Hunter Mountain via Spruceton Horse Trail

HARD 68 reviews
#11 of 78 trails in

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. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

9.1 miles
2063 feet

dog friendly



horseback riding

nature trips






wild flowers


over grown

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.

7 months ago

Went up in mid November and it was already snowy and icy at the top. Beautiful.

7 months ago

Steady incline to the tower, but once you reach the top you get the amazing 360 views. The descent towards devils path is rewarded being surrounded by pine forest. The second day, diamond notch falls was nice with the sun rise hitting coming through the trees hitting the water.

7 months ago

Very pretty creeks. Nice views from the hunter mountain fire tower. Lots of great tent sites at John Robb shelter. One good one at diamond notch. Nothing at devil's acre.

9 months ago

Cool quick little hike from the chair lift. The zip line at the beginning looks intense.

9 months ago

Nice hike steady up but gravel road to tower awesome views from tower but that's it on views. Yellow to red to blue down nice hike private and woody 8 mile loop .
Another fire down

11 months ago

Good trail well maintained. Great views at lean too and fire tower.

11 months ago

An awesome trail. Continued on to SW Hunter ( Leavitt peak). 10.28 mile loop. Well worth it.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Definitely do this loop starting on Devils path vs spruceton road (which is actually abroad...). If you do this you have to walk about .5 to car. Did this on cloudy day so views obscured. Included SW hunter for about 10 miles. Go to top of fire tower for best view and if you are lucky you can get inside the cabin. Its only open weekends from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. Coming down spruceton is easy and not at all scenic. Would rather end my day this way. Decent climb on Devils path, no views except for Geiger point.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Great work out for the day. All trail is mostly in the forest, but, your goal is Fire Tower. You will see outstanding views. It's extremely great point to observe all areas. All trail is well-maintained, but it will be better to have the map.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

This should not be rated "hard". Not even moderately hard.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

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.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Combined with West Kill

Friday, November 04, 2016

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.

Monday, August 08, 2016

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.

Friday, June 03, 2016

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.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

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.

Monday, April 18, 2016

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.

Friday, April 15, 2016

beautiful, steep hike

Sunday, January 31, 2016

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.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

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.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The first 1.7 miles weren't that bad, but the last 1.8 miles were very steep and strenuous. Part of the trail was rocky but overall the hike was very good. The views from the fire tower were very nice and refreshing.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Great the whole trail is also a atv road for servicing the fire tower and the trail is very level at the top

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Did the Blue Trail hike to the summit several years ago with a bad hangover, found the views from the fire tower to be vertigo-inducing but awe-inspiring.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hiked the blue trail up yesterday.. found the trail challenging.. novice hiking experience..made it to the firetower in under 2.5 hours, had to take our time on the way back, loose stone, leaves, sections with runoff made for some slippery conditions.. view from the top steps of the firetower were great!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Went up Hunter from the Spruceton road parking lot like many others. I understand this is the easiest approach up Hunter. We have both barely hiked in the past two years so wanted something easier to kick off with. We did this hike after doing Storm King the previous day in NY but it was still pretty easy. A word of warning, do not believe that the weather at the foot of the mountain is the same as the top. The day we set off it was cloudy but pretty mild. At the top it was 32f and snowing, with very strong winds (late October). Bring gloves and waterproofs no matter the forecast!! The hike up is quick. We didn't go up Rusk so it only took an hour and 40 mins to get to the fire tower. Some steep bits but the trail is very well marked and you don't really need a map. I like to always have one just in case though. We avoided the fire tower due to the winds so didn't see much of a view. There was some water logging of the trail on the way down (we followed the yellow loop down to the red marked devils path, then blue back past Diamond notch falls to the card park again), but it was easy and fun to jump from rock to log. No one ended up with wet feet. This time of year can make the 2 mile devils path section a little difficult. Wobbly rocks covered in a slick carpet of wet leaves make it slower going to avoid twisting ankles and knees. Any other time of year would be no proble. There are a couple of great lean-tos on the route if you want to camp. The falls are also very pretty. In all it took us 5 hours, no too hard, but a fun challenge for your legs. Highly recommend.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Combined this hike from the Spruceton Road DEC Parking Area (the one with the horse mounting ramp) with a hike up Rusk on the way to Hunter. About 7/10th of mile from the start of the Spruceton Trail I ventured off the trail and into the woods (to the left of the trail, right where it makes a 90 degree bend). There are no trails to Rusk (trust me, I looked hard for one), just use your map, shoot an azimuth, remember the 13 degree declination and then trust your compass all the way to the top. If you offset a little to the right of the summit you'll know to look for the canister somewhere to your left. Rather than come back down the way that I went up, I followed the ridgeline east to a no named peak and then followed a ridgeline off this peak to the Spruceton Trail and came out about 50 feet below the trail intersection that makes a 90 degree turn up to Hunter. At this point it is 1.7 miles to the peak. I don't know if I was tired from my previous 3+ hour bushwhack but I thought the hike up to Hunter from this point was tiring/strenuous. The trail/road had only recently been plowed and leveled so the surface was smooth and not a challenge but the incline is a quad burner for sure! The views from the fire tower are spectacular and not to be missed. Go in the summer so that the Fire Tower Interpreter (volunteers) can show you around. Tour the care taker's cabin, etc. This hike is well worth the effort. Hunter Mountain is the second highest peak in the Catskills.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The trail we took followed a route that tractors go up. We saw several pieces of machinery off to the side of the trails. With that being said the trail was very wide and well maintained. Steep tho for the first 2.5 miles. Not terribly steep but constant incline. Last mile is pretty easy with some mud and water. Views from the lean to and fire tower were great. Took us 3 hours with a little over 30 mins at the top to eat and look around. Busy trail. We saw a lot of people. Just a little over 6 miles round trip from parking lot. Going down was easy pretty much jogging down most of the way.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

There are at least 3 trails you can take to get to this summit with a firetower atop. The trailhead linked to this listing has you go up the horseback trail which is wide and steady incline. I kept going on the other side of the Mtn and made it a loop, connecting up with the Diamond Notch Falls trail. It was a great day! Except that the tower was pad locked so you couldn't get up into the cabin atop the tower. Two other towers in the Catskills were locked early in the spring as well. Anyone know why??? Seasonal? Vandalism problems? One of the ADK towers was open even in winter and I haven't seen one yet with a pad lock on it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Southwest Hunter is one of the mountains on the list of 35 over 3500 feet in the Catskills and one of the required hikes for membership in the 3500 Foot Club. It is also one of the "so called" trail-less peaks, of which there are 13. For that reason, I have not uploaded a track. To be fair, you or the group you hike with, should find this one on your own. But, it's not all that hard. Unfortunately there are no views, when the leaves are out, not at the summit and not at any point along the climb. So I would recommend combining this hike (6.7 miles) with a visit to Hunter as well, which adds about 4 miles to the total distance. A long hike but not a terribly difficult one. If it's rained recently then the trail is really going to be wet and I would recommend you waterproof your hiking shoes. The trail is an actual stream bed in places and you can't rock-hop the entire length of it. Best time to hike this is when the leaves have fallen. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

One of my fav hikes!

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