Southwest Hunter Mountain Bushwhack is a 4.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near West Kill, NY that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
Wilderness Area, Streams, Thick Spruce Summits, Steep climbs, Bushwhack This is another hike that is only meant for those with good map and Compass skills. The weather on this day was temps in 20's and snow all day. Snow depths were from around 6 inches at lower elevations to 1.5 Ft at the higher elevations. Southwest hunter is a Bushwhack peak with an elevation over 3500ft. There are a few ways to the peak but the route we took was one of the steepest. We took the Diamond Notch Tr. to the Diamond Notch Shelter. Then we took a bearing to SW Hunter summit. The climb from the shelter was very steep. As you get close to the summit you have to fight your way through very thick spruce. The snow did not help. Once on top it took some time to find the canister, just as we were thinking of giving up due to time we stumbled right to it by luck. Then we Descended down to the West Kill Headwaters and followed the Creek back to the Diamond Notch. Snowshoes, Crampons and full winter gear are a must in the Winter. Do not attempt without.
Southwest Hunter is one of the mountains on the list of 35 over 3500 feet in the Catskills and one of the required hikes for membership in the 3500 Foot Club. It is also one of the "so called" trail-less peaks, of which there are 13. For that reason, I have not uploaded a track. To be fair, you or the group you hike with, should find this one on your own. But, it's not all that hard. Unfortunately there are no views, when the leaves are out, not at the summit and not at any point along the climb. So I would recommend combining this hike (6.7 miles) with a visit to Hunter as well, which adds about 4 miles to the total distance. A long hike but not a terribly difficult one. If it's rained recently then the trail is really going to be wet and I would recommend you waterproof your hiking shoes. The trail is an actual stream bed in places and you can't rock-hop the entire length of it. Best time to hike this is when the leaves have fallen. Enjoy!