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Slide Mountain (Curtis Ormsbee Trail)

Slide Mountain

Overview of this Hike:

Distance: 6.90 miles from Rt 47 (Oliverea Road / West Branch Road).
Time: Average 4.50 hours round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,749 from Rt 47 DEC parking lot.
Best Time to Hike: Noontime.
Difficulty: Intermediate
VO Map No: 47, 43, & 55
Catskill Highest: 1
Peak Elevation: 4,182'
Digital Mapper: Topo Terrain Satellite
Attractions: Great views from ledge before summit
Attractions: Great views on the Curtis Ormsbee Trail
Attractions: Highest Mountain in the Catskill Mountain
Unattractions: Ledge after peak is almost overgrown now. It used to be one of the best views in the Catskills
Common Animals: porcupines
Risky Animals: Bears (Low)
Access Methods: Foot & snowshoe



Maps, Profile, and GPS files

Slide Mountain GPS map
Click here to download the GPS file in Garmin GDB format




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

  • GPS Coordinates to DEC Parking Lot: N 42 00.516 W 74 25.637 - Elevation is approximately 2,433 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 47 at Big Indian
  • Go 9.4 miles South on Rt 47
  • The DEC Parking lot is on the LEFT side of the road, just after Burroughs Historic Sign.



  • Comments about this Hike


    This trail can be very busy during the weekends. The parking lot fills up very quickly.

    After a big rain storm there are two streams right near the trailhead that can get 1-2 feet deep. In the Spring and after a significant amount of rain, the two streams are unpassable. Water levels can get 5-6' deep and raging. In the dry part of the summer, they are just a trickle.

    Slide Mountain is the highest peak in the Catskill Mountains. The most common and easiest path is from the west. The most difficult path is from the East (Woodland Valley). This hike has a minor detour to hike up the Curtis Ormsbee Trail. It is approximately 1 mile longer, and the path up the Curtis Ormsbee Trail is more difficult. For your extra work, you will have a number of nice view points along the Curtis Ormsbee Trail.

    The hike up the Curtis Ormsbee Trail is more difficult, but has some interesting climbs. The view points look in the direction of DoubleTop Mountain. It is a nice view on a clear day. After the view points the trail tapers off to an easy incline. This trail is not used as much as the regular jeep trail up Slide Mountain.

    As you approach the summit of Slide Mountain, there is a view point off to the left. It is the best view point on the hike. It is a very short distance from the summit.

    On the summit of Slide Mountain there used to be a fire tower. The first fire tower was made of wood logs. Later they had a steel fire tower. Today, the slide mountain fire tower is gone. But, the concrete pads still exist. There is no longer a view from the summit.

    If you continue further, there is a ledge with the John Burroughs Plaque at the base. Around 2010, the view point became overgrown with trees, and there is no longer the spectacular view of the Ashokan Reservoir. It is important to remember that there is no camping allowed on the summit except for the Winter months.

    If you look at the map, you will see a campsite shown on the map. You can no longer use this campsite. You are not allowed to camp above 3,500' in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. You may camp above 3,500' in the Winter as long as you are 150' away from any trail, stream, or road.


    Mile Stone Chart

    Mile PointAltitudeNotes
    0.002,433 DEC Parking Lot - GPS Parking lot: N 42 00.516 W 74 25.637
    0.422,700 Turn right at top of steps.
    0.602,755' Water source from pipe.
    0.762,776' Trail Junction - Continue STRAIGHT - GPS: N42 00.218 W74 25.117
    1.653,090' Trail Junction - Turn LEFT - GPS: N41 59.643 W74 25.178
    3.263,915 Trail Junction - Turn RIGHT - GPS: N42 00.071 W74 23.805.
    3.754,141 Best view spot just before summit.
    3.864,173 Summit - where you see a concrete pad in the middle of the trail. - GPS: N41 59.949 W74 23.155
    3.904,143 Ledge that used to overlook the Ashokan Reservoir - now overgrown with trees - End of hike.
    4.543,915 Trail Junction - Continue STRAIGHT - GPS: N42 00.071 W74 23.805.
    6.102,776' Trail Junction - Turn RIGHT - GPS: N42 00.218 W74 25.117
    6.902,460 Return back to DEC Parking Lot.

    Hike to Slide Mountain

    Slide Mountain
    The DEC Slide Mountain Parking Lot . While the parking lot is big (25 cars), it does fill up quite quickly on the weekends.

    The trail starts at the middle of the parking lot near the DEC billboard. Make sure you check in to the registration box.
    Slide Mountain
    This is the trail sign showing the distances.

    The picture on teh RIGHT shows the first of two stream you need to cross. After a rain storm these two streams can be 1-2 feet deep, and can be difficult to cross. After a major rain storm (4-5") the streams can be unpassable. The stream in the picture was 1-2 feet deep.
    Slide Mountain
    Slide Mountain
    The trail starts out flat like the picture on the LEFT.

    After about 1/4 mile the grade starts to increase in elevation. This picture was taken just before a sharp 90 degree right turn.
    Slide Mountain
    Slide Mountain
    At mile post 0.42 miles, you will come up a series of steps. At the top of the steps you will take a 90 degree RIGHT. If you look at the tree you will see a sign with an arrow on it. For the next 1/4 mile, the grade on this old carriage road will be almost flat.

    At mile post 0.60 miles, you will come to a water spring. It is a pipe sticking out of the ground. It is on the LEFT side of the trail.
    Slide Mountain
    Slide Mountain
    At mile post 0.68 miles, you will come to this trail junction pictured on the left. Straight will take you to Curtis-Ormsbee Trail. Left will take you to the summit of Slide Mountain by the Jeep Trail. Go STRAIGHT to the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail.

    The trail will continue to go on a fairly level ground. You will go up several uphill sections, but their inclines are very mild. The trail can be slippery when wet.
    trail to the Curtis-Ormsbee trail and to Slide Mountain
    wooden bridge to the curtis-ormsbee trail to summit of Slide Mountain
    Part way down the old road towards the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail, you will come to a wooden bridge. This is a picture of the bridge.

    At Mile post 1.65 miles, you will come to the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail. If you go straight it will take you to the Neversink. If you take a left, you will go up the Curtis-Ormsbee Lake to the summit of Slide Mountain. You want to go LEFT.
    trail junction of the Curtis-Ormsbee trail and the old carriage road from the neversink to winnisook lake
    curtis-ormsbee trail monument
    At the Intersection of the old carriage road and the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail is a granite monument marking the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail.

    This trail is a little more challenging then the Jeep Trail up to the summit of Slide Mountain. The picture on the right shows you what the trail is like for a portion of the trail. As you proceed higher, the trail does level off.
    steep section of the curtis-ormsbee trail to the summit of Slide Mountain
    second view point on the curtis-ormsbee trail to the summit of Slide Mountain
    This is the first view point up the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail. The view point will be overgrown in a couple of years if it is not cleared. This picture was taken in 2011.
    first view point on the curtis-ormsbee trail to the summit of Slide Mountain
    This is the second view point up the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail. The mountain in the background is Double Top Mountain. It is on private property. The view point will be overgrown in a couple of years if it is not cleared. This picture was taken in 2011.

    At 3.26 miles you will come to the trail junction of the old Jeep Trail. Take a RIGHT to continue to the summit of Slide Mountain.
    view point near the summit of Slide Mountain
    At mile post 3.79 (elev 4,141') you will come to a ledge on the LEFT side of the trail. This is now the best view point on Slide Mountain. It overlooks Woodland Valley. On the left side of the picture you can see Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain. In the center of the screen is Woodland Valley. On the right side of the screen is Wittenberg Mountain. On the right side of the picture near the sky is the Indian Head Mountain Range with the Devil's Path.

    Panther Mountain is center of a meterorite hit millions of years ago. If you look at the mountain ranges that circle Panther Mountain, you can see the rim of the meterorite strike. It is a little confusing because Panther Mountain is at the center of the strike, and the rim is very large. But, Panther Mountain rose AFTER the meterorite strike millions of years ago. There are a few links on the bottom of the page that get into more detail of meterorite strike. This meterorite strike
    great view point from near the summit of Slide Mountain
    The picture on the left is an enlarged view of Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain.

    The picture on the right shows the summit of Slide Mountain. It is at mile post 3.90. Years ago there was a fire tower here. In fact, there have been multiple fire towers over the years. I recommend that you continue a short distance past the summit to a ledge near the summit.
    summit of Slide Mountain
    summit of Slide Mountain looking over the ashokan reservoir
    This picture is the ledge that is just past the summit of Slide Mountain. Years ago, the trees below the ledge were not there, and the view was spectacular. Now the trees block the view. In a couple years, the view will be completely gone. The water you see in the picture is the Ashokan Reservoir.
    Burroughs Plaque on the summit of Slide Mountain
    This picture of John Burroughs Plaque. It is located just past the summit of Slide Mountain on the ledge that used to have a good view over the Ashokan Reservoir. But, over the years, they have stopped cutting the view point. Years ago, many people climbed Slide just for this view point. The plaque was located at the bottom of the ledge. You will need to walk around to the bottom of the ledge to see it.

    Once done, you can head back.
    Slide Mountain
    Reverse your course. But, instead of taking the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail down the mountain, we will be taking the Jeep Trail down. So, when you come to the trail junction (about 0.64 miles down from the summit of Slide Mountain), continue STRAIGHT past the trail junction.

    Continue down the old Jeep Trail. The distance from the summit to the Trail Junction is 2.25 miles. The top section is a pretty smooth trail. The middle and lower section are steeper and rockier. Once you get to the Trail Junction you will take a right and then a left on the trail you took on the way up. The distance from the summit to the parking area is approximately 3.00 miles.
    Slide Mountain
    Links and References:
    CatskillMountain.com Forum - Ask questions, talk about your experience with this hike
    Panther Mountain Meterorite Crater Information
    Panther Mountain Meterorite Crater Information
    DEC Information on the Slide Mountain Wilderness Area


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