West Shokan

37 reviews
4 days ago

Let me start by saying, this hike is absolutely beautiful. I backpacked for a day, stayed overnight at the dedicated camp site at the top and left the next morning. The first part of this hike from the trailhead to the loop is straight and goes through pine forest and for the most runs along the Kanape Brook and is absolutely scenic and beautiful. We hiked the loop counterclockwise and for the most the ascent was not difficult but because our heavy backpacks was a little hard. I'm sure as a day hike, the hike to the top would be a piece of cake. The top has a nice view, not the best in the Catskills but very nice none the less. If you're looking for a spectacular view you'll be disappointed. Bring plenty of water because there's no water source after you hike away from the brook.

Here's why I absolutely loved this hike for backpacking. The dedicated campsites at the top are spacious and open so you can see the stars at night. The main site has a nice fire pit is very spacious and very comfortable. For some reason it was amazingly quiet at night and didn't hear any owls or animals scampering, just the wind blowing. We were lucky to have a clear sky and the stars were out in full effect! We made a nice fire which kept the bugs away and had an amazing time! If you're looking for a single day pleasant backpacking trip this is the hike for you! We had a very great time and would do it again!

This is the part of the hike we were totally disappointed. The second part of the loop continues through the campsite where you begin the descent and this is where I would do it differently. The remainder of the other side of the loop needs much needed maintenance. There is overgrown brush neck high or greater which sometimes you feel that you're bush-wacking. There are times when we also thought we weren't on the trail or lost because the brush is so overgrown. I was concerned of what I was touching. I had hiking pants thankfully but my arms, neck and face were rubbing against all sorts of brush and was concerned of getting ticks on me. This also added about an hour to the hike because the dense brush slowed us down. Another issue of the other side of the loop was a multitude of fallen trees. Simply put, the other side of the loop is in disarray and would greatly recommend not taking it and do this as an in and out hike. You will gave a much better time hiking back the way you hiked in.

I'm doing this hike again because its the perfect place to backpack and it's not a popular spot for day hikers. If you love solitude this is the hike for you We only bumped into five people on our way up and absolutely nobody on our way back to the trailhead. I'm giving this hike 4 stars because of the part of the loop which I would recommend you stay away from until it gets the attention it needs. Happy hiking!