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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.