Wittenberg and Cornell Mountains Trail

HARD 18 reviews
#9 of 54 trails in

Wittenberg and Cornell Mountains Trail is a 8.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Phoenicia, NY 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.

8.3 miles 3103 feet Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
2 days ago

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!

25 days ago

Thank you Kevin k

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

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.

2 months ago

Difficult but it is worth the hike!!

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Trail with tons of character. Difficult trail with a beautiful view as the payoff.

3 months ago

4 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Absolutely beautiful!

hiking
8 months ago

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.

hiking
1 year ago

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.

hiking
1 year ago

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.

hiking
1 year ago

Great view on Wittenberg. A nice loop can be made if doing the Burroughs Range traverse.

hiking
1 year ago

If you add slide mountain you can make it a 13 or 14 mile loop. Great hike with great views. There are tent campsites in the trough between cornell and whittenburg if you want to overnight it.

hiking
2 years ago

One of the more challenging yet rewarding hikes I've been on. It's a steady incline hike up rocky terrain, encountering some 4-6 foot rock scaling at times towards the top.

We hiked to the Wittenberg peak in a steady rainfall. Despite some other reviews, of you take your time it's completely manageable, despite slick rocks.

I will say, you do need to be in decent cardiovascular shape to enjoy this hike, otherwise you may struggle most of the trek.

Looking forward to doing this hike again next season. Probably backpack it up and stay a night.

hiking
3 years ago

Like that one rock. Everyone talks about it...which is totally justifiable. But do we even have any concrete information on this phenomenon? Anything "written in stone" LOL no for real. Love it here. The Duane Reade at the summit is key. Bought a mint julep face mask and spa'd out, doggie.

hiking
4 years ago

Went in early June and parked at Woodland Creek. Be aware that the DEC sign-in register is NOT that the beginning of the trail, but a third of a mile up the initial incline. The trail ascends for some time before leveling off somewhat (2,400 ft elevation give or take a few hundred feet). It passes near a series of cliffs within nice pine forests, followed by stream crossings. The trail meets with a junction at around 2.5 miles.

The trail then ascends up a few switchbacks before reaching the first rock climb. This is the first very extremely dangerous portion of the trail and should be climbed by hikers with solid hiking experience. This difficult climb continues consistently for a mile (an hour or more) until the ledge at the summit of Wittenberg, over 3,700 feet in elevation. From the ledge, the view of the Ashokan Reservoir and surrounding Catskill peaks is spectacular.

The trail continues from the peak to a very narrow pass between Wittenberg and Cornell containing a very attractive pine forest. The climb down can be fun but is very dangerous, especially when wet. The trail climbs immediately after reaching the low point of the pass. This may be the most dangerous ascent of the whole hike, climbing sections of high difficulty and grade that culminates in the Cornell Crack. This unique rock split must be shimmied upwards (I needed a hand to pull me on top). The top of Cornell (3,800+ ft) offers two views: one backwards at the Wittenberg peak and one centered view of Slide Mountain. This trail continues onto the Slide peak (left that for another day).

The trail is even more dangerous going back down the descents. Extreme care must be taken; one slip could mean a seriously nasty accident. Keep diligent "three-point contact" with your hands and feet! For a day hike, the trail is very long, strenuous, difficult, mentally draining, and dangerous but absolutely worth it. The pine forests are beautiful and the view at Wittenberg peak is near or at the top of my list. It's a great opportunity to experience just about everything the Catskills have to offer.