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Hunter Mountain and Southwest Hunter Mountain Loop via Spruceton Road

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Hunter-West Kill Wilderness Area

Hunter Mountain and Southwest Hunter Mountain Loop via Spruceton Road is a 9.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Hunter, New York that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and snowshoeing. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 9.4 mi Elevation gain 2,286 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Camping Hiking Nature trips Snowshoeing Forest Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Snow
Description
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Please note that the fire tower is currently closed due to COVID 19. This loop can be done clockwise or counter-clockwise. If you prefer a more technical ascent and an easy walk down, then complete it counter-clockwise. If you prefer an easy walk up and a rocky descent, then go clockwise. There are many factors about this hike that make it extremely fulfilling. This hike contains a lean-to with some of the best views in the Catskills, multiple amazing viewpoints, a spring, a firetower, a short bushwhack, waterfalls, and a section of the Devil's Path.

Weather
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Daylight
Reviews (81)
Photos (779)
Recordings (75)
Completed (319)
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Bartosz Zakrzewski
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HikingGreat!
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Grant Denis
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Jeffrey Peltz
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Thomas Mercadante
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Hiking
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Tom Potkanski
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HikingGreat!MuddyRocky

We covered this hike today, my son 7 years old, my daughter 10 y/o and my wife. We did it counter clock wise. Up hill was moderately easy a little bit rocky, descent was easy on the gravel path. Overall this trail is very nice itself, however without major views. The best semi panoramic view on the surrounding mountains is from the top of the fire tower. I recommend this trail to 7 y/o and up. This trail should be classified as moderate.

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Vanda Mecnarowska
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Hiking

Beautiful trial. Went counterclockwise with a 7 and 10 year old. First 3 miles are a bit difficult, steep, but nothing too too hard. Would call this trail moderate rather than hard. Down from Hunter mountain (the tower) it is consistently down the hill gravel no big rocks or boulders. Beautiful day.

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Fielding Water
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HikingGreat!

don't forget to stop by John Robb lean-to. beautiful view of spruceton Valley straightforward hiking on hunter, straightforward bushwhacking on SW hunter

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Dr. David Ness
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Joe Nesci
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Hiking

Did this hike as a loop moving counter-clockwise with the first checkpoint being the falls. This ascent up wasn’t too difficult. It gets your heart rate going but the trail steadily climbs and isn’t too rough on the knees. Keep a lookout for the SW Hunter junction on the right hand side of the loop. The trail is well worn and easy to follow as you search for the orange canister about a half mile on. Afterwards, the hike towards Hunter is forgiving for being a route to the 2nd highest peak in the Catskills. It only has a mild elevation gain. We made the summit on a Wednesday afternoon around 11 AM and had the place to ourselves. The path down the carriage road isn’t terrible. The first 1.5 or so is mostly rocks but becomes more tolerable as you decrease your elevation. Like others on here have mentioned, the walk back this way seems much better than having to go up it. Should’ve told that to all the families who got to the parking lot at 12 PM, but hey, they’ll figure it out on their own. Loved the hike, so did my fiancé, and especially my dog.

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Carlos Duvignau
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Bob Lachmann
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Sean Fitzgerald
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HikingMuddyOff trailRocky

Good hike with beautiful views, especially from the fire tower at the summit. A nice stream with waterfalls at the beginning of the hike if you take the trail up and follow the carriage path down. Muddy near Geiger Point and a few other places but nothing impassable. Southwest Hunter was an easy “bushwhack” because a trail was well worn, even if it was unmarked. Maybe the next time I’ll plan the hike up Hunter for a day the nearby West Kill Brewery is open...

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Daniel Abbey
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Alison Wrynn
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Hiked on 7/25. After the initial rocky Devil’s Path incline, the trail to SW Hunter is very straightforward and pretty level. The fire tower on Hunter is open and has beautiful views. I hiked this counter-clockwise, the pro being not having to hike up the gravel carriage road, the con being that I would have liked to save a cool off in the waterfall for the end of the hike.

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Monika Szumski
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HikingMuddyRocky

Loved this trail, was so mossy and green! Not that many views but the forest glens were exactly was needed. Cannot recommend it enough to go counterclockwise. It’s pretty rocky going up this way but much better than going down that way. Along the way to Hunter, Southwest Hunter was my first bushwhack and quite straightforward, so have a compass and map for just in case and you’ll do great! On the return from Hunter Mountain and the fire look out, it’s all loose gravel like a Jeep trail so bring your trekking poles if you have them - they’ll save your knees! I’m definitely happy I didn’t go up this way. The rockiness of the counterclockwise ascent kept me focused on not falling flat on my face so it made time go by a lot quicker! It was a fairly cloudy morning but there’s a good deal of shade. Was muddy today but after the torrential rain in the afternoon, I’d imagine it would be very slick. Gaiters and careful steps are key!

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Danielle Drosnock
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Hiking

fairly challenging ascent, thought it would be more challenging but it felt more like a moderate trail. steep and flat sections. waterfall near the beginning! muddy in some areas. small first overlook. want to hike out and back to Hunter west kill vista before this one next time... hunter mtn overlook was alright, saw a little snake up there on the rocks. the 360 view from the fire tower was stunning. nice easy hike down a horse trail back to the parking lot and the trail follows a stream near the end.

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Anna Lobmeyer
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Hiking

The ascent, if going counter clockwise, is great. It’s a few bouts of steep climbing folded in with some straight shots. Eventually, we veered off to go the first peak, which wasn’t that steep either. Then, we continued onto the fire tower. The fire tower IS able to be climbed up. You just can’t go inside. It was still cool. After that, follows the horse trail to the car. The ascent of the hike was fun and exciting, but the descent was a little lackluster as you are just walking back along the horse trail. Nothing much to see. My boyfriend and I were kind of bummed. 5 stars for the first half of the hike but 2 for the rest.

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Russell Hanford
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Hiking

SW Hunter, Hunter, Colonel's Chair loop. Don't forget to stop at the brewery when you're done. Easy cruising, heavily trafficked trail.

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mary maguire
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HikingMuddyRocky

Took friends up the steep, narrow, rocky trail from the falls to SW Hunter decided to make it a loop so headed to Hunter next then down the wider, gentler trail. Day was perfect, no humidity. No views on SW, just canister for log. Tower on Hunter closed due to the 'rona. Take a few moments to head to the John Robb lean-to it's a great spot with a fantastic overlook.

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Deborah Ragone
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HikingBugsMuddyRocky

My first 35 over 3500. Epic day. I began the trail at the trailhead and headed counter clockwise up devil’s path. This part was no joke. Uphill and it’s rocky. Annoying rocky, not rock scramble rocky. But I stopped at the waterfall on the way up. It was nice. Refreshing. Then the climb continues. Pace yourself. Eventually you reach a lookout and another and then fire tower and it’s all beautiful. We continued on hunter mountain trail to spruceton. We made a little diversion to colonels chair. Wonderful views there. And rip van wynkle’s monument was there. Back out to spruceton then down the horse path. The best spot was the view past the last lean to on this trail. The John Robb lean to. There’s a book there to sign and the views from there were My Favorite. Back to the horse path and find some nice waterfall areas and then back to the car. Over 11 miles but we did extra. And we took our time to sit and enjoy the views. Next time I’d explore the colonels chair (ski lift) area more. And take the blue diamond ski trail down. Have to look into that more. Enjoy. 4040 elevation is highest point at fire tower. Look for the big rock with the 4040 markings.

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Jeff Church
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Hiking

Great loop in the counter clockwise direction. It allows you to hit fun single track on the initial ascent with beautiful stream and waterfall in the beginning. Not a lot of view payoffs except for the actual fire tower, so for us it was crucial to add an out-and-back: the Colonel’s Chair trail!! Top of Hunter Ski mountain, it’s opened up because of the ski trail cuts. Nice mountain deck with an east pointing view to stop and have lunch and a beer at. Pop back up to Spruceton trail and the rest is double track downhill for the final stretch.

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Autumn Johnson
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Hiking

Definitely recommend taking this trail counter-clockwise- much more fulfilling and interesting terrain on the way up & nice easy stroll down the carriage trail. Ice is melting! We brought spikes but didn’t need them (ice at the top is walkable) Don’t forget to stop by the spring on way down the carriage trail for some ice cold water- was so refreshing

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