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Eagle and Haynes Mountain

Eagle Mountain

Overview of this Hike:

Distance: 7.86 miles round trip from the DEC Parking Lot on Rider Hollow Road.
Time: Average 4.75 hours round trip in the Summer
Elevation Gain: 1,559 feet from the DEC Parking Lot and the summit.
Best Time to Hike: Anytime.
Difficulty: Moderate
VO Map No: 66 & 44
Catskill Highest: #27
Eagle - USGS Peak Elevation: 3,602' (USGS)
Eagle - USGS Peak GPS: 42.0620352,-74.5093200
Haynes - USGS Peak Elevation: 3,425' (USGS)
Haynes - USGS Peak GPS: 42.0792571,-74.5079309
Digital Mapper: Topo Terrain Satellite
Attractions: Nice hike in the Winter
Attractions: Very remote and rarely hiked mountains
Unattractions: Many stream crossings with risk of falling in
Unattractions: Trail is poorly maintained.
Unattractions: Significant prickers during the middle of the Summer
Unattractions: Absolutely no views
Dangers: Falling into stream during Winter - high risk during high water conditions.
Common Animals: Deer, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, bears, Great-Horned Owls, mice, voles, rabbits, etc.
Risky Animals: Rattlesnakes (none known), Bears (Moderate),
Access Methods: Foot and snowshoe

Maps, Profile, and GPS files

Eagle Mountain GPS map
Eagle Mountain elevation profile
Click here to download the GPS file in Garmin GDB format
Click here to download the GPS file in Garmin TEXT format

Directions to Trail Head from New York State Thruway (Easist, not the shortest):

  • GPS Coordinates to DEC Parking Lot: N42 06.123 W74 31.000 - Elevation is approximately 1,973 feet
  • Take New York State Thruway to Exit 19 (Kingston).
  • Take a right out of the NYS Thruway toll booths onto Rt 28.
  • Go approximately 30.4 miles west on Rt 28
  • Take a left onto Rt 49A at Highmount (Belleayre Ski Center)
  • Go 5.1 miles on Rt 49A.
  • Take a LEFT onto Rider Hollow Road Road
  • Go appoximately 2.2 miles to the VERY END of Rider Hollow Road.
  • Drive until you cannot drive any further - Will be blocked by Yellow DEC gate
  • Road will change from a 2-lane road to a 1-lane road that looks like a driveway - keep going to very end of road.
  • The DEC Parking lot is at the very end of Rider Hollow Road - GPS: N42 06.123 W74 31.000

  • Notes about this Hike

    The hike to Eagle Mountain is in Ulster county. The hike can be done in a number of different directions. It can be accessed from Rider Hollow Road, Dry Brook Road (Seager) (easiest to get lost), McKinley Hollow Road (most vertical), and Biscuit Brook (longest). There are pros and cons to each direction depending upon the time of year. The trail to Eagle Mountain is poorly maintained, so some people like to hike it in the Winter with Snowshoes. The hike is moderate in ability. In the summer the numerous stream crossings are fun, but in the Winter they are a concern. This hike has one of the most plentiful wildlife sections of the Catskill Mountains. Many of the species of animals were killed off in the 1800's. Many have not recovered. But, this section has recovered fairly well. We saw plenty of black bear scat.

    Hiking it from Dry Brook Road can be difficult. The trail disappears in the Summer weeds. It is about the same distance from Dry Brook Road as from Rider Hollow Road. It is easy to get lost on the Dry Brook Road route because of the trails that shoot off the trail. So, it is often better to take the Rider Hollow Road. The path from McKinley Hollow Road has the most amount of vertical. It has another 400 vertical foot climb then the other two routes. The path is steeper and more difficult. If you want a challenge, then this route might be better. It has almost the same mileage. The route from Biscuit Brook is the longest by far. It is approximately 13-14 miles round trip. Some people bushwhacked it from Dry Brook Road.

    When you start out from the DEC parking lot at the very end of Rider Hollow Road, the walk is fairly flat. You will be walking next to the creek, and will cross it a number of times. In the beginning, it will be over bridges. Later you will make quite a few stream crossings. During high water, you may not be able to take this route. This route is generally used during lower water.

    After you cross the steel bridge you will encounter the Lean-To. It is about a 1/2 mile from the DEC Parking Lot. As you move further down the trail you will cross the stream quite a few times. In the summer you have to be careful of the weeds near the stream. Some have horrible prickers on the shafts of the weeds. They are very painful and plentiful. The further up you go, the steeper the trail gets. At the col, you will then take a right up the hill. The trail from the col to Haynes and Eagle Mountain is very poorly maintained. In some places you cannot tell there is a trail. The prickers grow well along the path.

    Then you will arrive on the summit of Haynes Mountain, the highest point is about 50 feet off to the left of the trail. There is NO view point. After you leave the summit and head to Eagle Mountain, you will descend a the steepest part of the hike. Again, this trail is poorly maintained, and you can fall off the trail easily.

    When you approach the summit of Eagle Mountain, you will have to take an unmarked trail on the right to the summit of Eagle Mountain. The summit is about 200 feet off the marked trail. Again, there is NO views. When you get done, reverse your course back to the car.

    Mile Stone Chart

    Mile PointAltitudeNotes
    0.002,055 DEC Parking Lot & Registration Box - N41 56.139 W74 19.692 .
    0.372,133 Water Pipe next to stream - across stream on the bank.
    0.382,135' Trail Junction - Take RIGHT over steel bridge
    0.512,172' Lean-To by Stream
    1.893,072 4-Way Trail Junction - Go RIGHT up hill
    2.443,425 Summit of Haynes Mountain.
    3.803,603 Trail to the Summit of Eagle Mountain.
    3.843,613 Summit of Eagle Mountain.
    7.862,055 DEC Parking Lot.

    Hike to Haynes and Eagle Mountains

    parking lot at rider hollow for Eagle Mountain
    The picture on the left is the DEC parking lot at the very end of Rider Hollow Road. The yellow gate with the stop sign is the beginning of the trail.

    This picture is taken while looking from the gate looking back down Rider Hollow Road. You will notice that the road is very narrow (one lane road).
    registration for Eagle Mountain
    If you look just left of the yellow gate you will see the DEC registration box. Make sure that you register so that this trial will get the necessary funds for maintenance.

    The picture on the right shows the sign by the beginning of the trail head. You will notice that the sign is very high up the tree.
    Eagle Mountain
    authorized DEC camping spot at the rider hollow road parking area
    The picture on the left shows side trail to a authorized camping area. This side trail is about 50-100 from the gate on the right.

    This hike involves crossing steams often, and this is one of the few areas that has a wooden bridge across it.
    trail to Eagle Mountain
    trail to Eagle Mountain
    This is just the first of many creek crossings you will have to do. This route is a bad choice at high water. In the beginning, you will have bridges, but later on you will have to find a way to get across the creek.
    Eagle Mountain
    Eagle Mountain
    At mile post 0.35 you may notice a water pipe across the creek. To get to the pipe you can walk across the bridge 50 feet up the trail. The water pipe is hard to see in the picture. It is in the middle of the picture.

    50 feet past the water pipe is one of the major trail junctions. You want to go RIGHT over the bridge. The bridge was made from a former Fire Tower.
    Eagle Mountain
    Eagle Mountain
    After you cross the creek you will come to a Lean-To. There is a nice fire ring for a good fire.
    Eagle Mountain
    At this point, you will have some rock steps you help you across the creek. When it gets below freezing, these rocks get real slippery.

    After the Lean-to the trail will start to get steeper. The closer you get to the col, the steeper it gets.
    Eagle Mountain
    Eagle Mountain
    In the summer, you will see a lot of Stinging Nettles along the trail(Urtica dioica). These plants look harmless, the the shafts have thousands stiff prickers. If you rub up against them, it will be a bad experience. It will intensely burn and itch for about 30 minutes. During the middle of the summer, the Stinging Nettles will be overgrown well into the path. This is not the kind of path you want to do in sandels. The Stinging Needles are found predominately around the stream. Since the path follows the stream, you will encounter a lot of them on this hike. Once you get up to the col, the Stinging Needles will stop growing.
    col in between Balsam Mountain and Haynes Mountain and Eagle Mountain
    There is a small section that runs through a small section of conifer forest.

    When you get to the col, you will see a number of signs. At this point you want to take a RIGHT and head up the hill.
    Eagle Mountain
    Eagle Mountain
    This is the sign that points to Haynes Mountain and Eagle Mountain.

    The trail is fairly easy, but there are a number of small quick uphill climbs. Nothing serious.
    Eagle Mountain
    trail up to Haynes Mountain
    The trail from the col up to Haynes Mountain and Eagle Mountain is poorly maintained. Sometimes the trail will disappear, so you may have to find a way back on the trail.
    Eagle Mountain
    The picture shows the summit of Haynes Mountain. There are actually two rocks about 50 feet on the right that are actually the highest spot on Haynes Mountain. Just after the summit, is a steeper downhill grade. Nothing serious.
    Eagle Mountain
    The trail continues with overgrowth of trees, pickers, and bushes. In some places the prickers grow right into the trail.
    Eagle Mountain
    The picture on the left shows a small clearing. It seems like the trail continues straight, but it actually turns right here. The trail is poorly marked, so be careful here.
    Eagle Mountain
    This is another picture of the trail.

    When you get to the top of Eagle Mountain, there is a trail on the right. Take that trail. In about 200 ' you will reach a rock cairn that marks the top of Eagle Mountain.

    Links and References:
    Tell us about your Trip & Read about other people's experience
    NYS DOT site with information on Stinging Needles

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