Hiking Blackhead Mountain in the Catskills, NY

Hiking Blackhead Mountain in the Catskills, NY


A wicked workout, crisp mountain air and
breathtaking (as in you’ll take many breaths to reach it) views; This is what
you’ll experience when climbing 3,940 foot Blackhead Mountain in the
Catskills of New York. This five-mile round-trip loop hike meanders alongside
streams, passes through colorful deciduous woods, and climbs over 1,700
feet up and down some of the steepest trails in the Catskills. Of course I find
this detail out after completing said hike… Please note: While this is a quote-unquote short hike, it’s still the Catskills, so be prepared with proper footwear, plenty of water and snacks, and
layers to combat changing temperatures and weather. It was nearly 15 degrees
colder at the peak than at the parking lot, so keep that in mind when hiking
this mountain in cooler months. I always love a good disclaimer. To complete this hike, you’ll begin from the parking area along Big Hollow Road about two hours
away from northern New Jersey. Be aware that two red-blazed trails
begin from this trailhead. The one you’re looking for points you southeast toward
the Batavia Kill lean-to. The trail begins moderately as you follow the babbling Batavia Kill as it winds its way through the woods and over wooden
walkways. After point six miles, you’ll find a trail juncture between the red
and yellow trails. While we continued on the red trail up to the peak, I would
HIGHLY advise ascending via the yellow to the blue trails as it is much steeper
and therefore easier to ascend than descend. Not having this knowledge, of
course, we continued climbing steeply but not ridiculously along the red-blazed
Black Dome Range trail for another 1.4 miles. After a few switchbacks, you’ll arrive at Lockwood Gap where you’ll turn left to begin the yellow-blazed Blackhead Mountain trail. After some moderate
climbing and a quick rock scramble, you’ll reach an outstanding outcrop offering
west facing views featuring Black Dome Mountain and the peaks of the Devil’s
Path to the left. Be sure to linger here long enough to
soak in the view as it will be the only true vista along the hike. Moving on, you’ll continue along the yellow trail through a spruce-fir forest
which, if I were to guess, gives the mountain a dark colored peak and
therefore it’s Blackhead namesake. I love this type of northern boreal wood.
It just smells so spectacularly fresh and the encircling trees and verdant
moss have such a mystical air about them. After 0.7 miles, you’ll reach the
true summit of Blackhead Mountain as well as the juncture of the blue-blazed
Escarpment trail…which sort of just drops off doesn’t it? This is when I
began realizing this would have been the way up versus down, but down we went as we turned left on the Escarpment trail from the yellow trail and began are
brutally steep descent down the mountain. Trekking poles really helped us out on
the slicker sections of rocks, so don’t be afraid to pack those along when
tackling this hike. Slowly and steadily we made our way nearly vertically down
this precipitous trail…or should I say purrrcipitous…because…the Catskills.
Halfway down, you’ll arrive at a sort of view through the trees, as well as more
steep descents, though a bit milder than before. After 0.9 miles of careful
footwork, you’ll turn left on the yellow -blazed Batavia Kill trail for another
0.9 miles. You’ll waltz through a vibrant deciduous forest as the trail
hugs the Batavia Kill itself. After crossing a footbridge, you’ll reconnect
with the red-blazed Blackdome Range trail where you’ll hang left and make
the 0.6 mile journey back to your car. I hope you enjoyed this hike a
Blackhead Mountain in the Catskills. Until next time, happy trails!

8 thoughts on “Hiking Blackhead Mountain in the Catskills, NY

  1. Another great video I notice you guys were using a camelbak backpack looks like the fourteener what can you tell me about it and its features I am looking for a really good day pack from camelbak

  2. Hiked down to Indian Garden today on the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon. Beautiful, But it kicked my ass hiking back up and out. Saw some desert bighorn sheep and mule deer by the trail…

  3. Love these videos. Has my first Catskill trip last month and really enjoyed Hunter mountain fire tower and the Burroughs range, but it looks like this may be my next target

  4. I love this area, I just finished editing my video of my day hike here. Was researching what to add to my description and your video popped up. Never seen your channel before but I am intrigued. Love your content.

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