on the eastern slope.I think this one is about 15-18 miles if I recall correctly.   For something shorter, starting at Prediger Road take the Devils Path to the Jimmy Dolans notch trail. Take it to its end on the Devils Path and go east over Indian Head. Then head up the Overlook Trail and depending on how ambitious you are, camp near the shelter, or go further on to Echo Lake.  Then the next morning double back on the Overlook to the Devils Path and take that back to your car.   If you have two cars, Pather Mountain and Giant Ledge is a nice end to end hike. Great views along the way and it's short enough for a very leisurly hike. Another good end to end is taking the Peekamoose-Table Trail over Peekamoose and Table mountians. Camp along the Neversink, then you can take the unmarked but distinct trail along the Neversink to the Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail and out to Woodland Valley.  Or when leaving the Neversink catch the Phonecia East Branch and take it over the shoulder of Slide and out on Slide Mountain Rd (this offers fewer views on the 2nd day than going the Cornell Wittenberg route).   For views galore start at North/South Lake and take the Escarpment Trail south,then east and stay on it as it wraps north.  You can camp somewhere around Stoppel Point. Then return via the Marys Glen and Rock Shelter trails. This offers the most views, but also the most crowds, at least until you get beyond North Point.
SKYHIGH's picture

BrianSnat's picture

Hard to beat the Catskills in the Tri State area.  If you want to avoid people try the trails that don't have the awesome viewpoints.  If you insist on visiting the great views you will encounter a lot of people (esp. on Slide Mtn and around North/South Lake), unless you go midweek.  I've found the Catskills to be overall less crowded than much of the Adirondacks, though once you get away from the High Peaks and head west the crowds thin out, but so does the scenery somewhat.
JohnL's picture

I'm looking for the same thing.  I would like to do an overnight hike, pitch a tent and set up camp for the night.  I understand it's legal under 3500 feet and 150 feet off the trail, but the environment isn't always accommodating and there's nothing worse than being tired at the end of the day and the sun goes down without a campsite set up...  Let me know if you find anything out!!!
srtmaintainer's picture

Do you plan on camping in one spot and then hike around returning to your camp?Or are looking for a multi day backpack trip.  I do think you would like the southern Catskill's. Andy Garrison - [email protected]
Purple Octopus's picture

Looking to expand my options beyond Harriman.  I live in SI so I don't want to travel as far as the Catskills to do a Saturday night overnight hike.  Is there anywhere In Jersey that I can do an interesting hike, camp legally at the halfway point, and park the car overnight safely?  Looking for nothing more than an 8-9 mile round trip loop or out-and-back.  Thanks!
Purple Octopus's picture

Thanks to you both.  Will check out all those options!
Estelle's picture

There are AT leanto's plus camping in High Point State Park; lean to in Wawayanda State Park.  In addition, overnite camping is offered in Mahlon Dickerson Park (Morris County) and Stephens State Park, and others.    Check our parks listings for where camping is provided and you can plan weekend hikes from that.'s picture

There is the AT in the Kittatinnies, but I think that's about the same distance as the Catskills. Real back country camp sites don't exist in Northern New Jersey, but a great compromise would be Great hiking all around.
neil's picture

I am looking at doing a multinight backpack in Harriman starting on the Kakiat trail then going to S-BM.  I wanted to park at Kakiat park for 2 nights but I was told no overnight parking is allowed.  Does anyone know anywhere in that area I can leave my car for 3 days/2 nights.  I am willing to change the start point of my hike if I have to.  Any ideas?
LindaC's picture

There is the Town of Ramapo Equestrian Center which is just a little north of Kakiat on Route 202.  I have no idea about overnight parking but we've parked there for day hikes,  The SBM is just 1/2 mile in off the Pine Meadow.  I am sure you could find their number and ask them.
neil's picture

thanks for the insight - i was considered doing that but actually changed plans - i think i am going to park at reeves meadow visitor center - then to tom jones shelter night one, the big hill night two, then back to visitor center on day 3 - i think that will work - about 8 miles each day i think
neil's picture

If I were going to do the devil's path solo I obvioulsy can't drive two cars ;)  I plan on going east to west when I do it in spring.  Does anyone know if there is a cab company in the area that would pick me up at the west trailhead and take me back to my car that I can make arrangements or some other way I could get return transportation if I can't convince a family member to drive 3 hours and pick me up to take me to my car?  (i live in central nj)   any info as always is appreciated.
srtmaintainer's picture

Neil,  Use Smiley's Taxi as they serve the ski slopes and such in that area. They are in Tannersville and can be reached at (518) 589-6533. We used them when we did the Long Path through the northern Catskill's. The service was very good. I suggest parking your car at the end of your hike and taking the cab to the beginning. Have fun, Andy Garrison
neil's picture

thanks a lot for the info
thegup's picture

I never heard of this before.  Walking in the tracks is much easier than fresh powder.
Daniel Chazin's picture

As one who enjoys cross-country skiing, I think I can answer the question.  The ski tracks make it possible tor one to glide with one's skis, thereby enhancing the skiing experience.  If hikers walk in the tracks, they become uneven, and it is much more difficult (and much less fun) to follow those tracks in skis.  Common courtesy to skiers should require hikers not to step in the ski tracks. Given the near record temperatures we had today, I found it somewhat ironic that you chose this day to pose your question.  So far this season, your question has been solely a theoretical one!

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