Wittenberg and Cornell Mountains Trail is a 8.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Phoenicia, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from April until October.
This mountain ain't no joke people. Straight up the entire way, no switchbacks and very few moments of relief. This trail is definitely for experienced hikers only. Giving it 3 stars just because of the difficulty. Took us 10 hours to complete. We went yesterday (January 2017) so if you're doing this hike in the winter microspikes are a MUST. We wouldn't have been able to complete it without them. LOTS of ice. The trail was gorgeous, especially towards the top, but it snowed the entire time and therefore obstructed our view at the summit. But the pines covered in snow and ice made up for it. So in summary, beautiful but not for the faint of heart.
This was actually my very first time hiking a mountain. My boyfriend is an outdoors guy and I'm getting into these activities now. Let me tell you that it was hard but I did it! I'm terrified of heights (there were only two areas where it was steep and we had to climb rocks) and this was a mental a physical challenge for me but I'm proud to say that I did it. Thanks to my boyfriend's support also! I'm glad I started my first adventure on a trail classified as "hard". This trail is awesome, it's a hard hike, lots of rocks at some points but very rewarding when you get to the top of the mountain. Beautiful view!
Thank you Kevin k
Great hike, pretty tough in the beginning. Great payoff
MAJOR NOTE: The Directions on here are wrong. 799-949 Woodland Valley Road on google maps takes you to the middle of the road. Keep on going until you hit a camping site with a large parking lot. The Trail starts there. I spent about 30 minutes with my friend searching for the trail head only to go back into town with cell service and see it was past where I had gone.
Difficult but it is worth the hike!!
Trail with tons of character. Difficult trail with a beautiful view as the payoff.
If you like a series of different and more challenging terrain, this is it!!! I enjoyed this hike so much I love scrambling and climbing and because I am 5,1 it makes it even harder. I recommend this hike for someone with strong physical endurance and the pay off at the end is awesome! Beautiful views and a perfect view of slide mountain as well if you continue the trail to the other side. I did and in and back... Knee buster going back but I have to say, I would do it again.
Camped at Wood Valley campground and hiked up the mountain. Not very scenic throughout as it is covered with trees. Didn't see any bears. There are more rock scrambled towards the top, but not very difficult to accomplish. I took my 40 pound dog who hikes pretty well, had to carry her up a few times, and only had to carry her down and down climb once. Totally doable with an animal you can carry (take what I say with a grain of salt because I rock climb also). Wittenberg is a nice scenic spot. I heard Cornell is not worth it because there isn't an opening. A few backpacking sites throughout the hike were spotted.
A rewarding trip that can be done as a day hike (9.5 mi) or as an overnight, adding Slide peak and doing it as a loop (16 mi).
From the Woodland Valley campground, the trail ascends over mixed terrain with a number of caves, crags, and boulders. It gets steeper over the last ¾ mi with some rocky sections and scrambles that challenge the quads. Spacious views of the Catskills and Ashokan Reservoir from the Wittenberg summit make it well worth it.
Continuing to Cornell, the trail drops into a valley, then ascends again through mostly wooded terrain to the more modest summit. Views are less expansive, but from several lookouts you can see your progress from Wittenberg's summit. Recommend continuing on to Slide peak if you have the time or plan to overnight.
If you do, the path first runs more or less flat along the ridge, then steepens for the ascent, with three harder cracks and scrambles that are easier done by climbing without a pack, then having a buddy pass it up. After that is a cool and clean creek just off the path before the top. A bald rock with a plaque commemorating John Burroughs (for which this section is named) marks the top, which also has great views facing east toward the reservoir. Several secluded areas off the trail are perfect places to pitch a tent for the night.
The descent is tricky, with loose rocks and poor poor drainage in wet conditions, and is pretty relentless. It levels then drops several times before meeting Rte. 47, which you can follow (or hitch) 2 mi to meet the trail again for the final 3 mi over rocky stairs to complete the loop.