Hunter Mountain and West Kill Falls

Hunter Mountain - NY Travel Blog

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The start of the hike, the start of the Spruceton Trail

Hunter Mountain is one of the more "famous" mountains in the Catskill Mountain Range. New Yorkers who do not like to hike may still know the mountain, because it is well know for its ski area. Together with Belleayre Ski Center, the Hunter Mountain Resort is one of the major ski areas of the Catskills. A small detail, often overlooked, is that the Hunter Mountain Ski slopes are actually not on Hunter Mountain but on its neighbor Colonel's Chair.

Hunter Mountain is with an elevation of 1231 meters (4040 ft) also the second largest mountain in the Catskill range, just 43 meters lower than the number one, Slide Mountain.

The Hunter Mountain fire tower
The mountain was formerly known as the Greenland Mountain but, later renamed to Hunter Mountain, after John Hunter, a local landlord who had bought the land and claimed that the mountain was the highest in the Catskills. Like Slide Mountain the summit is rather flat and trees and bushes prevent the hiker form having a splendid view. Fortunately the Hunter Mountain is also equipped with a fire tower. The highest (not tallest) fire tower in the state. My GPS measured it 15 meters high. The tower was closed in 1990 but fortunately restored and re-opened for the public in 2000. A strange Hunter Mountain curiosity is the fact that it has been said that Monica Lewinsky revealed her infamous president Clinton affair to a close friend on one of the Hunter Mountain hiking trails.

On my way up to the summit I walked the Spruceton Trail, an old service road used for the fire tower.

The West Kill Falls
The trail was steady but a bit boring. After a small 2-hour hike and about 550 meters (1804 ft) of climbing I reached the flat summit and the fire tower. Tiny biting flies terrorized me and other hikers. Fortunately they flies did not follow me when I climbed the tower to enjoy the views. Unfortunately the weather was rather hazy. I need to get back here for a better view.

My way down was via the Devil's Path and Diamond Notch Trails. Very spectacular foot trails that wind along the face of Hunter, passing streams, abysses and near the end of the hike the impressive West Kill Falls. While typing this I realize I had visited these falls via a different trail a few years ago. See here.

More pictures below.

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The start of the hike, the start o…
The start of the hike, the start …
The Hunter Mountain fire tower
The Hunter Mountain fire tower
The West Kill Falls
The West Kill Falls
Nice streams along the way
Nice streams along the way
Nice greenery along the way
Nice greenery along the way
The Spruceton Trail near the summit
The Spruceton Trail near the summit
View from the Hunter Mountain fire…
View from the Hunter Mountain fir…
View from the Hunter Mountain fire…
View from the Hunter Mountain fir…
Looking down from the Hunter Mount…
Looking down from the Hunter Moun…
Looking down from the Hunter Mount…
Looking down from the Hunter Moun…
Small green life
Small green life
Plenty of rocks
Plenty of rocks
Swamps with fresh leaves
Swamps with fresh leaves
Swamps with ferns
Swamps with ferns
Nice lush forest along the Devils…
Nice lush forest along the Devil'…
Nice lush forest along the Devils…
Nice lush forest along the Devil'…
The West Kill Falls
The West Kill Falls
Other falls in the West Kill River
Other falls in the West Kill River
Back at parking level, still fresh…
Back at parking level, still fres…
Hunter Mountain - NY
photo by: mdalamers