The Devil’s Path offers some of the most challenging and beautiful hiking n the Catskills. The trail is 24.75 miles in length and goes over Indian Head (3,573 ft), Twin (3,640 ft), Sugarloaf (3,800 ft), Plateau (3,840 ft) and West Kill (3,880 ft) mountains. Following this ridge line, it also descends steeply into the Jimmy Dolan, Pecoy, Mink Hollow, Stony Clove and Diamond notches which can be extremely dangerous when icy or wet.
Most backpackers hike the route in a 1 or 2 night trip. Shelters and camping are available Mink Hollow Lean-to (9.25 miles), Devil’s Tombstone State Campground (13.70 miles) and Devil’s Acre Lean-to (15.85 miles).
The trail is extremely rocky and very steep, traversing talus fields and beautiful balsam summits, while providing breathtaking views. You should assume an average hiking speed of one to one point five miles be hour with a 25 pound backpack. Water sources, both natural and tapped springs, are abundant, even in summer.
The Devil’s Path is not to be underestimated. One particularly memorable highlight for me was a solo ascent of Plateau Mountain from Mink Hollow in the pouring rain in late October. This is a very steep 1,350 foot climb in just under one mile and I literally had to claw my way up with water flowing underfoot the entire way. After summiting, I got a little concerned about my increased hypothermia risk and approaching nightfall, and beat feat to descend.
If you are considering an end-to-end thru, my advice is to preposition your shuttle the night before you begin your hike. Driving distances in this part of the Catskills are always much longer than the crow flies due to the rural nature of the road system and the placement of mountain passes. I’ve never had a security problem leaving my car parked at Catskill trail heads and many are positioned in rural residential areas. The New York DEC also patrols them frequently and you should be fine.
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