Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Hunter-West Kill Wilderness Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Icy and snow covered for most of the hike and we did it without micro spikes ( I don’t recommend you do the same ) . My phone died so only have the recording for the climb up . It was about 2 hours to the top and an hour 45 down . My last needed firetower for the Adirondack- Catskills challenge .. it’s obviously slippery in spots so be careful and it’s a great hike ..

Great hike. It is easy until the end it’s steep for the last .8 miles. Then it gets moderately steep. Then it’s flat. It’s easy to get to hunter. looking back at the mountain it’s pretty darn steep

13 days ago

I have done a few of the Catskill high peaks and Hunter is rated as “easy” but I think because of how steep it is I would call it more of a moderate hike. I went up the Devil’s path side, which although steep I found more interesting and picturesque. There were beautiful slabs of rock dripping with moss and water. Additionally, as I descended I was able to get some small views out to my left since all the leaf coverage is on. The view from the top of the tower were amazing and breathtaking. I took Becker hollow on the way down which I could less enjoyable and very steep. Although for the last mile or so you go along the river which was nice.

off trail
over grown
14 days ago

First 4000 footer complete and so happy how awesome a day it turned out to be. First, many of the reviews are spot on. Expect a long incline all the way to the top. What was nice was the first mile wasn’t too strenuous. As you get into 1.5 mile mark it really picks up in steepness. Nothing was too difficult except the leaves and mud in some spots which made the trail very slippery. Going down is always more dangerous than going up in my opinion because of the mud and not being able to see where you put your feet because of the leaves. The fire tower at the top was amazing. The hatch was locked shut but you get the same view from the ledge at the top stair. Expect it to be windy. The views were incredible. All trails says 4.7 for the loop but my Fitbit registered 7.5 miles. It took me 1 hour and 10 minutes on my way up, and about 1 hour and 20 minutes on my way down. I started hiking at 7:45 am and there was no one on the trail, aka perfection. On my way back down the trail picked up usage and I passed hikers every 5-10 minutes. The views driving to the Catskills were incredible and I can’t wait to come back to hike more.

great trail. fairly steep for all but the first and last 2/3 mile. love the flats at the top in the dense pines. great trail to hike, not ideal to run due to rocky footing and constant incline. could not find the spur trail at the top, took the slightly longer one via the second peak.

very challenging should be rated extra hard, we took the blue trail and it gains about 2,000 feet of elevation! this trail is no joke. I wouldn't advise going in a riany day like we did as most of the trails are streambeds as well so it gets wet.

The trail was very beautiful. It continously climbs up with no flat sections - but its really pretty especially with the fall leaves. I reached the tower at 12 pm and there was still ice on it! very chilly at the top of the tower... layers are highly recommended here. Trail is wet at the top with some slippery sections making the descent interesting.

Took the horse trail as part of the other was closed. Fun hike. Some steep uphills. First hike for my 1.5 year old rescue dog. Challenging from a cardio perspective, but very easy terrain.

Beautiful day! Conditions were ideal, dry, clear skies and 0 wind! Completed our first leg in the fire tower challenge :-) My wife and 7.5 yr old daughter enjoyed this trail thoroughly - all the colors are vibrant, though a bit more past peak compared to Kaaterskill range - overall it's on the easier side of difficult. The first mile is easy going, pushing through first 400 ft of elevation, 2nd mile is when trail shows it's teeth, demanding 1000 ft, a good effort , the incline is constant bet 10-20%. At the junction, we would take it clockwise next time, as we didn't find it any more difficult than any particularly steep section of last mile. Don't miss overlook on the way up to tower. Nothing technically difficult about terrain other than navigating roots and rock. Last weekend to visit the tower, enjoy folks!

Nice challenging hike for us, our first Catskills high peak and 4th Catskills Fire Tower hike in 3 days and definitely the steepest! Very few plateau areas, mostly straight up with the last ½ mile being the most rugged. Beautiful middle-earth type area near the top with excellent mossy rocks and trees by taking the right side path to the Fire Tower. Great views from Fire Tower and very friendly Tower attendants.

Awesome trail! This was my first time in the Catskills and I will definitely be back! I’m halfway through the ADK46 and thought this was comparable to those in terms of the climb, but with considerable less mileage which was nice. Not technical and only a bit of mud on the blue trail after the split. Really nice caretakers up there this weekend, but they said this is the last weekend the cab of the tower will be open.

1 month ago

Great views from the top of the fire tower. The trail was loose rocks at first but then got much better. Definitely steep toward the end but after doing the high peaks trail was not all that bad. My 10 and 15 year olds did good going up it. Well worth the effort to get to the top. Took 3 hours with half hour of exploring the top.

North Dome was great. Lots of climbing up cliffs. There was a herd path from North Dome to Sherill. The bush wack fro Sherill was not fun.

Fabulous day for a quick hike up and back to Buck Ridge yesterday. Trails clean and dry. It was very busy though, and of course when you get people you get problems. So here are some reminders: Dogs are meant to be on leash. Pick up your trash. And finally, don't monopolize the only place on the trail that has a view. If you are a large group eating your lunch, move back so other people can take in the beauty. Buck Ridge Lookout was inaccessible for everyone else because of one such group that parked themselves there. That's just poor trail etiquette. Hope everyone out there yesterday enjoyed it as much as we did!

Th trail is challenging. The closer you get to the top more challenging it is. Take the Blue up when it meets the yellow take the yellow for a short cut. The sign just says tower but it’s the fire tower. If you continue on the blue it gets crazy steep and it’s a longer trip. This was my final fire tower for the challenge. We had just done Mt. Tremper that morning. I don’t recommend doing both in the same day. Both are challenging and not easy. The trail had some mud, a few scrambles, and just steep! We went on a Friday and the tower was open. A few volunteers were there and had lots to say about the mountain and the tower. They also had some brownies.

Beautiful waterfall and amazing lookout from the ledge. Wasn’t super strenuous but was longer than it says. It is actually 6.7mi

1 month ago

Steep, but not technically challenging. I'd been reading the reviews on here and was wary, but if you have experience hiking more technical climbs, this will be a piece of cake. I've been doing the ADK High Peaks all summer and into the fall, and this one was easy. It took me three hours flat from trailhead back to trailhead, and that included breaks to change, drink, snack, and climb the firetower. The views were pretty, but the color is just past peak. Be warned, the wind up on the tower can be sharp and biting even if the ambient temperature is warm. Some mud noted to the trails at the top, and a few trees were blowndown on the way up. Noticed some VERY unprepared "hikers" on the way, and I want to warn people, this may be a short hike, but it is strenuous. Saw multiple people without water, wearing jeans and sneakers, and this is totally inappropriate for the hike. Disrespect the mountains, and you will not have a good day.

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