3 days for Devil's Path in June

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

3 days for Devil's Path in June

New postby RatLabGuy » Tue May 28, 2013 12:05 am

Hi folks, new member.
A small group of 4 of us are planning to come up to do the Devil's Path, starting June 21st. This is our first visit to the Catskills (I live in MD but grew up in NC, hiking the mountains there)
We're not in any special kind of physical shape, but not bad by any means... last summer we did the Long Range Traverse in Newfoundland and greatly enjoyed it... although I must say by the end of the first day, kind of wanted to die. :lol:
Anyhow rather than really pushing it we're thinking of stretching it over 3 days, maybe w the road crossing about 1/2 way and stage a car to swap out clothes/food etc.
I know a lot of folks do this as a 2 day deal, but if we do it this way it gets us 2 nights on the trail and hopefully more enjoyment.
My rough thinking:
Start ~9am. Plan to camp in gulch between Sugarloaf and Plateau. Day 2 hit car @214 mid day, swap stuff, camp somewhere past Hunter mt. Finish off by dinner day 3.
1 - is that lame? :D
2 - are there any highly recommended target places to camp? I've seen the typical maps of shelters etc... but whats the real scoop...
3 - what is the typical weather at this time (June 21-23), high/lows? Does it get down to low 40s?
4 - what is the water situation like? How available etc.

Thanks!
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Re: 3 days for Devil's Path in June

New postby Jon » Tue May 28, 2013 8:58 am

1.) No. The devil's path is anything but lame. It doesn't matter how you hike it. You can hike 1 mountain a year for 6 years and you still wouldn't think it was lame!

2) I have camped in Pecoy Notch before (between Twin & Sugarloaf), you just need to make sure you're 150 ft off the trail ( you can head down the southern side of the notch a ways and there's a small area for a couple tents). However there is no water in this location.

Also don't discount an afternoon/noon starting late and camping the first night at the Devil's Kitchen Lean-to. (it's about 2 miles east of the DP parking area on Prediger rd) You can then wake up early the next day and be right at the foot of Indian head. This is always an option, and then you can take your time getting over to Mink Hollow or to the devil's Tombstone (stony clove).

The notch in between Sugarloaf and Plateau is a popular one to camp at. It's called the Mink hollow and there is actually a dirt lot where you can park a car about 1/2 mile north of the notch (on mink hollow rd IIRC). This is a popular place for DP hikers to camp. There is a lean-to, and a john. There are several sites to tent camp (Look for the yellow "Camp here" discs). Image

I just hammocked camped out there last weekend with my daughter and by about 5-6 PM the lean-to and all of the sites for camping were full. There were groups of 5-8 people coming in all the time. We actually woke up with a bunch of tents around us because later in the night even more people had shown up. Plan on getting to this spot earlier in the afternoon and you have better luck of getting the lean-to or getting a tent site. You can always camp anywhere 150 ft off the trail, but usually it's better to camp in established sites.

I parked a car on 214 as well, remember you have to bring a few bucks cash ( I think it was like $6 a night) for overnight parking at the Devil's Tombstone because it is a DEC State Campground. It was actually good that we did, since the guy I was hiking with sprained his ankle coming down

After the Stony Clove/Devil's Tombstone there is a Devil's Acre Lean-to. This is the one which is right on the Devil's Path after you've gone up the shoulder of Hunter. You don't actually get to the top of Hunter from the DP's but can take a short day hike there if you stop at the Devil's Acre Lean-to. I haven't camped much on this side of the mountain, just watch out b/c I've heard stories of noisy porcupines in the middle of the night.

After you descend the west side of hunter and head down into diamond notch there are lots of Nettles. If there is a camping spot I don't know how you would access it without being stung by those nasty plants.

The Diamond Notch falls is between Westkill and Hunter, and you cross this and then head up Westkill. There is another lean-to off a side trail a little ways from here, and if you can make it down Hunter (it's about 2 hours hike from Devil's Acre) then this is another possibility. Only reason I mention is because I've always seen people at Devil's Acre so i know that one is pretty popular. Also this spot is only about a mile or two from the Spruceton Rd. Parking area (end of spruceton rd) so you can set up another "emergency car cache" if you have enough vehichles at this point.

From then on it's just a hike over Westkill. I don't recall the water situation there very well, however I know there are streams on the other side (west) of westkill that you can probably filter/boil as well. Also at that point it's only a few miles back to the car, and downhill. The end of the Devil's Path is along Spruceton Rd.

3) I think from the snowstorm this past weekend we can throw "typical weather" out the window. I remember this time last year it was 80s and 90s. By March Last year I was wearing shorts and it was in the 60s. March this year, we had to snowshoe to the lean-tos and froze in 10 degree weather. But who knows? Best bet is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Bring warm clothes at least in your car, and if you check the weather the day before and it's supposed to be warm, you can leave them in the car.

Usually when I wake up in the Catskills in May-June type weather it's 40s-50s and I need long pants and a sweat shirt. You can get a fire and start moving around and it's not too bad. Not until the end of Aug. will it be warm enough to just bring shorts and t-shirts and no other clothes. You should check the weather and subtract 9-10 degrees F just for elevation. Who knows you could check the weather at a town with elevation 1500ft and they say for that night "low of 45" which mean if you were camping at 3400 feet it could be below 32 F. Also need to be prepared for wind, there are odd gusts of wind that get funneled into the Notches and Valleys. Also I would always bring a raincoat because it could be forecast for sunny in the valleys but you could have a raincloud on the mountain.

4)There is also a fresh-water spring about 1/4 mile north of the Mink Hollow which you can pump fresh water from. There is another spring as you ascend Plateau, but it's a bit further away from Mink Hollow than the Yellow trail spring (it looks the same on the map but I know it's further). This is important because there aren't very many water sources East of this marked on the map. There may be small streams you can pump from, but they might not be reliable. If you are going from East to West then you would need to make sure you bring enough water to get over the first 3 mountains. If you go from West to East you have to make sure you top off here before heading over the last 3 mountains.

West of there is the Devil's tombstone in the Stony Clove where you should be able to fill up water at the campground. I haven't really been on that side of Hunter, however I know there are natural spring occuring on the west side around 3300-3400 ft, so there could be some on the eastern side as well. If not then you will have to wait until you get down Hunter to the Diamond Notch and can probably filter/boil the water from the Westkill Stream.
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Re: 3 days for Devil's Path in June

New postby kennykb » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:30 am

Jon wrote:4)There is also a fresh-water spring about 1/4 mile north of the Mink Hollow which you can pump fresh water from. There is another spring as you ascend Plateau, but it's a bit further away from Mink Hollow than the Yellow trail spring (it looks the same on the map but I know it's further). This is important because there aren't very many water sources East of this marked on the map. There may be small streams you can pump from, but they might not be reliable. If you are going from East to West then you would need to make sure you bring enough water to get over the first 3 mountains. If you go from West to East you have to make sure you top off here before heading over the last 3 mountains.

West of there is the Devil's tombstone in the Stony Clove where you should be able to fill up water at the campground. I haven't really been on that side of Hunter, however I know there are natural spring occuring on the west side around 3300-3400 ft, so there could be some on the eastern side as well. If not then you will have to wait until you get down Hunter to the Diamond Notch and can probably filter/boil the water from the Westkill Stream.


There's a spring right at Devil's Acre lean-to. It's fairly dependable - it has frogs living in it, so it must not dry up. (Toads can stand being dry for a little while, but frogs need to keep wet.) I know that I've tanked up there in a dry summer. There's a spring south of the trail at about 3000 feet on the east side of Westkill, and another one on the north side of the trail just west of the Westkill summit. There are also a couple of little streams that cross the trail a little below Geiger Point on the west side of Hunter, but they look pretty sketchy. You shouldn't be needing to refill between Diamond Notch and Devil's Acre in any case.

Jon is right - there are no good sources of water between the springs in Mink Hollow and the stream at the Devil's Kitchen lean-to. If you run short, you could bail out down either Pecoy Notch or Jimmy Dolan Notch, but it's a long steep walk down to the streams. Water from those streams must be treated. Both streams have beavers and the water is full of nasties. It's better just to carry enough for the dry stretch.

If you're hiking in stinging nettle season, it might be more fun (if slightly longer) to skip Geiger Point and instead make the side trip to the Hunter fire tower using the Hunter Mountain trail and the Spruceton bridle path. The walk between the Spruceton trailhead and Diamond Notch is level and goes fast.
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