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Hunter Mountain Loop

Hunter Mountain

Overview of this Hike:

Distance: 5.40 miles from the DEC Parking Lot on Rt 214.
Time: Average 4.50 hours round trip
Elevation Gain: 2,219 feet from the DEC Parking Lot and the summit.
Best Time to Hike: Morning.
Difficulty: Difficult
VO Map No: 30, 31, 91, 30
Catskill Highest: #2
Peak Elevation: 4,046'
Digital Mapper: Topo Terrain Satellite
Attractions: Shortest hike to Hunter Mountain
Attractions: Great views from Fire tower and ledge near the four-corners
Attractions: Nice loop around the top of Hunter Mountain
Unattractions: The trail seems to never stop climbing at a moderate rate
Dangers: None known
Common Animals: Black bears, Bobcats, Coyotes, birds.
Risky Animals: Rattlesnakes (None known), Bears (Low-to-Moderate)
Access Methods: Foot and snowshoe (except for the top - crampons & ice ax recommended)



Maps, Profile, and GPS files

Hunter Mountain GPS map
Hunter Mountain elevation profile
Click here to download the GPS file in Garmin GDB format
Click here to download the GPS file in Garmin GPX 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 10.911 W74 11.817 - Elevation is approximately 1,827 feet
  • Take New York State Thruway to Exit 21 (Catskill).
  • Take a left out of the NYS Thruway entrance road.
  • Go approximately 3/4 mile
  • Take a right onto Route 23 West
  • Go approximately 6.6 miles to Cairo, NY
  • Take a LEFT onto Rt 32. McDonalds Rest. on corner.
  • Go approximately 7.7 miles on Rt 32
  • Take a RIGHT onto Rt 23A
  • Go appoximately 11 miles to the intersection of Rt 23a and Rt 214.
  • Go approximately 1 mile - DEC Parking Lot (dirt) on the RIGHT side of road. (1/2 mile past Ski Bowl Road)
  • The dirt DEC parking lot holds 10-15 cars. GPS: N42 10.911 W74 11.817



  • Special Circumstances about this Hike


    This route has the largest elevation gain from the parking lot to the top of Hunter Mountain. But, the additional elevation gain is small. It is also the shortest hike to the top. Steeper, but shorter. This hike has a steady moderate climb. The higher you climb the steeper it gets.


    Mile Stone Chart

    Mile PointAltitudeNotes
    0.001,792 DEC Parking Lot - N42 10.911 W74 11.817 - Registration Box is at the Parking Lot
    0.261,864 Wooden Bridge over creek
    0.451,919' Broken Dam.
    2.253,540' 3,500 Sign.
    2.393,800 Trail Junction - go RIGHT
    2.453,794 Water Source - Pipe sticking out of ground
    2.734,024 Summit of Hunter Mountain & Fire Tower.
    3.224,015 Trail Junction (4-corner) - Go RIGHT
    3.264,006 Beautiful Ledge looking over Spruceton Valley
    3.304,015 Return back to 4-corner Trail Junction.
    3.413,812 Return back to Trail Junction for summit loop
    5.401,792 DEC Parking lot where your car is parked.

    Hike to Hunter Mountain thru Becker Hollow from Rt 214

    Hunter Mountain
    The picture on the left is the DEC Parking lot at the trail head. This parking lot is right next to Rt 214. This parking lot is dirt with some pretty good pot holes. There is another asphalt DEC parking lot at Stony Clove (Pay Parking), which is for a different hike to Hunter Mountain. The parking lot is fairly large.

    The trailhead is right next to the parking lot. The Registration Box is at the edge of the Parking Lot. Make sure that you register.
    Hunter Mountain
    Hunter Mountain
    The Rock Arch Post are about 50 feet from the parking lot. You can see them in the picture on the LEFT.

    The picture on the right shows you what the trail looks like in the beginning of the hike. In the beginning, the trail is virtually flat for the first 1/2 mile.
    Hunter Mountain
    Hunter Mountain
    At mile post 0.26 you will cross this wooden bridge over Becker Hollow Creek.

    At mile post 0.45, you will come upon an old broken concrete dam. The dam failed because of poor engineering and installation. The concrete was poured in stages, which created cold joints which will fail when pressure is applied. Additionally, they put in too many large rocks.
    Hunter Mountain
    Hunter Mountain
    The picture on the left show the Falls after the broken dam. It has a nice water fall after the broken section of the dam.
    Hunter Mountain
    After the Falls/Dam you might encounter this small stream running over the trail. This Storm Water Stream only occurs after a rain storm. If there was a very large rain storm, this stream might become impassible.

    After the dam, the grade will become moderate. The grade is steady and never seems to level off. The grade will also increase slightly over time.
    Hunter Mountain
    Hunter Mountain
    At approximately 3200 feet, the trail will change direction and start to cross Becker Hollow. The grade will increase and will become more narrow. In the Winter it would become dangerous and difficult to cross. It appears that some small avalanches might occur here..

    At mile post 2.25 miles (elev 3,540') you will see two 3500 signs telling you that you cannot camp above this point (except in the Winter).
    Hunter Mountain
    Hunter Mountain
    As you are crossing Becker Hollow, you can get a good view when the leaves are not on the trees.
    Hunter Mountain
    At mile post 2.39 (elev 3800') you will come to a Trail Junction. This trail junction is loop trail around Hunter Mountain. If you continue straight, the trail will become steeper. If you go RIGHT, you will take a very nice trail to the Fire Tower. I suggest that you go RIGHT. The trail is easier also. There are two signs at this Trail Junction.
    Hunter Mountain
    Hunter Mountain
    At mile post 2.45 miles (elev 3784') you will find a water source. Not sure how safe the source is. It seems to pull water out of the standing water pool.

    The picture on the RIGHT shows the nice Hunter Mtn summit loop trail
    Hunter Mountain
    Hunter Mountain
    The picture on the left shows the entrance to the summit trail. It is in the top-middle of the picture (walk in between the trees). It is nearly impossible to find if you didn't know it was there. There is NO sign marking the trail. There is no evidence of the trail near the Horse ramp.
    Hunter Mountain
    The picture on the left shows the Ranger Station. This is mile post 2.73.

    The picture on the right shows the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower.
    Hunter Mountain
    Hunter Mountain
    The picture on the left shows the trail past the fire tower. From the fire tower, take a left back onto the trail.

    The picture on the right shows the next trail junction. It is at mile post 3.22 (elev 4,006'). It is a 4-way intersection. Left will take you down to Becker Hollow. Right will take you to a ledge with an excellent view of the Spruceton Valley. I strongly recommend that you check out the view. It is the best of the hike. Continuing straight will take you to Stony Clove and Leavitt's Peak. Go RIGHT.
    Hunter Mountain
    Hunter Mountain
    The picture on the left shows the trail to the Ledge. The trail is very short, so don't skip this little gem.
    Hunter Mountain
    The picture on the left shows a view from the ledge. Once you get done, reverse your course back to the 4-way Trail Junction.
    Hunter Mountain
    The picture on the left shows the trail at the 4-way Trail Junction. Walk STRAIGHT across the trail junction.

    The picture on the right shows what the trail looks like.
    Hunter Mountain
    Hunter Mountain
    The gets difficult down to the trail junction for the Summit Loop trail.

    The picture on the right your return back to the beginning of the Summit Trail Loop. Continue STRAIGHT down the trail back to your car.
    Hunter Mountain
    Hunter Mountain
    At mile post 5.40, you will return back to your car. Don't forget to sign out of the Registration Box. This hike is the shortest way to Hunter Mountain with the most vertical climb.

    Links and References:
    CatskillMountain.com Forum - Ask questions, talk about your experience with this hike


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