Sugarloaf and Overlook (Catskills)

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Jan 15, 2013
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Vernon, Conn.
Over the past weekend a bunch of us from the Connecticut Section of the Green Mountain Club rented a house in Hunter in the Catskills. There were eleven of us altogether, including a ten-year old.

On Friday several people hiked Burnt Knob. I hadn't arrived yet.

On Saturday ten of us hiked the Sugarloaf Loop. I think I was the only one who had done the whole loop before. There was at least 3" of snow on the ground. Most of us used spikes for the whole hike. I started and ended with spikes, but wore snowshoes for most of the time on the Devil's Path, partly so I could use the televators on the ascent.

We did the loop clockwise, first going up Pecoy Notch Trail. This passes by the Stone Chairs, a very elaborate site of chairs, towers, and stairs made of slabs of rock. It's not as impressive under the snow as it is normally, but it was still very cool. At Pecoy Notch we turned west onto the Devil's Path and went steeply up to Sugarloaf. At one point the blazes didn't make sense to us until we realized we had left the trail (following a clear packed down path) and were rejoining it. Like most Catskill peaks this is flat on top, and it was an easy stroll past the summit to where it started descending on the other side, with a little side trip to an outlook.

On the descent there were some icy sections which were tricky, but everybody made it OK. Then we went back by Mink Hollow Trail. The bridge over Roaring Kill is no longer there, but the kill was easy to cross. Soon after that there's a section where the trail goes steeply up. That section's not far, but the people who were expecting to just be dropping down to the trailhead were not happy. On the whole, though, I think it was an enjoyable hike for all of us.

On Sunday most of us when home early, but three of us climbed Overlook Mountain near Woodstock. This is two miles each way on a wide, but very icy, old road. We were all on spikes the whole time. Not everyone was, though. We met a lot of people on the hike, and only about a quarter of them had traction.

Before Overlook Summit there's the shell of an old hotel, the Overlook Mountain House, and we spent some time exploring that. Not far after that is the fire tower on the summit. The wind, which was practically nonexistent down low, was brutal on top, so we didn't stay up there long. I did visit the nearby outlook over the Hudson River Valley before I descended, though.

Here are the pictures for Saturday (Sugarloaf).
Here are the pictures for Sunday (Overlook).



NE111 in my 50s: 115/115 (67/67, 46/46, 2/2)
NE111 in my 60s: 84/115 (59/67, 23/46, 2/2)
NEFF: 50/50; Cat35: 39/39; WNH4K: 41/48; NEHH 89/100
LT NB 2009; CT NB 2017

"I don't much care where [I get to] --" said Alice, "-- so long as I get somewhere," ...
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
- Lewis Carroll
Glad you got a chance to hike Overlook. I'm one of the tower stewards. The hotel was the 3rd iteration, the previous two burned. You likely know this, Overlook is home to a large population of Timber Rattlesnakes. Once spring emergence happens, if it's not too hot or too cold, there's always a good chance to see them. Vegetation grows up all around the hotel ruins a favorite hunting group for the Timbers looking for chippies. In June, large areas of mountain laurel line the 2.5mi trail and looks and smells like a mountain's version of a floral shop.
Then there is also the longer way to get to Overlook, coming in from the opposite direction, for those who want a more challenging option :)