Hunter Mountain via Spruceton Horse Trail is a 9.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near West Kill, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.
Hike up Hunter Mountain with the option to turn this hike into a loop by coming back on Devil's Path. The Spruceton Trail is not technically difficult but the gradient gradually increases to 20%. There is a water source on the trail and a shelter. The mountain gets crowded on the weekends. At the top there is a Fire Tower, picnic table and caretaker’s cabin. This loop also works well in reverse.
Combined with West Kill
We turned this hike into a loop by coming back on the Devil’s Path. The Spruceton Trail is not technically difficult but the gradient gradually increases to 20%. There is a water source on the trail and a shelter. The mountain gets crowded on the weekends. At the top there is a Fire Tower, picnic table and caretaker’s cabin. We had lunch on the front porch of the cabin. The spur trail to the Devil’s path was flooded and we spent a lot of time doing walk-arounds. The rocks on the Devil’s Path inflamed my knee and Plantar Fasciitis to the point where if I were to do this hike again, I would go up the Devil’s Path and down the Spruceton Trail.
We had it a bit easier as we hiked from the chair lift in. There's a fire tower at top, which makes it all worth while. Sensational views. It's just over a mile, mostly uphill from the chairlift to Sprucetown Rd, and the just over a mile from that intersection to the tower. So, make it just over 4 miles in and out using the chair lift. There are also views from the top of the lift area.
I wouldn't say it's a "moderate" hike, as the first part was allll uphill and coming back down is even worse! It's an intense walk so be prepared for a workout. The fire tower at the top is nice. There's some lookouts along the way. A lean too at one point as well. It was a bit chilly when we did it and not much scenery to really look at besides straight woods.
I have hiked Hunter twice. The first time I went from the other side and used the devil's path until we hit the tower and made our way down to spruceton road.
The second time, I took a group of inexperienced hikers using this route. My friends had no issues with it, but they are also fairly athletic people. We also hiked the extra 2.2 miles to go to the Hunter chair, but that wasn't worth it as it was just a chair lift for skiing. Overall, a well marked path that is less steppy and rocky and more of a steep gravel path if that makes sense. Saw a ton of small snakes and the bugs were annoying until it rained.
Great hike! Did the loop. Quite a bit of ice at the top at times. The loop is 8 miles. Diamond Falls is a great spot. Fire tower offers outstanding views and a sweet picnic / napping spot. Took about 6 hours due to ice slowing us down.
beautiful, steep hike
This is a great hike on a well maintained trail. I combined Hunter and Rusk mountain on this hike giving me two Catskill high peaks. Check out my write up, it includes directions and other things to look for.
I completed the Hunter Mountain loop from Spruceton Valley. I started at the end of Spruceton Road from the Diamond Notch Trail (blue markers) which connected to Devil’s Path (red markers). After passing the Devil’s Acre Lean-to you take the yellow-marked Hunter Mountain trail which takes you to the fire tower, observer’s cabin, and summit. After spending some time at the fire tower, I took the Spruceton trail (blue markers) back to the parking area.
Overall, the hike is a pretty steady incline with several sections of level trail. The Spruceton trail is a designated equine trail so it is very wide with no obstacles. Other than the fire tower, this route offers two other views. The first was is from Geiger Point off the junction with the Hunter Mountain Trail. The second overlook is more obvious along the Spruceton Trail to the right which I believe provides views of Onteora & Parker Mountains.
Other than the above trails, Hunter Mountain can be accessed via the shorter and steeper Becker Hollow Trail and in the non-winter months from Colonel’s Chair trail when Hunter Mountain operates their ski lift to that trail.
My family and I have hiked this trail several times. The trail is wide and well maintained, more like an access road than a trail. The firetower is nice and everyone enjoys the climb to the to for the view. We usually return to the trailhead via Devils path to Diamond notch. This allows us to see the falls at Diamond Notch and the lean-to at Devils acre. There is another lean-to on the way up with a spring and good views. We have spent the night at Devils acre and had a black bear wander through camp at night.