Balsam Mountain from Rider Hollow Rd

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Big Indian Wilderness

Balsam Mountain from Rider Hollow Rd is a 5.1 mile heavily 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, running, camping, and nature trips and is accessible year-round.

Length5.1 miElevation gain1,725 ftRoute typeLoop
Kid friendlyCampingHikingNature tripsrunningForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

Note: This trail is accessed by a seasonal road so be sure to check conditions before making your way to the trailhead.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (332)
Photos (693)
Recordings (306)
Completed (524)
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Mike Kauffman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 26, 2021
HikingIcySnow
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T Bird
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 24, 2021
HikingSnow

Fun Catskill 3500 peak. On the shorter side, completed in under 3 hours. We went counter clockwise red-blue-yellow-red so the stream crossings were first. The water was low, so no issues. The summit was a gorgeous forested winter wonderland with branches covered in snow. Nice view off to the right just past the summit. Steep coming down the yellow at times. Slid down one scramble on our bums :). Didn’t see to many people. But those we did were all taking it the opposite way, clockwise. Likely to avoid the stream crossing first. Which again, was a breeze this weekend. Trail conditions were great the whole way. No ice as the trail was snow packed. Few snow drift areas. Microspikes still helpful. A very cold day but the sun kept us warm.

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Christina C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 24, 2021
Hiking

Went anti-clockwise, conquered the streams and steepest terrain first. Super cold day but the sun makes all the difference. Trails are broken in so it was easy to walk on. Just spikes. Quite a handful are heading down as I was making my way up. View was spectacular with clear blue sunny sky. What was more memorable was a little chickadee which flies from tree to tree, definitely this chickadee was enjoying the great view, I bet the chill too. Wee-my way down on steep slopes. See no one on the way down.

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ToniAnn Fanizzi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 23, 2021
Hiking
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Sam Cherubin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 22, 2021
HikingSnow

Great loop hike with decent snow-pack on the trail, few sections had 2-3 ft snow drifts but overall the trails were easy to follow and were packed down...moderate hike up with a steep section towards the top but it didn't last too long...hiked with snowshoes, and highly recommend them for the deeper snow drifts and to further pack down the trail

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Andrew Craigie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 21, 2021
Hiking
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Lauryn T
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 20, 2021
HikingGreat!IcySnow

Hiked up to Balsam summit today (January 19th). We took the clockwise loop (Red>Yellow>Blue>Red) and would recommend doing the loop vs the out and back. The trail was mostly snow packed but there was a couple spots that the snow had blown over where we had to trek in ankle deep snow until the path re-emerged. This was mostly in the final stretch to the top from the Yellow trail. Not a lot of people out today, only came across (2) pairs of hikers the entire time. You will definitely need micro spikes and a good waterproof winter boot for trudging through the snow and ice. No views of the other peaks at the actual summit but the serene untouched forest at the top made the hike well worth the effort. There’s one small viewing area that is unmarked. Look for it before reaching the summit if coming up clockwise from the Yellow trail. We found the way down (Red trail) to be fine. The biggest concern we read about were the streams. Today they were very low and easy to cross without getting wet. The deepest part of the stream is by the end of the loop near the lean-to. No problems getting across there either.

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Morgan Marzella
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 18, 2021
Hiking

Had to break out my spikes about 1/2 way up when a short squall came in. No view at the top which was disappointing, as the view on a clear day would be gorgeous. Either way, good exercise and great trail.

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Eric Rosenfeld
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 18, 2021
Hiking

Beautiful day with some clouds and sun and little wind at the trailhead. At the summit it was snowing quite heavily (no view) but it was a crisp winter wonderland up there. Microspikes needed but not snowshoes.

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Andrea Nicola Mazzarello
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 18, 2021
HikingGreat!Snow

Did this yesterday, after the snowstorm. We included also Haynes and Eagle mountains. The trail was ok, snow already very packed from previous hikers. We had snowshoes but ended up carrying them on our back while using spikes for traction. We did the loop clockwise and had no issues in crossing the river on the way back.

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Mark Walsh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 18, 2021
Hiking
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Cameron Marchand
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 17, 2021
Hiking
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Cameron Marchand
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Hiking
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Dr. David Ness
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 17, 2021
Hiking
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Ian Eller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 16, 2021
HikingGreat!Snow
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Becky Evans
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 15, 2021
Hiking

It was a foggy quiet day on balsam. We got to the trail late, started the loop hike (clockwise) around 1pm, with intentions of using headlamps on the way back down. We didn’t see any other hikers today, little to no visibility from the lookout. Hard packed snow without much of any ice, made for nice conditions. We were good to go using spikes. The streams were easy to cross.

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Jesse Surprise
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 14, 2021
HikingSnow

I respectfully disagree with anyone who says to do an out and back and avoid the stream. The stream is the best part of this hike!!! Perhaps I'm just infatuated by streams/waterfalls in the winter with the icicles, but I wouldn't want to miss it. Yes, you need to cross the stream a few times, but I can't imagine anyone hiking in the winter does not have waterproof shoes and I only got my boots wet once on miss-step into the stream. I did clockwise. The day was "almost" perfect. It was warm enough to shed the winter coat, but was also snowing which adds to the aura. Unfortunately, there was no view at top due to the fog. A couple steep areas near the peak that needed careful steps to avoid slipping. No ice whatsoever on the trail itself, just packed snow the whole way. Very large parking lot which is nice for such a "remote" trail. Only saw 1 person on trail and only 3 cars in lot when I got back.

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Boyeong Yoon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 10, 2021
Hiking

Started very late. Planned to go loop at first, but took a respectful people’s advice just went out & back. Will come back again for looping. Hiked with gaiter & microspikes.

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Anne Arent
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 10, 2021
Hiking

Beautiful hike. Trail is packed snow and the views are lovely. We did the loop CCW, even though it puts the water crossings on the front end of the hike and had no problems.

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Chrstpher Cor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 9, 2021
Hiking
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Lauryn Schaffner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 9, 2021
Hiking

A bit steep in some spots. Went red - yellow - blue and came back down as suggested, rather than doing the loop in order to avoid the stream. Definitely need microspikes. A few inches of snow but the trail was mostly packed down.

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Alison Mesick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 9, 2021
Hiking

Parking - had to park on the road, trail well marked, use spikes.

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Alexa R
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 7, 2021
HikingSnow

Very snowy, gaiters recommended

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Jenn Silva
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 5, 2021
HikingGreat!IcySnow

Great hike! Lots of snow. Went counterclockwise and did Eagle first. There’s a canister there . Was really slippery going doing some parts but nothing to scary. Trail was empty. Beautiful views all around.

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