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Did this hike yesterday. Over 3,000 feet of elevation gain in about 3 miles so it’s definitely one of the harder catskill hikes. Add on to this the route finding difficult and I would classify this as a hard hike. When ascending the col between Friday and balsam always stay to the left of the cliffs you run into.
I did spend an hour on top of Friday and could not find the canister! Good luck

Nice afternoon walk, not too hard at all. Some light scrambling and nice views. Definitely good stuff for the proximity to NYC.

Great view from the top and the ruins are awesome to explore. It is however extremely congested with riff raff from the city. Even on a 0 degree day people were everywhere. That definitely takes the adventure out of a hike.

backpacking
8 days ago

Such an incredible place to visit! We went during the snow season - incredible views, very icy.
Breathtaking place to see from each viewpoint.

Dont go down the icy steps - unless u have spikes ;)

(also camping was great up near North South Campsite)

Fun hike. Fairly steep incline. Great cardio workout. Windy up at fire tower but great views. Want to try and take the yellow trail next time and do the loop since I’ve done the fire tower twice. As previously mentioned in another review, watch the red markers coming down. Easy to go off trail.

The first 30 minutes are tough it’s all uphill, there was snow which made it harder but the hotel and the view at the top were worth the hike!!!

Easy trail until you get to the 190 steps down to the bottom of the waterfalls. The view is great! Remember you have to go back up the 190 steps. Well worth it!

hiking
13 days ago

Very pretty! Went after a snow and the latter sections with stairs got very icey and slippery, so make sure you wear good boots with grip in the winter.

All in all it’s a great trail. I would rate it difficult the rock scramble was a little intense but doable. Got to say I had two mountain dogs and it was a little of a challenge for them. No they were fine but no litte dogs unless u have a back pack

Excellent, challenging. Couldn't do the complete breakeneck but completed bypass. Beautiful views

Loved every minute of hard climbing. Though on knees if you are not used to climbing for miles. Beautiful views!

Loved it even though it was hard. You first descend then slowly you start climbing and keep on climbing and climbing. Beautiful views.

I consider this hike to be like a salad and steak type of hike. The road to the top (which is 2.5 miles making this actually a 5 mile hike) is rather mundane. However, when you get to the hotel ruins, it’s fascinating to explore. You then do the last pitch up to the summit to see a great Firetower and without a doubt the best views in the Catskills. We got there at 8:00 and got good parking. We were back at 10:15 and the parking lot was full. There is more parking 1/2 mile up the road, but this will add a mile to your hike. The best Firetower hike in the Catskills.

Great hike and fantastic views. A challenging climb for the first mile which makes the crowds worth it, and an easy descent for the 2nd and 3rd but made difficult by all the fallen leaves this time of year, which caused both me and my friend to fall. Whoopsy! My 30 pound, spritely pup had a ball jumping up the rocks, but needed a boost at some points and a full on lift at one or two places. Recommend keeping dogs on leash with harnesses during the tough spots, as there are some flat rocks that slide down to dangerous drop offs. We had a couple of scares.

Some puddles here and there but still passable.

The ruins were really cool to see and the view from the top is beautiful

One of my favorite hikes .. I’ve done it twice and it was even better the second time. Trail was easy to follow and it was short enough and not to difficult for first time hikers. There are beautiful views the whole way up. Can’t wait to hike this again !

Basically walking up a driveway. The hike itself isn't that visually stimulating but the views from the top are what make this a 5 star hike.

Great, well marked trail. Inclines were challenging but reasonable. Descents with a lot of leaf litter were a bit more challenging. Lovely views. Can’t wait to do it again in spring or summer!

Really well marked trail.

I was so impressed by how well-maintained the trail is! The stairs and bridge made the trail feel very safe despite being on a pretty steep incline. Even though it was a short distance, the rocks to climb and bigger switchback near the topmost tier of the falls made me feel like I was still getting a great hike in.

I could see it getting very busy during the afternoon (and was told so by someone I bumped into on my way down), but getting there around 8 am allowed me to park in the first lot with easy access to the trailhead and have the trail nearly entirely to myself - including the upper observation deck, on which I got to look at the falls by myself for quite a while. It’s a gorgeous view and was a perfect fall hike.

A short (about an hour one way) but steep hike! It gets pretty intense at times but the views up top are great. There are a lot of nice places to sit and look out. We got a bit lost on the way down so make sure you are always looking for the trail markers. Overall enjoyed the views and a nice burst of activity.

There is a great viewpoint before the summit of Friday.

hiking
1 month ago

A short hike with a rewarding view at the top. There is no designated parking for this trail, so the safest bet would be to park on Main Street. I found a small parking area up Ava Maria Rd past the park entrance (trailhead is by the red bench in Phoenicia Park), but not sure if I was allowed to park there - I didn’t get a ticket, though! To emphasize what some of the previous reviewers and trail sign says, it is a “serious” hike in that you do have to hike up rocks and negotiate over fallen trees and narrow paths with steep drop offs. I took this hike after rained an entire day in October, so there were lots of very slippery leaves and moss on rocks. I found that some of the trail markers were hard to find in some sections but plentiful in other areas.

Having said all of that, I was looking for a hike that would take me about an hour round trip so this was perfect. I stopped frequently to take videos of the beautiful rocks dripping with water and lots of photos, so it took me about 1.5 hrs at a very leisurely place.

It was a pleasant hike overall, although on my way down the loop I could hear lots of children as there was some Halloween event in the playground as well as noise from the cars in the nearby highway. Other than that small bit, I enjoyed this brief hike very much.

I’m a hiking newbie and learning what the hiking ratings mean, but I would agree that this hike is “easy” but with climbing up some steep rocks at the start and some very narrow, rocky trails. The elevation gain was minimal in my opinion. Happy hiking, hope this was helpful!

hiking
1 month ago

Easy trail in summer and early fall. Watch out for slick rocks during rain and especially ice patches in the winter. The amphitheater midway through the larger falls is just incredible. Several people die here each year, so be careful. It helps to take a single trekking pole for balance and insurance. I did and I’m glad I did. Have fun! This place is breathtaking in October.

I was ready to hate this trail. It’s just uphill for 1,500ft of elevation on a fire road for almost an hour. Which is pretty awful. I have to say, once we got up to the abandoned hotel, and then probably one of the best overlooks I’ve seen? It is worth it. If you’re willing to put up with a craptacualr hike to see some cool shit, this is the trail.

Beautiful area of New York if you want to get out of the city. Single female 30 yo and went by myself. Took about 2.5 hours taking my time. The hike itself is mostly walking up a wide gravel path, there are no switchbacks or rock climbing. Loved seeing the old hotel and the view is worth the hike. I would recommend this to all ages and levels.

No rock scrambling or anything like that and not really even a trail but still tough because of the 2.5 mile walk all uphill until you reach the top. Amazing views just beyond the old hotel and an old fire tower that you can go up for even better views.

Very pretty but steep hike. Trail really isn’t hard because it’s more like a gravel road but the incline does dramatically increase at points. However on my way down I did see a toddler doing this so don’t be afraid! The view is stunning!

Short and sweet! Fun little climbs and differing terrain. Educational plaques throughout and pretty views of the creek and river. Easy enough for the kiddos however if you are not an active person, the couple of short climbs may be tough for you.

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