View Full Version : Catskill Winter Lean-to Hike Suggestion

01-08-2004, 01:29 PM
Hi all, Quick question, I am looking for suggestions for a nice moderate winter overnighter using lean-tos in the Catskills. Any suggestions?

I have a fair amount of winter experince backpacking and camping in the Dacks and the Whites, figured would be fun to get out in my 'backyard' for a change.

As I do not own a 4 season tent, I would like to use lean-tos as my primary shelter.


Jay H
01-08-2004, 01:46 PM
Hmm, How about starting at Rt 214 in Devil's Tombstone and go west on the Devil's Path to the junction of the Diamond Notch Trail. Turn left on the Diamond Notch Trail and go to the leanto, which I think is one of the nicest leanto spots in the catskills. Then you should have options to leave gear there and possibly bushwack to SW Hunter lightly loaded, one of the more challenging bushwacks as the first knob is fairly thick with spruce.

The second day, you could go back to the Devil's Path and either do West Kill as an out and back or possibly go up to Spruceton road to the road itself, walk down the road to the big parking lot on the right and go up past the Rusk switchback and head towards Hunter Mtn (Colonial's Chair) and the firetower. Depending on your goals, you can hike out and watch the skiers or go to the firetower before heading back down to the Devil's Path and then back to Rt 214.

If you do Hunter Mountain, going out and back to West Kill might be challenging if you're not an early riser... Don't know the mileages off my head but the TC maps would show you.


Mark Schaefer
01-09-2004, 12:42 AM
There are a number of Catskill lean-tos and hikes mentioned in the rec's on a Catskill overnighter this weekend? (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php3?s=&threadid=1425) thread.

The Mink Hollow lean-to offers hikes to Plateau and Sugarloaf on the Devil's Path. The approach to Sugarloaf is often very icy. The shortest and easiest approach to the Mink Hollow lean-to is the old northern end of the Mink Hollow trail (no longer marked, but easy to follow) from the end of the Mink Hollow Road south of Elka Park. See the Plateau, Sugarloaf, 1/1/04 (http://www.vftt.org/trail/ny/651.html) and SUGARLOAF---VIA MINK HOLLOW RD, 12/21/03 (http://www.vftt.org/trail/ny/560.html) trail condition reports and the Catskill Help (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php3?s=&threadid=1221) thread for more information.

John Graham
01-09-2004, 05:23 AM
Jay mentions a loop over Hunter, I would second that , but recommend instead starting from Spruceton Rd. This enables you to do a loop instead of an in and out, plus the trail up from Devils Tombstone can be kind of tough to come down if it is icy, like it is right now. An advantage of Devil's Acre is that it has an artesian spring that always runs, even in the coldest weather. One point I should make is that winter camping is much more popular now, and you can't really count on finding a lean-to unoccupied. Also, you sometimes have to share a lean-to with a late arrival, who may have a wet dog who runs all over your bag, or they may be there more to party than hike and keep you up all night. I have used three season tents quite successfully for winter camping, their fine as long as they don't have mesh ceilings, and a major snowfall is not expected. Also, it is much colder sleeping in a lean-to than a tent, especially one up high like Devil's Acre. What I like to do is sleep next to a lean-to in a tent and use the lean-to for cooking and hanging out. I often drag my bag and pad into the lean-to till it's time to hit the sack.

01-09-2004, 06:13 AM
Jay beat me to it but like Jay said the Diamond Notch is a very nice lean to that sits in the Notch with Hemlocks and I think some spruce all around.

Another option would be the Biscuite Brook. You can Start at the Trail head just North of Frost Valley and hike up the Biscuite Brook also called the Pinehill west branch to the shelter and then you can hit Big Indian the first day and then the second day you can Bushwhack to Doubletop. This is probably easier no real bad ledges to play with like the ones on the DP. The Bushwhack to Doubltop is easy due to the well defined herd path that follows the state boundary.

01-09-2004, 11:04 AM
Thanks for the ideas everyone. I'll pull the maps out tonight. I knoe the Stone Clove area pretty well as I ice climb there. I was wondering about how busy some of the lean-tos maybe,

Thanks again!

01-10-2004, 07:04 AM
Shadaken Lean to is pretty nice a few stream crossings to get there but, sited next to a stream and there are 3-6 mountains you can hike.
I came in from Seager road this past weekend. did not see anyone on Sat. except the ranger. Sunday saw one group on top of eagle, could have been the lovely weather.
Big indian Eagle Doubletop can all be hiked to 5 mi rt to BI and Eagle and back to leanto depending on path to Doubletop (bushwack) this is also not very long of a hike but could be steep.
I would think the lean-tos off the most popular trails should be free but definitely bring along the tent.

Jay H
01-10-2004, 07:30 AM
I imagine this weekend might not be as crowded, it's 2F outside here in NJ, will be below 0 right now up there. Many of the leantos in the catskills are not far from trailheads but in winter, I think the kids are partying inside! It's kind of hard to get the fingers moving, opening bud cans and human contact when you're bundled up in 20 layers of fleece and jeans. :)


01-10-2004, 11:48 AM
Another place you could try is Devil's Kitchen Lean-to in the Platte Cove Rd. area.Easy slog up old wood road.Good parking area at top of Platte Cove Rd.(gated in winter,so you have to come from Tannersville).Also don't have to use parking area on Prdiger Rd.From lean-to you can day hike to top of OverlookMnt,Echo Pond,or up to Indian Head Mnt. Enjoy and stay warm.