This weekend we decided to take on the first half of Devil’s path, described as one of the more challenging hikes in the Northeast.
I was PUMPED and yet mildly concerned by what I had heard about this trail.
The trail spans 4 of the Catskill 3500:
Indian Head: 3,573 ft
Twin: 3,640 ft
Sugarloaf: 3,880 ft
Plateau: 3,840 ft
We left the house (we have a house in the Catskills) to head to the mountain at 5:15 am, and arrived by 6:15. We parked one car at the half way point on Mink Hollow trail head and the other at the start on Plate Clove Preserve.
We started up to Indian head and for 1.25 miles there is a relentless uphill until you reach your first view point.
You continue for another half of mile where the trail steepens and you see a bunch of tree roots over rocks. This creates a ladder like effect, making hiking up easier. With another great view point and a perfect snack stop. Take in the this view now, because there isn’t one at the top!
In approximately .5 Miles you will reach the summit at 3,573 feet of elevation. No views, no markers, no indication you are there except a brief feeling of accomplishment before you proceed to the next mountain Twin.
You drop around 300 feet before you start your way back up Twin Mountain. The way up includes a slight scramble, but not as steep as the ones on Indian Head.
On the top there are some great views of the Catskills!
After reaching the summit the trail starts to descend for about .75 miles. The entire time I was dreading the down, knowing what that meant. What goes down must go up! We dropped about 600 feet before starting the ascent of Sugarloaf.
We headed back up, but the up was not as steep as I expected! To be honest I was feeling good about myself at this point, I felt like I wasn’t struggling as much as usual when we hit the summit….but we still had one mountain to go!
Over the next mile the trail drops 1,300 feet to the Mink Hollow trail. We continued over the Mink Hollow trail and continued our way up Plateau Mountain. There is a sign at the Mink Hollow junction saying that the summit of Plateau is 3.4 miles away, it is not this is only to the view the high point is 1.05 miles up.
And up it is! In that 1.05 Miles you pick up 1,245 feet of elevation and boy did I feel it!
Struggling with every step up! The confidence I had felt on Sugarloaf began to waver! But I kept going putting one foot in front of the other! Not stopping! Till finally we reached the top! YES!
Now time to hit the final summit the car! We turned around and back down to Mink Hollow Junction.
On the way down it was steep, the rocks slipped under my feet and I started to feel myself fall. I grabbed a tree swung and slammed my ribs right into the rock. OUCH!!! but that wasn’t going to stop me! I’m kind of used to falling on hikes … That’s my super power! “Able to fall and bounce back up”
This hike I could feel my progress and it made me feel amazing! To all of you out there don’t stop! Keep pushing yourself! I can not wait to go back and do the second half!!!!
Total distance: 37,407 steps (thanks fitbit), 12.5 miles
Elevation gain: approx 4,400 ft
Total time: 7.5 hours
What I wore:
Hiking boots: Salomon X ULTRA 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boot
I just bought these and I’m obsessed! They are extremely comfortable, have great support, and they are PURPLE!
Pack: Osprey Tempest 20 Backpack
A perfect size pack for a day trip!