View Full Version : Catskills trail compared to AT?

08-06-2012, 09:06
Hi! Im hoping to do a thru hike in 2013 and have been training by doing hikes in the Catskills and doing the 3500' peaks. For the thru-hikers out there and who are familiar with the Catskills trails, how does the Catskills trail compare to that of the AT? I realize the AT differs in all regions but is the steepness and rocky terrain comparable? Thanks!!!

08-06-2012, 10:15
Devil's Path would be a good comparison. Of course the AT varies depending on the region - Mid-Atlantic tends to be easier than the rest. A great prep would be to hike the Devil's Path in a couple of days with a full pack.

08-06-2012, 10:56
Great! Thanks! We've done some short segments of Devils Path with full packs but never all the way thru. I guess that is what we will focus on then. We did a short hike yesterday starting at Perdiger Road to Twin Mtn with full packs...in the rain...THAT was fun. :) Thanks again for suggestion!

08-07-2012, 13:42
If you can do devils path in a day, you'll be golden

08-07-2012, 14:59
From what I've read in trail guides, the trails in the Catskills are harder than most of the A.T., mile for mile, the Whites, western Maine and Katahdin notably excepted, along with occasional other spots. If you can trek along in the 'skills at a clip of 10+ miles and 3000+ feet gained in a day, or more, you're well on your way. The more I read about thru-hiking, the more it seems to me to be more about mental make-up than physical conditioning. Can you keep yourself mentally engaged and committed through tedium and bad weeks, which inevitably will happen now and then?

Personally, my hurdles to date are the time commitment and the sense of 2184 miles over multiple months being an overdose of a good thing. That will vary with each person, of course.

08-07-2012, 15:33
Good training, no doubt. I grew up in those woods. Have fun

08-07-2012, 19:00
Thanks for the advice and input! My knees took quite a pounding just doing two mtns in one day! Whew. Have some way to go then. So a good training ground to start. Thanks again all!!

08-07-2012, 21:14
The catskills are a great place to get used to some AT style trails. They aren't quite as hard as some portions of NH and ME, but will get you mentally ready for what you will be doing on a daily basis.
Speaking of the devils path, I'm planning on going for the Dayhike within the month. 24 miles, 18000+ feet of elavation change, woo!

08-07-2012, 22:46
Wow. That would include slide mtn as well! One day. Man. My quads and knees are aching just thinking about that. Lol!

08-07-2012, 22:52
The back side trail going up Hunter Mountain was fun. I was about 12 or 13 for that one. Uphill for about four miles or so.

Another Kevin
08-07-2012, 23:35
Wow. That would include slide mtn as well! One day. Man. My quads and knees are aching just thinking about that. Lol!

Huh? Slide isn't on the Devil's Path. The Devil's Path is Plattekill (trailless and not a 35'er), Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf, Plateau, the col between Hunter and Southwest Hunter, Westkill, and Saint Anne's (also not a 35'er). Some would say it extends to the trailless North Dome, Sherrill and Halcott, but customarily it ends at County Road 6 between West Kill and Spruceton.

Slide is farther south, in the Burroughs Range along with Wittenberg and Cornell.

End of facts, now for the opinions of a clueless weekender. (For what it's worth, I've done weekends in both the Catskills and the Whites. But I'm not a Real Hiker.)

The Devil's Path is good training for anything in the Whites or Mahoosucs - it's a comparable level of difficulty (except for the ugly weather in New England). The geology of the Catskills is similar to the geology of the Poconos - they're really two pieces of one ridge. This geology implies that the Catskill Crud and the Pennsylvania Rocks are quite similar indeed - and the Catskill Rock Monster eats boots with the same eagerness as his Pennsylvania cousin.

The Burroughs Range is also challenging, except for the west side of Slide, which is a cakewalk. (You can make it a little more strenuous, and a lot more fun, by doing Curtiss-Ormsbee instead of the main Burroughs Range Trail down the west side.)

The really crazy hike in the Catskills is the Nine Peak Loop: Wittenberg, Cornell, Slide, Table, Peekamoose, Rocky, Lone, Balsam Cap, Friday. The last four of these are trailless, and involve a lot of pushing through spruce, blackberry, and stinging nettle. I've heard they're actually easier to do on snowshoes. I'm never planning to attempt that. I'm a lazy bum, and when the time comes to climb Lone, Balsam Cap and Friday, I plan to make a base camp on the Neversink, drop packs there and slack up them.

I'd say that anyone who can do the Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide circuit (returning by Giant Ledge) in a day with full pack, or do the Devil's Path in two days with full pack (the usual campsite is at Devil's Tombstone), or do the Escarpment from Schutt Road to Windham High Peak in 2 days (3 if you throw in Black Dome and Thomas Cole), can start off from Springer doing major miles right from the get-go.

Another Kevin
08-07-2012, 23:39
The back side trail going up Hunter Mountain was fun. I was about 12 or 13 for that one. Uphill for about four miles or so.

Yeah, I must have been about that age, too, when I did it the first time. I was in there part way just a couple of weeks ago, but I was doing Rusk rather than Hunter. We were planning to make a loop of Rusk, Hunter and SW Hunter, but Rusk kicked our arses, with all the brush. No-blazing can be hard work.

08-08-2012, 06:30
@ Kevin: yup. I stand corrected. Visualized the wrong map. Thanks for input on the other trials!