CATSKILL HIGH PEAKS
According to our bylaws, there must be at least a 250 foot drop between the peak and any other peak on the list, or the peak must be at least ½ mile away from any other peak on the list. In all there are 33 peaks that meet these criteria with the highest peak being Slide Mountain topping out at 4,180'.
Interested in climbing these peaks? Please view our seasonal hiking schedule for Club led hikes or our hiking resources page for help striking out on your own.
Graham and Doubletop were officially closed to public access effective January 13, 2021. After their closure, and prior to March 22, 2021, South Doubletop and Millbrook Ridge were temporarily required for 3500 Club membership. Effective on March 22, 2021, the Club removed the requirement to climb South Doubletop and Millbrook Ridge and the number of required peaks was reduced from 35 to 33.
The tallest mountain in the Catskills and the westernmost peak of the three-peak Burroughs range, Slide is traversed by the Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide Trail. Views are available from a few ledges and openings around the peak, but the summit itself—once the site of a fire tower--is viewless. The 3500 Club Trailhead Steward program began at the closest trailhead to Slide on Route 47 in 2021.
The center peak in the Blackhead Range, Black Dome is the tallest of the three. The Black Dome Range Trail traverses the peak, running east-west, and features some steep pitches and challenging ledges from both approaches. Views to the south are available from a small opening in the balsams near the summit.
One of three mountains in the northeastern Catskills’ Blackhead range, Blackhead Mountain is one of the four required winter peaks. This peak is also the tallest of the peaks on the 24-mile Escarpment Trail. The ascent from the east is one of the few places in the Catskills that typically requires crampons during winter conditions, which often continues past official winter dates. While the summit doesn’t have a vista, excellent views are available from a number of places along the trails that access the mountain.
The center peak in the Burroughs Range, Cornell’s summit lies just off the Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide Trail. A rock scramble just east of the summit called The Cornell Crack is one of the more difficult scrambles in the Catskills and can be treacherous in winter conditions. Check out the view from atop the Cornell Crack as well as excellent north-facing views along the trail, a short distance west of the summit.
Named for its long, flat summit plateau, Table Mountain is traversed by the Peekamoose-Table Trail, which the 3500 Club maintains. The Bouton Memorial Lean-To is just west of the summit on the south side of the trail.
Accessed from the challenging Devil’s Path trail, Sugarloaf Mountain is a classically beautiful Catskills peak, with its balsam fir-dominated summit. Enjoy limited views from a ledge that is accessed by a yellow-marked spur trail just west of the true summit. Be sure to carry crampons during winter conditions—Sugarloaf is well known for its thick and dangerous ice—often along the steeper stretches of trail.
Informally known as Leavitt Peak in honor of the Catskill 3500 Club’s first finishers, Bill and Elinor Leavitt, Southwest Hunter is officially an off-trail peak with a canister. The preferred approach splits off of the Devil’s Path west of the Devil’s Acre Lean-To and follows a trail that was illegally cut along a long-retired rail bed in 2010.
Traversed by the Giant Ledge-Panther-Fox Hollow Trail, Panther Mountain is one of the Club’s four required winter peaks. The summit offers excellent views from a small ledge. Views can be taken in along the length of trail from Giant Ledge across the summit and northern false summits of this peak.
A short bushwhack, the untrailed summit of Big Indian lies approximately .25 miles from the Pine Hill-West Branch trail and is marked with a canister. No views are available at the summit. Proximity to Eagle and Fir make this a peak that is often climbed in conjunction with at least one additional peak. This mountain and the Ulster County village of Big Indian were named after Winnisook, the legendary Native American rumored to be 7 feet tall.
The preferred approach to Rusk Mountain leaves the Spruceton Trail at the big elbow where the trail turns from heading north to heading east. Rusk can be hiked in conjunction with Hunter. Expect a steep ascent and winter views as you make your way to the canister.
This eastern Devil’s Path peak has two summits, with the western one having the mountain’s high point. This hike has great views from the trail on both summits and features dramatic and challenging rock scrambles and a dense balsam fir forest.
Lying just south of Friday Mountain, Balsam Cap (not to be confused with Balsam Mountain or Balsam Lake Mountain) has a canister at the summit. Because of the dense balsam fir no views are available from the summit, but a view of the Ashokan Reservoir can be seen just north of the summit.
With preferred approaches from the Devil’s Path and Shaft Road (in conjunction with Sherrill), the North Dome canister and viewless summit is surrounded by dense balsam fir. Be aware and respectful of private property boundaries, especially to the north.
While Eagle’s true summit is marked by a canister, it is located just off the Pine Hill-West Branch Trail on a short, easy-to-follow herd path. No views are available from the summit. Proximity to several high peaks (Big Indian and Balsam) make Eagle a popular choice for multipeak hikes.
Named after Colonel Eliakim Sherrill—a New York State Senator and Shandaken resident in the 1840s and a Union Brigade Commander during the Civil War—Sherrill Mountain has preferred approaches from Shaft Road and the Devil’s Path (in conjunction with North Dome). While the summit offers no views, a vista can be found south of the canister.
The northernmost peak on the Escarpment Trail, Windham High Peak offers great views to the north and south at several viewpoints along the summit, and is traversed by the Long Path. Windham Mountain (the ski area) is several miles away, located on Cave and West Cave Mountains.
Rocky was once thought to stand 3,508 feet tall, but more precise measurements found it stands at 3,487 feet. The Club decided that this didn’t disqualify Rocky from its tally. While it may be the shortest of the 33 public Catskills high peaks, Rocky is considered the most inaccessible. With preferred routes starting from the Neversink Fisherman’s Path and the Peekamoose-Table Trail near Table Mountain’s peak, the approach to the summit canister travels through dense balsam fir forest. South of the summit is a viewpoint.
On the true summit of Hunter stands the third fire tower to grace the mountain—this one standing since 1953. Multiple trails provide access to Hunter’s summit. The fire tower, historic tender’s cabin, and privy are located at the summit. The John Robb Lean-To and the Devil’s Acre Lean-To are both located approximately one mile from the summit.
Also accessed by the Black Dome Range Trail, Thomas Cole Mountain, named after the Hudson River School painter, is the westernmost peak of the Blackhead Range. While no views are available from the densely forested summit, the approach from Barnum Road in Maplecrest offers some nice views along the way.
West Kill (or Westkill) is traversed by the Devil’s Path. The mountain is easy to pick out from points north or south due to its craggy profile, West Kill offers fine views from Buck Ridge Lookout just east of the summit.
Plateau offers a number of approach options, with the Devil’s Path providing a traverse and the Warner Creek Trail leading up to the summit ridge from the south. Expect a stiff climb from all directions. Excellent views are available at western end of the summit ridge.
Peekamoose’s summit—traversed by the Peekamoose-Table Trail, which is maintained by the 3500 Club--is marked by a large glacial erratic. Views to the south are available on the trail near the ledges at 3,500 feet and there is a view near the summit.
Often accessed from the Woodland Valley Campground or a trailhead on Route 47 and traversed by the Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide Trail, this popular peak offers an open rocky summit ledge and fantastic views of the Ashokan Reservoir and beyond. The Phoenicia-East Branch Trail from the trailhead off of Lane Street in Phoenicia is a longer alternate route to ascend Wittenberg.
One of two high peaks that feature fire towers, Balsam Lake Mountain is accessed from the Balsam Lake Mountain Trail, a short side trail off the Dry Brook Ridge Trail. Trailed approaches from the north, south and west offer plenty of variation for visiting this peak. While no views are available from the summit without ascending the tower, the dense balsam fir forest that covers the mountaintop is beautiful.
Preferred routes to Lone’s canister include approaching the summit by leaving the Neversink Fisherman’s Path near the Donovan Brook, as well as setting off trail from the Peekamoose-Neversink Trail near Table Mountain’s summit. Unlike its neighbors, Lone’s untrailed summit is dominated by huge birches and other hardwoods, not balsam fir. Just south of the canister you may find an opening with views to the south.
The preferred approach for Friday starts at the trailhead on Moon Haw Road and initially follows an old woods road up the mountain. Be sure to respect nearby private property while making your way up the mountain. Take in views of the Ashokan Reservoir from the canister, which sits on the true high point of the summit, which is on the northeast side of the mountaintop.
Originally thought to be the tallest Catskills mountain, preferred approaches to this peak include following a historic trail that travels north-south over the summit from the snowmobile trail that is on lower reaches of the mountain. The summit, marked by a canister, is guarded by steep cliffs and dense balsams and features excellent views from a grassy overlook called Hurricane Ledge that is just to the south. Wreckage from several plane crashes may also be found on this mountain.
Preferred approaches to Fir include leaving the Pine Hill-West Trail just north of the Biscuit Brook Lean-To, as well as approaching from Big Indian Mountain via the Catskill Divide. Fir offers no views, but does have a canister at the summit. Despite its name, Fir does not have dense balsam fir forests; expect typical Catskills mixed hardwoods.
The Pine Hill-West Branch Trail traverses Balsam Mountain, which is one of the four required winter peaks, with the true summit just off the trail to the east. Access from a number of nearby trailheads allows for many route options.
Along with Vly, one of two high peaks that lie just outside the Catskill Park, Bearpen Mountain is located in Bearpen Mountain State Forest. Trailed by a snowmobile trail, it is considered by some to be an untrailed peak due to the lack of a foot trail. However, there is no canister on this mountain. Formerly a ski area, look for old machinery in the woods and fabulous views from the top of the old ski runs.
The easternmost peak on the Devil’s Path, Indian Head was named for its profile as you view from points south. A challenging hike with rock scrambles from both directions, Indian Head offers multiple viewpoints and a balsam fir-dominated summit.
Along with Bearpen, Vly Mountain lies west of the Catskill Park boundary in the Bearpen Mountain State Forest. From the col with Bearpen Mountain, a well-established herd path follows the property boundary markers all the way to the canister. Most hikers approach this peak from the south; be sure to park legally and respect all private property near where you park as well as along most of the route and south of the canister.
Pronounced “Hawkitt” in the local vernacular, expect a steep and nettle-filled climb up from the preferred route starting point along Route 42, just south of Deep Notch, to the viewless Halcott summit canister.