|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
This trip features good views from the peaks as well as enjoyable hiking within 3 hours of NYC. We had some run-ins with deer, chipmunks, salamanders, snakes, and a bald eagles nest.
The Appalachian Mountain Club Catskill Moutains map is recommended.
This loop starts with you parking your car at the end of Barnum Rd. where there is a designate parking area.
We started out on Friday night by coming in late, getting on the trail and setting up camp. Our sleep was disturbed by deer coming into camp and when we woke up we realized that we were still on private land.
On Saturday, we bagged Thomas Cole, Black Dome, and Black Head. Expect some sharp ascents and descents and some occasional scrambling throughout the hike.
We camped Saturday night on the Batavia Kill Trail, between Black Head and Acra Point. There is a shelter there, a creek where you can fill up on water, and some flat ground for camping. Some of the prime flat parts have been marked off-limits (probably due to overuse or proximity to water). Keep in mind that there is no camping over 3,500 feet. (There are signs letting you know when you cross the 3,500 foot mark on the trail).
On Sunday, we did Acra Point, Burnt Knob, and Windham High Peak and camped on the trail that goes back to the road. There is a shelter along this trail with an outhouse.
On our Monday we hiked out of the park (1-2 miles) and through the little town that we had been hiking around the rest of the weekend. When we first got out onto the road, some locals pointed out a bald eagle's nest in the woods to the right of the road. An art school has bought some of the buildings in the town (their website is sugarmaples.org). There is also an old graveyard to the right. The latter part of the road hike is steep.
To shorten this trip, spot a car at either end of the trail and skip the road walking; this will cut about 3.5 mies, and could save half a day of hiking.