Balsam Mountain from Rider Hollow Rd

MODERATE 72 reviews
#1 of 13 trails in

Balsam Mountain from Rider Hollow Rd is a 5.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Arkville, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and nature trips and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 5.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,725 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

camping

hiking

nature trips

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

hiking
rocky
4 days ago

I went with 3 kids (10, 10, 8) and 1 toddler (2) on my back. It is doable! I would rate this as moderate. It is rocky so hiking boots and walking sticks were a must. Worth the view at the top! The paths are clearly labeled. We went through day after it rained so it was muddy.

hiking
9 days ago

Perfect temps with the exception of zero visibility today. Could have done this hike in 3-4 hours, stopped many times to take photos. Well marked trail.

Challenging! Moderate, but only because of the length. Any longer and I’d argue it would be rated hard. Pretty step continual incline on the way up and on the decent down. Not many flats. Mountain seems to be permanently damp with lush foliage and moss, meaning you should watch your footing. I slipped a few times when with sticks and high quality boots. Terrain was lovely. View was nice, but there’s only one. 5.2 miles in about 4 hours with a 20 minute stop on top to enjoy the vista. I went clockwise and don’t think it matters which way you go, both directions are continually steep. This is a 3500 peak so a necessity if you’re trying to hit all the 3500’s. Recommended but not for grandma and the kids.

hiking
1 month ago

the view at the top is the best part of the hike. I went counterclockwise and about 1.5 miles was a steep inclination but besides that it was very moderate in difficulty.

hiking
bugs
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
snow
2 months ago

hiking
muddy
3 months ago

hiking
bugs
rocky
3 months ago

Great trail. Well marked. Gets harder as you get further in. Recommended.

I liked this hike. Not a lot of people and it does have a nice view spot. but the weather was odd today. Snowing and icy on the way up and the snow had melted by the time we decent. Anyway, there is still ice in spots and you will need spikes at certain points toward the top!

Quietest hike I’ve been on in the Catskills. Snowshoes helped towards the top, only one view but it’s a great one

hiking
rocky
snow
7 months ago

7 months ago

Didn't do the whole trail. The path crossed over a large body of water that showed up from a recently warm day and we couldn't continue. That said, all that we saw was beautiful. I'd be excited to go back after it's gotten a chance to re-freeze and do the whole thing. Regardless, it was a great time.

hiking
8 months ago

We hiked the loop in a counter-clockwise direction, so the sun would be behind us for the majority of the hike, and it was really nice. The water wasn't high, so the stream crossings weren't an issue for us. The first third of the trek was pretty easy, but then it increases in difficulty considerably, gaining the bulk of the 1700+ feet of elevation in just a mile and a half. I would consider it a moderate hike overall, but it was gorgeous in the snow, and makes any strain worth the effort. Once above 3500 feet, it became a winter wonderland. The forest and streams, not to mention the view, were beautiful.

hiking
10 months ago

Hiked from Rider Hollow parking area on October 21, did the loop clockwise with spur out over Haynes to Eagle Mtn. Just short of 10 miles total, about 5 hours. Started before 7 and was the first to sign into register that day, didn't see anyone til 3 hours later, and saw total of 6 other hikers so was a nice quiet morning. Snow covering on top of both Balsam and Eagle, brought microspikes along for first time of the season but didn't need them that morning with barely any ice seen. I didn't feel there was an issue whatsoever following the trail for the duration even with the leaves or snow, and even starting out in the predawn conditions. Descending from the 2 high peaks the mossy rocks were a bit slick. Creeks and streams were all flowing pretty good, the last stream crossing on my route (big one back down low by lean-to) was still low enough to stay dry with careful rock-hopping. Only views from the trail were on Balsams northern summit area. Nice variety of scenery on this trail with the deciduous sections, short ledgey area, beautiful tight trail through some firs on top, valley trail down toward rider hollow. Couldn't come across a reason to drop off a star from rating.

hiking
10 months ago

Did this hike on Oct. 24th and there was snow above 3100’. Really beautiful the entire way. Great transition from autumn colors down by the creek to snow up on the peak. Also didn’t see anyone else the entire hike, so it’s a good trail for some solitude. I just did the yellow to blue and then back from the summit. But I’ll agree with prior reviews that yellow to blue to red... aka clockwise is probably a good bet if the creeks are flowing high and fast. It’s easy to get off trail with the leaves down/snow on the trail so be on the lookout for the markers.

hiking
11 months ago

Nice hike. Took us four hours moving slowly. About like Giant Ledges in terrain. Great view spot at the top but for us it was a view of fog. It opened up enough to see it could be very nice. If you do the loop go clockwise, yellow-blue-red. The red trail hugs the creek and crosses several times. Better to get wet at the end.

backpacking
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Did my own route to Balsam and Eagle. Only one vista. It was def an easier high peak going up both mountains.

hiking
Saturday, July 21, 2018

Quick hike, rocky. Went counterclockwise, poles for the descent are handy. Lovely view from top.

hiking
Friday, October 27, 2017

Awesome view of Rt 28 winding through the valley. long and steep both up and down.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Good trails, not to fond of the catskills though,

hiking
Thursday, March 09, 2017

Did the Balsam loop but continued on the Pine Hill West trail to climb Eagle Mountain. Saw a few coyotes near the top of Eagle.

hiking
Friday, April 09, 2010

Can do a nice loop, lean too is if you stay on the trail to the right. It's been at least a year since I've gone but if you loop you get to the top of the mountain and there are small area's to see the senery if not cloudy.

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

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