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West Kill Mountain

West Kill Mountain

Overview of this Hike:

Distance: 6.40 miles from Spruceton Road.
Time: Average 4.50 hours round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,786 feet from the DEC Parking Lot and the summit.
Best Time to Hike: Morning.
Difficulty: Difficult
VO Map No: 35 & 32
Catskill Highest: #6
Peak Elevation: 3,891'
Digital Mapper: Topo Terrain Satellite
Attractions: Nice view of West Kill Falls
Attractions: Spectacular view from ledges near peak.
Attractions: Nice summit walk
Unattractions: Steep and long hike to summit
Common Animals: Black bears
Risky Animals: Rattlesnakes (None known), Bears (Low-to-Moderate)
Access Methods: Foot



Maps, Profile, and GPS files

Leavitt's Peak GPS map
Leavitt's Peak 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 11.083 W74 16.305 - Elevation is approximately 2,117 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 22.2 miles to the intersection of Rt 23a and Rt 42 .
  • Go approximately 0.3 miles - Take LEFT and go over bridge (over Schoharie Creek)
  • Go approximately 4.1 miles on Rt 42 (from Rt 23a) to Rt 6 (Spruceton Road)
  • Go approximately 7 miles on Rt 6 (Spruceton Road).
  • About 4 miles down Rt 6 the road will go from a 2-lane road into a 1-lane road. The 1-lane road looks like a private driveway. Continue down the 1-lane road.
  • There are a number of parking lots along this road. The parking lot you are looking is at the very end of the road or the parking lot just before the end of the road. GPS: N42 11.083 W74 16.305



  • Special Circumstances about this Hike


    The hike up to the summit is steep and seems to go forever. The views near the summit are spectacular. Probably some of the best views in the Catskill Mountains.


    Mile Stone Chart

    Mile PointAltitudeNotes
    0.002,105 DEC Parking Lot - N42 11.083 W74 16.305
    0.132,135 DEC Registraion Box is just past the road barrier.
    0.792,323' Trail Junction - Take right over wooden bridge just above West Kill Falls.
    0.822,318' Trail Junction - Take right after walking over wooden bridge.
    2.213,551 Rock Shelter.
    2.223,565 3,500' DEC sign.
    3.163,821 Ledges.
    3.203,891 Summit of West Kill Mountain
    5.582,318 Trail Junction - Take left over wooden bridge
    5.612,323 Trail Junction - Take left after wooden bridge
    6.402,105 DEC Parking lot where your car is parked.

    Hike to West Kill

    West Kill Mountain
    If space is available you can park right by the trail head in this picture. If space is not available, then you can park down in the parking lot 1/4 mile back down the road. The gate at the trail head is part of the old Spruceton Road that goes all the way to Lanesville (Rt 214). This part of the road has be changed. The road used to cross the creek about 100 feet past the sign. When you sign in look down at the creek and you can find the old bridge pillars. Make sure you sign in at the registration box. Registration helps bring dollars to the trail you are hiking.

    At mile post 0.72 miles, you will come to a Trail Junction. Right will take you to two trails: (1) will take you to the summit of West Kill Mtn; (2) Will take you down the old Carriage Road to Lanesville, NY (Rt 214). Years ago this was one of the major roads thru the Catskill Mountain. It will take you thru Diamond Notch. Going straight will take you up to Hunter Mtn and Leavitt's Peak. Go RIGHT.
    West Kill Mountain
    West Kill Mountain
    After walking across the wooden bridge you will come to another Trail Junction. Which is 150 feet from the other Trail Junction.

    After the bridge the next Trail Junction will take you in two different directions. Straight will take you to Diamond Notch and Lanesville, New York. The Diamond Notch Trail is actually an old carriage road. Right will take you to West Kill Mountain. Go RIGHT down the small trail.
    West Kill Mountain
    West Kill Mountain
    The picture on the left show you what the trail looks like at the beginning of the trail up to West Kill Mountain. This is the only flat section for the next 1200 feet of vertical climbing.

    The picture on the right is another example of the trail up to West Kill Mountain summit.
    West Kill Mountain
    West Kill Mountain
    The picture on the left shows another example of the trail up to West Kill Mountain. The trail is steep from about 2300' to about 3,500'. The steep climb seems to never end. It is a real huff-and-puff climb.

    The picture on the right shows one of the steepest sections that requires hand and feet climbing. It is not particularly hard like some of the other mountains on the Devil's Path.
    West Kill Mountain
    West Kill Mountain
    At about an elevation of 3,500 feet the trail finally starts to level off to a more moderate climb. The forest starts to change to a conifer forest. You will also find a lot of moss covered rocks.
    West Kill Mountain
    At mile post 2.21 and elevation 3,551 feet you will encounter Rock Shelter. It is a large rock that provides shelter for hikers.
    West Kill Mountain
    Just above Rock Shelter at mile post 2.22 and elevation 3,565' you will encounter the 3,500' sign preventing camping above this point except during the winter.

    The picture on the right shows another example of the trail to the summit. It is moderate climb with conifers and moss covered forest floor.
    West Kill Mountain
    West Kill Mountain
    The picture on the left Buck Ridge Lookout. It is right on the trail, so you can't miss it. It has one of the best views in the Catskill Mountains. It has a huge amphitheater and a huge drop below the ledge. This gives it a spectacular view. The town off in the distance is Lanesville, New York on Rt 214.
    West Kill Mountain
    Many people miss the other ledge near Buck Ridge Lookout just below the summit of West Kill Mountain. It is only 50 feet away on the other side of ridge. Walk across the trail and northward, and you will come to the other ledge. This ledge overlooks the Spruceton Valley. It is not quite as spectacular as the Buck Ridge Lookout, but still pretty good.
    West Kill Mountain
    The picture on the left show you the sign on Buck Ridge Lookout.

    The picture on the right shows you the summit of West Kill Mountain.

    After visiting the summit, reverse your course back to your car. If you continued on to St Anne's Peak. By continuing on to St Anne's Peak will make you come out 4.2 miles away from your car. Many people have made this mistake. If it is late in the day most people cannot get a ride back to their car.
    West Kill Mountain

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


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