There were definitely some challenging parts to this hike, although some reprieve in spots. It took me 6 hours from start to finish, with only a few minutes at the summit to take in the view. The trail was very well marked and easy to follow.
This is one of my favorite hikes. It is challenging and technical but not too much. My wife and I took our 4 small boys( 9,7 and twins at 6) on one of our trips up and they made it without issue. I think this is a good hike for a beginner that is in good shape. The view is well worth the effort and will give someone new to hiking a wow moment that will make them crave more hiking.
This trail is a little involved, and can be a little daunting for a first-time hiker.
The trail is demarcated, but it is possible to loose your way. So ensure, you have a correct trail map apriori.
* It has nice small waterfalls and streams of water flow.
* There are spots in between to take breaks.
* Being the last one up to the buck ridge lookout meant we could take a food break at the look out @ 2-3pm
We hiked West Kill Mountain in the Catskills, one the hikes required for membership in the Catskills 3500 Foot Club. We parked in the DEC PA at the very end of Spruceton Rd (village of West Kill) off State Road 42. The trail rambles along the left side of the West Kill Creek which includes a series of impressive waterfalls. The trail crosses over the creek at about the .8 mile mark and turns right at the end of a recently reconstructed wooden bridge. From the parking lot to the bridge the trail rises mildly. Shortly after the bridge the trail starts to climb rather steeply and it doesn't stop climbing until it hits the summit at about the 3.5 mile point. There are however stretches of the trail where it's not so steep and you can catch your breath as the burning in your thighs subsides! Just short of the summit are two impressive lookouts. One looks West and the other looks East and they are about 50 feet apart. This is the spot for a break, lunch, and photo ops. The summit is another .15 miles from the two lookouts. There is a four foot rock cairn at the summit. Some websites indicate a summit sign posted on tree but I was unable to find that sign nor the sign you normally see when you cross the 3500 foot mark on mountains in the Catskills. This was a fun hike but lacks vista views anywhere along the trail. The only view is near the summit. The hike back down isn't as rough on the knees as some other trails are. I love hiking in the Catskills and enjoyed this hike. I think you will too.