Eastern Devil's Path Questions

Guardian Mtn, Overlook Mtn, Plattekill Mtn, Indianhead Mtn, Twin Mtns, Sugarloaf Mtn, Plateau Mtn

Eastern Devil's Path Questions

New postby Zak » Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:33 pm

Hello,
I am planning on backpacking the eastern part of the Devil's Path this weekend, and I have some questions having never hiked the trail:
1. How difficult is the trail in comparison to the Burroughs range loop? Are there any ledges along the Devil's Path that are worse than the exposed ledge on the east side of Slide or worse than Cornell crack?
2. Are there any campsites in Pecoy Notch or along the trail that loops around Sugarloaf Mountain? I know that there is a shelter and campsites in Mink Hollow, but I would rather avoid camping there if I can.
Thanks
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Re: Eastern Devil's Path Questions

New postby rkugel » Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:59 am

Hello Zak,

I have hiked the Devil's Path many times and will try to address your concerns. First of all, please realize the Devil's Path is "mile for mile" one of the brutally difficult and dangerous hiking trails in the Northeast. Believe it or not, the Devil's Path frequently makes the list of the "Top 30" most dangerous trails in the entire world. That tells you something!

On the other hand, if you use caution, keep your wits about you, and do not have a fear of heights, the Devil's Path is easily the most exciting and enjoyable path in all the Catskills.

In regards to your specific questions...In my most humble opinion, Cornell Crack is absolutely the most challenging and most difficult hurdle in all the Catskills - including the Devil's Path. Period. If you can handle Cornell Crack, you have nothing to worry about in term of the Devil's Path. Up until a year ago, there was a very nasty section of the Devil's Path on Indianhead Mountain called "The Corkscrew". The corkscrew may have given Cornell Crack a run for its money. However, about a year ago, the park service completely rebuilt and re-graded the corkscrew, so it is now very tame. Nothing to worry about.

The biggest problem with the Devil's Path is not the difficulty of hiking but rather the danger. There are a few areas that have nearly vertical climbs, but they are manageable assuming you are in good physical shape. It is the element of danger that you need to be concerned with. Parts of the Devil's Path run right next to sheer cliffs. If you slip off the side, you will lose your life. In this sense, the Devil's Path is much worse than the Burroughs Range. You need to be careful!

There are two lean-to's on the eastern Devil's Path. The first one is in Mink Hollow (between Sugarloaf and Plateau) and there is a second on the eastern side of Indianhead near Devil's Kitchen. Other than that, the usual camping rules apply (no camping above 3500 feet, etc.).

There are many viewpoints along the Devil's Path (too many to list), though my favorite would have to be the lower summit of Twin Mountain (i.e., the eastern peak of Twin). I would rank this view in the "Top 5" in all the Catskills.

Hope the information I provided will be of assistance. If you use extreme caution and good old-fashioned common sense, your trek of the Devil's Path will easily be the best and most memorable weekend you ever spend hiking!

Best of luck!

Rich
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Re: Eastern Devil's Path Questions

New postby mike » Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:43 pm

I think that Rich's post is spot-on! Not many good places to camp on the Devil's path. Going up-and-down all the mtns will be tough. The Escarpment Trail would be a better backpack trip.
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Re: Eastern Devil's Path Questions

New postby Zak » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:04 pm

Thanks for the responses Rich and Mike. I have been through Cornell Crack twice (once in the rain), so it sounds like the Devil's Path will be okay as long as I am cautious. I know the Devil's Path would be easier with a day pack, but I live kind of far away, and backpacking allows me to hike two consecutive days and avoid a long drive after a full day of hiking.
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Re: Eastern Devil's Path Questions

New postby mtnclimber » Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:34 am

Rich gave you some good advice and a good description of what to expect. Nothing insurmountable, but a real tough hike. Try to keep your pack as light as possible. Good luck!
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Re: Eastern Devil's Path Questions

New postby sjmarano » Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:03 am

>> The biggest problem with the Devil's Path is not the difficulty of hiking but rather the danger.<<
>>There are a few areas that have nearly vertical climbs, but they are manageable assuming<<
>> you are in good physical shape. It is the element of danger that you need to be concerned with. <<
>> Parts of the Devil's Path run right next to sheer cliffs. If you slip off the side, you will lose your life.<<

So a couple of simple followup question to clarify Rich's advice to Zak about the treatest source of risk on the Devil's Path:
it's not these 'technical' vertical climbs that impose the greatest danger but rather those sections where you are walking alongside these cliffs?
And just how challenging is it to negotiate those cliff-side sections? Is this a case where you simply have to be vigilant when
you're walking, or are we talking about really harrowing, narrow ledges?
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Re: Eastern Devil's Path Questions

New postby SNEAKers » Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:55 am

I don't like heights much and haven't had any problems on Devil's Path. I think the closest point at which I did was just below Sherman's Ledge on Indianhead (which I've done at least 5 times, so it must not be that bad!). There are sections where if you walk a few feet off trail, you'll take a bad fall, but these sections usually have plenty of room to walk on the far side of the drop (in other words, you aren't walking on a narrow section with a drop off on both points). DP simply has lots of opportunities for twisted ankles and sore knees if you ledge hop. Able bodied hikers in good shape should have no problem section hiking any part of the DP. Get out there and enjoy it!
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