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tonycc
04-30-2004, 03:00 PM
Our group is looking at doing the slide mountain loop in a couple of weeks. We'll probably get there after dark Friday night and I'm wondering where we might be able to hike in a bit and set up just off the trail for the night. The Panther mountain trail has a leanto .6 miles from the parking area, would that location provide a place to set up some tents? Any other recommendations or advice?

Thanks,
Tony

Rob S
04-30-2004, 03:20 PM
How about heading up to the Terrace Leanto Friday night? Then doing the loop on Saturday. You have a lot of options here, and I'm sure someone like Warren or Tom Eske or Mark Shafer will be able to give you a more definitive answer and options ..... they are the experts in this area. I've done the loop twice, both times as dayhikes but have never stayed in either Terrace or Denning Leantos. And I don't have my maps handy at the moment. But you will enjoy this hike, it's one of my favorites. It has it all, tons of views, scrambles, scenic forest, unusual rock formations, and the really cool Bruin's Causeway!

Have fun! :)

imarchant
04-30-2004, 03:49 PM
Originally posted by tonycc
Our group is looking at doing the slide mountain loop in a couple of weeks. We'll probably get there after dark Friday night and I'm wondering where we might be able to hike in a bit and set up just off the trail for the night. The Panther mountain trail has a leanto .6 miles from the parking area, would that location provide a place to set up some tents? Any other recommendations or advice?

Thanks,
Tony

If you are arriving late you could camp at Woodland Valley campsite. They are opening May 13th.

Or park at the parking area at the hairpin turn on Slide Mountain road. Hike in about 3/4 mile to Giant Ledge-Panther and Phoenica east? trail junction. It is nice and level in that area.

Another option is to park at the Slide mountain parking area. Hike in to where the trail joins the old logging trail. I think it is quite level in this area, or continue to just before the 3,500 ft level and there is a designated camping area.

Warren
04-30-2004, 04:02 PM
imarchant has it right. Terrace Mnt lean to is a bit of hike- 3.2 miles I think and you start climbing right away. The Denning lean to has been removed.

Your original idea of Fox hollow is a good one, I think there's good tent camping there (there was a lot of snow there during my last visit). Woodland Valley also offers access to the trails you want, and it's close to Phonecia so there's food (& drink) available Friday night.

Another option you may find nice: Look at the ADK Catskill map, a long Rt 42 just south of the Peekamoose Trailhead there is an area marked primitive camping. You can pull in there and car camp. I don't know if these spots tend to fill up- 3 weeks ago there 3 people there on a Friday night. It may help you get a quick start in the morning and there's food available on the road on the way to the trailhead.

Mark Schaefer
05-01-2004, 12:21 AM
The Fox Hollow lean-to site does have room for tents. I even believe you will find some tent sites before you reach the lean-to.

I agree with imarchant that the easiest thing would be to pay for a campsite at the Woodland Valley campground. It should not be too crowded in mid-May and it is a pleasant area. The Wittenberg Cornell Slide trail starts within the campground. After crossing the bridge the trail immediately climbs 1000' in less than a mile. It is so steep that I doubt you could find a campsite until the trail levels off. That climb would not be much fun in the dark. There is a spring 1.45 mile from the start.

Be aware that you can use the old trail from the north side of Winnisook Lake over to the Giant Ledge junction. There is a conservation easement on that old trail and it is still well travelled. It will save you some road walk and elevation. And if you are bushed at the end of the hike you can also take the old trail down to the end of the Woodland Valley Road. That will save you a 400' climb of Fork Ridge. The signs are fairly intimidating when you reach the private land, but that section of old trail also has a conservation easement.

Have fun, it is a great hike.

Jay H
05-01-2004, 07:30 PM
Don't quote me but I think there is a campsite (not sure legal or not, but I'm pretty sure I've seen a campfire ring there if you head in from Slide mountain Rd towards Giant ledge/Pather but instead of making the left to GL/Panther, go straight for about 1000ft and there is a path on the right before the trail turns downhill that is a campsite..

Mark, I've always wanted to take that trail down to the end of Woodland Valley Road.. I really hate those rock stairs on the other side of the valley that takes you around the private land easements or so. You can see where the trail/road ends cause there's some logs places across it, but I am always tempted just to take that shortcut rather than to go down and up the other side of the valley!

Jay

paul ron
05-01-2004, 09:41 PM
The fox hollow lean-to is perfect for a Friday night stay. It has water near by and plenty of room for tents and a great fire ring. The hike in is easy so hiking at night won't be a problem. If your group is over 10 people call the local ranger to let them know you are comming. Last time I called it was Pat Rudge, 845 254-4126.

tonycc
05-02-2004, 08:27 AM
Excellent information, you guys are great!

I am hoping to make Woodland Valley, but the website says the latest for checking in is 9:00. That may be cutting it close for us.

We'll take all of the info you posted and use it to make our plans.

Thanks again.
Tony

TomEske
05-02-2004, 12:29 PM
Hey Tony,
You've got solid suggestions all around. I just want to add two things:
1) Coming up the trail from the Woodland valley side, after about a mile (maybe less Warren?) the land levels out and you should be able to find a camping spot away from the trail. However, I think this trail could be marked a bit better. Last week when I did it, I kept saying to myself that I couldn't imagine how Warren found his way the night before in the dark. I stepped off the track several times, and that doesn't often happen to me in the Catskills, Maybe I'm used to following snowshoe tracks, I dunno, maybe I'm getting old and loosing my faculties.
B) For the record, it is legal to camp anywhere in the Catskill Park PROVIDED you are at least 150' away from the trail, water, and the area is not posted as a no camping area. Although it seems to make sense, you are not supposed to set up camp around a leanto if it is occupied. You should move down the trail a ways. Also, you cannot camp above 3500 feet between March 20th and December 20th. Groups of 10 or more people need a permit issued in advance (usually by fax) by the Ranger responsible for the area. Max on a permit is 12 people. This permit ONLY applies in Wilderness areas. For Wild Forest, it is 20 people(No permit required unless over 20, I think). The Burroughs range is in a Wildreness area.

A side note: Pat Rudge is or will soon be retiring from the service for physical reasons. Your best bet is to contact the region 3 supervisor whose name escapes me at the moment to find out who is covering that area. The assignements get changed around a lot, and the supervisor has assured me that he prefers you call him to find out who the proper person is. Give your self time to make contact and get the permit. The Ranger will want parking locations and license plate numbers. I have not seen Pat's name in a trail register since early winter, so I'm certain someone else is covering. (Pat if you see this, despite what you may think, I wish you the best in the coming years, and hope to see you "out there" again some day. There is no glory in doing mental battle with an unarmed opponent, and you and Bill are worthy advisaries. Be well, and ask Bill to answer my email.)

Happy Hiking,
Tom

Zenwalker
05-03-2004, 04:41 PM
Are you actually going to do a loop, or are you going to Slide, then back the way you came in?

How many hours do you think a loop will take?

Mark Schaefer
05-03-2004, 06:08 PM
The loop from the Woodland Valley includes 9.05 miles on the Wittenberg Cornell Slide (WS) Trail plus 6.05 miles on the Phoenicia East Branch (PE) Trail. 15.1 miles total. I have done this numerous times as a day hike, in under 6 hours on several occasions. This was using the old trails north of Winnisook Lake and at the end of the Woodland Valley. Those old trails shave a few tenths of a mile off the total. I also used the old unmarked "steps trail" which is still shown on the maps parallel to the WS trail on the west side of Slide. The last time I tried the "steps trail" in 1995 it was very difficult to follow. It also meanders onto the Winnisook Club property - so I do not recommend that as it may take longer than the marked trail.

I have also included the Giant Ledge and Panther (2.55 miles one way, 5.1 mile round trip) on a number of day trips of the loop.

tonycc
05-12-2004, 09:04 AM
Originally posted by Zenwalker
Are you actually going to do a loop, or are you going to Slide, then back the way you came in?

How many hours do you think a loop will take?

The current plan is to hike in on Friday night, probably to the Giant Ledge junction area and find a place to camp. Saturday we would head to Terrace Mtn region for camping (would prefer not going all of the way to the leanto). The stronger group members will have the option of bagging Panther before heading east. We will go out over Slide on Sunday.

Our group just hit 10 as of last night so I am trying to contact the ranger about permits and to review the plan. I'll submit a trail report to this group next week.

One last question: for hiking in the dark from Rt47 to giant ledge trail junction which would be prefered, the standard trail from the hairpin curve or the slightly longer, but flatter, easement? Also, I have no strong need to make it to the trail junction, so any legal and suitable camping location on either of those trails would be fine.

Thanks again.
Tony

lumberzac
05-12-2004, 09:36 AM
I just did this loop last weekend from Woodland Valley, only in the opposite direction. There are campsite on top of giant ledge as well as what looked to be a large campsite just past the trail junction with Giant ledge as you head toward Woodland Valley.

Mark Schaefer
05-12-2004, 11:19 AM
The problem with the old easement trail from Winnisook Lake is that there is no parking at the trailhead. That was the main reason the trailhead was moved to the hairpin curve. You could of course drop people and equipment off at that location, and the drivers could walk back up the road to join the group. I suspect you could find legal campsites along either trail. The flat easement might offer more options. Since it is no longer a marked trail you would not need to be concerned with the 150' from trail rule - the ranger should be able to offer recommendations on a site.

The old easement is most often used by hikers making the loop from Woodland Valley, and so trailhead parking is not an issue for them.

imarchant
05-12-2004, 11:53 AM
Originally posted by tonycc

..........One last question: for hiking in the dark from Rt47 to giant ledge trail junction which would be prefered, the standard trail from the hairpin curve or the slightly longer, but flatter, easement? Also, I have no strong need to make it to the trail junction, so any legal and suitable camping location on either of those trails would be fine.

Thanks again.
Tony

It is further to the Giant Ledge trail junction, at height of land, then to the Fox Hollow Ledge-to from their respective parking areas. As Mark said, there is no parking at the easment. I also think that you should get off of the private property before camping. Do you have the NY-NJ confernce maps? I recommend them highly, they show a lot of the features you are asking about.

The camping area Lumberzac refers to, is the same one I had in mind in my earlier post.

Last Memorial Day I did a solo backpack of this route. It was raining almost the entire time and my pack was too heavy. It took me 28 hrs total.

LtHiker
05-14-2004, 09:10 AM
I was with Lumberzac last weekend and there are signs on the easment going to Giant ledge that say please stay on the trail, no camping. It is a longer hike going that way than from the hairpin turn parking area but it is alot easier especially in the dark. The trail up from the parking area is steep and very rocky.

The spring at Giant ledge is flowing nicely and the campsites up top are very nice. That is where I would head.

tonycc
05-17-2004, 12:55 PM
Thanks for all of the advice, the trip went great.

There were nine of us, we left a car at the Slide Mtn parking area and one at the hairpin turn. We started hiking at about 10:15pm, easily finding the campsite just past the Giant Ledge trail Junction. Despite this being our first hike in the dark, it was fairly easy and a lot of fun. (.6 miles, 500 vert feet, 30 minutes)

On Saturday morning we headed towards Woodland Valley, with our destination being the Col between Cornell and Slide. We started down the path to avoid Fork ridge, but turned back after running into all of those signs and seeing that the trail would take us right through some occupied back yards, and past Beware of Dog signs. The stairs up Fork Ridge were great fun, I'm glad we didn't complete the shortcut.

We filled up with water at Woodland Valley then began the climb to Terrace Mountain. Just before the spring we saw a porcupine next to the trail who decided to quickly climb a treee to get away. We stopped at a small waterfall for lunch and to refill our water for the trip over Wittenberg and Cornell. By this time the black flies were starting to become annoying. As we climbed Wittenberg, and at the summit, the black flies were really bad. Despite the wonderful views from Wittenberg we didn't stay long. We quickly tagged Cornell and enjoyed the limited view. The bugs were a lot less noticeable.

Past the summit of Cornell the view of the col with Slide and Panther in the background was awsome. We hiked to the far side of the col and found an empty campsite on an exposed rock ledge. (10 miles, 3,500 vf, 7 hours)

After dinner, I set out for the excellent spring which is "only about a five minute walk up the trail" according to an experienced member of our group. I found the spring about twenty minutes later after a 540 foot climb. Just as I got there a mild thunderstorm passed north of slide and strted dropping rain. I had no gear with me, so I descended to a cave 5 minutes back down the trail. The next 30 minutes of peaceful, solitude during the storm was the highlight of my day. It continued to rain on and off through the night. At least the bugs were completely gone.

Sunday morning we woke in a cloud. After a quick breakfast we broke camp and headed over Slide. This section of trail from the Col to the summit is one best I have ever seen in the Catskills, lots of scrambling and great views. We had clear conditions and the summit to ourselves. There were lots of clouds below us, and the view from the lookout on the descent from Slide was fantastic. We quickly descended to the parking lot for the traditional pizza feast and drive home. (3 miles, 700 vf, 2 hours)

I tried to contact a ranger before the trip but was not successful. We ran into a couple of rangers close to the trailhead. One of them gave me her card so now I have the ranger office number for future use.

This is an oustanding looptrail. The trails were mostly dry, with some wet and muddy areas up on the higher sections. I'm looking forward to doing it again, possibly as a dayhike.

Thanks again for all of the advice.
Tony

insight
05-17-2004, 02:12 PM
This loop was one of the first hikes I've done (I still don't have many under my belt, believe me), and I fell in love with it.. Went back a couple more times, but the one thing I really don't like is the trail going directly down Slide from [I believe] the W side, which goes straight to Woodland Valley, and not across Wittenberg. All I remember is a fairly steep trail of nothing but ROCKS...not much fun to walk down. And I think I remember a mile or so of road.. But the hike from Woodland to Wittenberg and then Slide is WONDERFUL.. I always loved the great mix of gentle hiking, slopes, a few small croppings of rocks that require a tiny bit of climbing, and all the trees, rocks, and more trees. The view is beautiful!

If I'd gotten to this thread earlier, I probably would have adviced staying clear of the trail up Slide from the W since it was rather boring for us. Sounds like you still had a great time, so maybe it wouldn't have been the best advice, but I've preferred taking the same trail that crosses Wittenberg up and down in the past, as opposed to the loop. :)

TomEske
05-17-2004, 06:50 PM
Tony,
Glad you had a great trip. The Ranger who gave you her card, what was her name. I'd like to know who is covering this area now. Did she givve you any hassle about not having a permit? I'm just curious.
Tom

tonycc
05-17-2004, 08:27 PM
Originally posted by insight

If I'd gotten to this thread earlier, I probably would have adviced staying clear of the trail up Slide from the W since it was rather boring for us. Sounds like you still had a great time, so maybe it wouldn't have been the best advice, but I've preferred taking the same trail that crosses Wittenberg up and down in the past, as opposed to the loop. :)

I definately liked this loop trail going clockwise, I don't think it would have been near as fun going the other way. It's funny how that works and it is probably a matter of personal preference. For me, stepping and climbing up is much easier than stepping and climbing down. For example, Slide is a fairly steady grade approaching from the west (Rt 47) and would be an average hike, but going down this was fun since the trail was smooth enough to fly in a sort of controlled fall. The approach to Slide from Cornell has some great small ledges requiring basic scrambling skills. Also, that 400' staircase west of Woodland Valley was fun going up when coming from Giant Ledges, but going down would have been a knee killer. However, The section between Slide and Woodland Valley going over Cornell and Wittenberg looked like it could be equally fun in both directions

We met two rangers, a young woman and a young man. The woman was Jennifer Snyder, I didn't catch the man's name and he didn't have a card. Since our group size was only nine we didn't need a permit, but she did ask. They were both very pleasant and I enjoyed our short conversation. For reference, the phone number for the Ranger HQ is (845) 657-6162.

Tony

TomEske
05-18-2004, 06:14 AM
Of course you're right Tony, permits are required for 10-12 persons. I shouldn't make post when I'm that tired. The permit system is a pet subject of mine and I continue to collect anecdotal experiences from any source I can. I just heard another interesting one on Saturday that indicates to me that the State might be relaxing their proceedures a bit, which is good to see.
I still hold out hope that they will re-write the system to make it more workable in today's world. The DEC admits the system is poor, but I idon't see any progress yet.
Again, glad you had a great trip. Thats is truly one of the finest loops in the Catskills.
Happy Hiking,
Tom

LtHiker
05-20-2004, 08:27 AM
Glad you had a great time. I eyeballed that campsite in the col between Slide and Cornell a few weeks ago. It must have been great. The night I was there was way too windy to be that exposed. That spring is amazing, the amount of water that comes out that high up the mountain, its at what like 3800'.