Indian Head Mountain Loop

A relentless day hike to the summit of Indian Head Mountain.

Hiking Severe

Distance
9.7 km
Ascent
536 m
Descent
536 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
623 m
High Point
1.1 km
Gradient
14˚
Indian Head Mountain Loop Map

This day hike connects the first segment of the infamous Devil's Path with the Jimmy Nolan Notch Trail. Unique rock formations, picturesque boreal forest, and dramatic views line the way and make this one of the best day hikes in the region.

Description

Begin your hike at the trailhead along Prediger Road, accessible via Platte Clove Road. This seasonal road is both steep and narrow and should always be driven with caution. There is plenty of parking, and a turnaround for larger vehicles.

Complete the loop in either direction. Counter-clockwise, follow the red-blazed Devil's Path to the first intersection with Jimmy Dolan Notch Trail. This is the most direct route to the summit of Indian Head Mountain and subsequently, the most challenging. This also serves as a popular route to access Twin Mountain, known for its sweeping views of the surrounding Catskills.

When you reach the notch, you will intersect the Devil's Path again. Keep left and follow the red blazes to the summit of Indian Head Mountain. For some particularly spectacular views, look for an unmarked spur to the south from the notch. Difficult to find, you'll descend to a rocky overlook and a great place to soak in the view.

From here, a tremendously steep climb separates you from the 3,500-foot summit of Indian Head Mountain. As the trail treks across the mountain, views will be limited, though the high mountain terrain still brings a beauty of its own. Near the highest point, look for a spur trail offering partial views to the west.

A relentlessly steep descent leads off the northeastern corner of the mountain and will demand the use of both your hands and feet at times. Finish your hike along the north slope of the mountain, passing unique rock overhangs and other formations along the way. At the junction with Jimmy Nolan Notch Trial, keep right and make your way back to the trailhead.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IndianHeadMountain(NewYork) https://www.challengedhiking.com/2016/05/14/best-hikes-twin-mountain-on-the-catskills-devils-path/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27sPath(hikingtrail)#Easternsection

Difficulty

Severe

Hiking challenging trails where simple scrambling, with the occasional use of the hands, is a distinct possibility. The trails are often filled with all manner of obstacles both small and large, and the hills are very steep. Obstacles and challenges are often unexpected and can be unpredictable.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

April, May, June, July, August, September, October

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area