Winter hiking in the Catskills

Crunchy snow underfoot, frozen rivers running down the trail, surreal views, trees weighed down by the previous snowfall, traversing over icy rocks and frozen trails; winter hiking in the Catskills will catch anyone's frozen breath, from the rolling mountain views, the steep inclines, the pine forests, the icicles hanging off of rocks, and every sight you will lay eyes on throughout the duration of your hike. 

The Devil's Path is no exception to the list of stellar trails that will take you to the mountaintops in the Catskills. Of the 24.3 miles of the Devil's Path, we completed a 7.9 mile loop, which took us up Twin Mountain and Indian Head Mountain. We completed this hike in the first week of December. This trail has an elevation gain of 2,345.8 feet, and that elevation has to be earned. The trail starts at a steady incline, leading you through the woods and between the two mountains. Once you complete the first two miles, you're met with a sign that points to the right, bringing you up Twin Mountain, and to the left, leading you to Indian Head. When we completed this trail, we first climbed the mile up Twin, where we were met with unfathomable views at the summit. The clouds hugged the mountains, leaving us with a clear view of multiple rows of mountains fading into the sky. After Twin, Indian Head waited to be climbed as well, a climb less than a mile. Rather large icicles hung off the rocks going up Indian Head, and the view didn't fail to amaze. After standing atop Indian Head, a mere 3.4 miles of downhill through the alpine trees awaited us. Throughout my experience of hiking a section of the Devil's Path, I never failed to admire the way the snow coats the ground, the rolling mountains, and the serenity of hiking in the winter.

An essential key to our success to hiking the Devil's Path was our spikes that we wore with our hiking shoes. When hiking the Devil's Path in the winter, spikes are essential to your success. Without them, we would not have made it up, as the trail was a sheet of ice at some sections. After standing at the summit of Indian Head, there was one section that was rather precarious. Looking down upon it, we were a bit intimidated. It was a straight downhill rock climb covered in a thick layer of ice.

After carefully clearing it, we were again grateful that we brought our spikes. Another factor to our success was the multiple layers we wore out and gloves; and, of course, a snack at the summit to refuel.

I hope someday to hike the entirety of the Devil's Path, which is an adventure I anticipate. Winter hiking in the Catskills is absolutely breathtaking, and it'll leave you with a sense of adventure like nothing else. Along with that adventure comes the serenity of the chilly days in the mountains, where you feel on top of the world standing on the rocky summits. The Catskills hold so many adventures, and they are perfect for those hikers who love to get out in all seasons. 

The Devil's Path is a moderately difficult trail that should not be overlooked or taken lightly. Although I only completed the Eastern section, I highly recommend taking a day to go explore it and see all that it has to offer. 

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published