Loring S. on Blackhead Mountain Loop Trail
I loved this trail. It was steep in some areas which meant a good work out and we caught some great views of the big mountain. My track included all 3 peaks on the range. Check out my full review along with pictures and some things to look out for.
Really loved this hike. Nothing to see at the top but really nice views from a comfortable spot looking north/northeast on the way down. We only saw a few people on the trail. Got a little steep before the summit but it doesn't last too long and isn't too hard. You will use your hands.
I liked the trail, but was not too thrilled: There are two good vista points, but not on the top of the mountain.
Above about 3000 feet, the vegetation is changing, and the air smelled wonderfully (early September).
Will I do it again? - Rather not. - Was it worth the time and effort? - Yes.
I hiked this on New Year’s Day 2016. I didn’t complete the loop, I returned from the summit of Thomas Cole. There is no view from Thomas Cole, but some nice viewpoints from Camel’s Hump. There is a bit of a scramble (that may not be a scramble in other seasons) before the 3500’ sign that was pretty icy. While crampons where not required, I found supplemental footwear traction at this point and beyond to Thomas Cole to be invaluable. Total hike time was 4.5 hours with 3.0 hours moving time.
Jason M. on Blackhead Mountain Loop Trail
My first mountain
Blackhead Mtn Trail is an easy start from Big Hollow Rd registration. A gentle first 3/4 mile or so then steepens sharply as you approach the higher area. Its all well worth the effort, rewarded with some spectacular views.
My son Aaron and I did this climb in 12 degree weather, a blue-sky day when the air is clear and not a bloodthirsty bug to be found ! If you take these peak hikes in low temps, be sure to insulate your drinks as our water became a slushy by the summit and the thermos became an iced coffee ! Also some good quality, well secured ice crampons are invaluable. Next time we will take in all three peaks, Blackhead to Lockwood Gap, then to Black Dome on to Thomas Cole and loop back. With a foot of soft powder underfoot, lots of ice and booger freezing air, one was enough.
This is one of my favorite hikes in the Catskills. The best route is definetly doing Blackhead first then onto Black Dome. Blackhead summit has zero view but a great rock, but the view from the backside of Blackhead is beautiful and looks squarely at the ledge on Black Dome that you are heading too. You need to be an avid hiker and in good shape for this one. Only need to watch out for the loose rocks going down. Views and area are 100% worth it.
Had the day off and hiked Blackhead Mtn then Black Dome and then Thomas Cole. Had to backtrack over Black Dome to get back to the Trail Head which was at the end of Big Hollow Rd in Maplecrest NY (the Catskills). The Catskills are a wonderful place to hike and explore. Hiking on Monday like I did the trail was nearly empty. The weather was cool, the sun was out but there were NO bugs. This is a rugged and very strenuous hike. Be prepared for a workout if you want to bag all three peaks (peaks number 3, 4, 5 on the Catskill 3500 footers). I didn't see any spots on the trail that I thought were particular dangerous, just a hard workout. My route (I posted the track) was 8.2 miles long and it took me 4 hours and 45 minutes. Great views (not so much at Thomas Cole) and plenty of places to have lunch with a view!
For such a relatively short hike, this one is very difficult. Even today, at the end of April, many parts of the trail were completely covered in snow and ice. 3/4 of our team slipped & fell. Everyone's sneakers were destroyed from the mud & it hasn't rained in days; bring hiking boots! That being said, the view was 110% worth it. And that's all that matters, so be careful & enjoy!
I did the yellow trail trail all the way to the blackhead summit and then continued to blackdome, which was only slightly over a mile extra than just taking the red trail back. If you aren't exhausted at this point I recommended taking this detour. The views are excellent. Came back the way I got to blackdome and followed red blazes until I was back onto the yellow and back to parking. The bugs were absolutely brutal even with 29% deet until about 2 miles into the hike. The climb was strenuous but very enjoyable. Steep sections were sometimes followed with flat sections, and the little "step" climbing you had to do was easy and broke up the pace