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Rough trail because of snow and ice but well worth the extra effort.

Beautiful monastery at the base of the trail you can tour and cool abandoned hotel towards the top of the trail with beautiful views at the fire tower! Steep wide trail.

Best hike in a while. Not too challenging but the views are well worth the trip.

great views and intresting history.

Am awesome hike today .

Not too much snow today, but the rock scrambles have ice on them. Definitely recommend micro spikes - made the icy rock scrambles and the general descent much easier!

I did this hike today. A few inches of new snow on the ground. This was a great hike. Lots of great views. Mini Waterfalls everywhere made for a lot of good pics and videos. 3/4 of the way up the hike does get harder but very doable. The view at the top is surreal. Can’t wait to do it in snowshoes once the snow gets deeper.

This is one of the easier hikes I’ve done in the Catskills. I got immediately off trail (which is easy to do at the start) and walked into Elm Ridge Forest, passing a long line of dramatic rock outcroppings. I would recommend doing this: take a slight left at the sign for the LEAN TO. Back on the main trail, there are some beautiful woods to walk through, especially two tall hardwood forests which were really magical; I’ll come here again just to walk through these two stands. Some views of the Blacks on the way up to the summit which is flat and exposed, with wonderfully gnarly trees on either side of the trail. On a clear day, the view north from the eastern ledge must be pretty good.

trail running
16 days ago

Epic views. It’s getting icy towards the top of the summit; you might want to bring microspikes or trekking poles.

Consistent incline. Good wide dirt trail. Hotel ruins are cool to see. Fire tower at top offers nice view as does another spot 50 yards away. Rattlesnake signs posted near top of trail. Ranger was knowledgeable and helpful.

Great hike, the ruins are wonderful. No views due to the weather.

Beautiful trail, lots of snow covered pines. Pretty easy trek for going up about 800ft.
We started on escarpment, went onto Levitate, then to the west and east gauntlets, back to escarpment. We saw an Ermine, cute little white weasel.

Although the car park is of good size get there EARLY because its a popular trail. It was almost full when we got there about 9.30am.

The trail is a well defined single-track road which can only be considered "moderate" because of the sustained incline. I can see how some consider it boring. My only thought on the way up was how beautiful it must be in the spring when the abundant rhododendrons are in bloom.

Currently there is a deceptive light covering of snow on the trail. What it hides is the numerous thick sheets of ice which only become more frequent the higher you get. WEAR YOUR SPIKES, your body will thank you for it. I had many conversations with people who were asking me about my micro-spikes; hopefully taking the time to direct them to REI / EMS will inspire a couple of them.

The hotel ruins looked fantastic in the low cloud cover. Hauntingly so.

The firetower looked great against the pure white surrounding cloud cover. It was very blustery as weather started to move in but we found shelter behind the ranger hut to make lunch and coffee. Only saw two other people at the summit even though we saw many more on the trail.

CAUTION: BE AWARE, coming down the trail in winter was the slipperiest trails I’ve ever done. Fell down a total of 20 times. WEAR ICE SPIKES, or shoes with very good traction. Overall the view was amazing and the ruins were incredible, with an interesting story behind it. Would recommend for summertime!

Great hike that was super challenging for me. It’s a steady climb to the top, with lots of mud and some icy patches. Snow flurries accompanied me the entire way. Definitely would have benefited me to have some trekking poles on the way down. The view is amazing. I felt like I was kissing the clouds. The hotel ruins are both creepy and intriguing! Definitely an awesome hike.

I love Buck Mountain!
The views are delightful!!

I live near here so I’ve done this hike many, many times in my childhood and since. It’s great for the kids and the fur kids, usually lots of other folks to greet.

hiking
23 days ago

Great view from the top, from both the lookout and the tower and the ruins were interesting to explore. The hike is consistently uphill on a fire road, and as its a road not the most exciting hike. Quite icy in patches!

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.

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!!!

Very well maintained and strollable now in a freeze/melt stage where some areas may be muddy during the latter. Great for birdwatching and quiet walk.
Set up with marsh canoes worth looking into at a later date.

captain's log 10/21/18
light bits of snow and going into the dark.
beautiful absolutely beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

great place near Saratoga/Glens Falls to test out you winter skills before tackling the ADK

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.

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

hiking
2 months ago

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 intro trail! A little wet after a rain since it follows creek beds for a while.

Awesome hike today on this trail! As a beginner it was a bit challenging but my buddy and I got through it. It was well worth it at the summit very nice views!

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.

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