Hiking Hunter Mountain After an Ice Storm
The fire tower atop Hunter Mountain holds incredible views no matter the time of year you climb to it, but after an ice storm is a very unique time to hike to it and view the expansive Catskill Mountains. On February 6th, we hiked up the mountain, two days after a significant ice storm hit the Catskills. We hiked through an alpine forest, and the tree branches were weighed down by ice and snow.
The snow on the trail up to Hunter Mountain was adequately packed down, allowing for a much easier hike than if we were to trudge through an untouched snowfall. There are many ways up Hunter Mountain, and we decided to hike up via the Spruceton Horse Trail. This trail can be completed out and back, or it can be hiked as a loop.
We were in awe of the way the forest looked with the trees coated in ice; photos can't even capture the way the sun shone off the glittery trees. The trail is a steady incline up until you reach the fire tower, which makes for an easy descent if you decide to do out and back like we did.
An important thing to remember when winter hiking is to wear so many layers and to bring more. It's always a shock to me how windy the summit can be, and how much of a bitter chill it gives you to stand unprotected in the wind. Once we reached the fire tower, we realized the steps were coated in a sheet of ice, so we put on our spikes to climb up. The view at the top was surreal; in the heart of the Catskills, Hunter Mountain holds 360 degree views of the mountains.
Can't forget, of course, my favorite Catskill Outpost outwear.
Overall, winter hiking is an incredibly unique experience, but the aftermath of an ice storm only adds to the magic of walking through the woods in the serenity of winter.