Gear Junkie Stephen Regenold had much more fun writing this piece for the New York Times than he had hiking the 27 miles (and 14,000 feet of elevation gain) in the notorious Devil’s Path west of *West Saugerties, New York. He describes gnarly, straight-up the mountain climbs, getting caught in the rain, having fogged-in views of the peaks. This Flickr slide show offers a few clues on what he might have seen:
This 1999 Backpacker Magazine article features the path on a list of 12 devilishly brutal trails.
I have an alternate theory on the origin of the name: Ol’ Beelzebub dabbled in trail design before finding other ways to try men’s souls. How else to explain a route that regards the fall line as suitable trail bed, or demonically follows rocky ledges you scale using both hands as well as feet?
This Wikipedia article describes all the major sections of the hike. Looks like must reading if you’ve lost your mind and decided to take this one on.
I built this Google map based on one the Times posted:
View Devil’s Path, the Catskills in a larger map
If you zoom in you can really appreciate the yawning gaps between the peaks.
This EveryTrail trip has more exact start and finish points (of course, downloading the track into your GPS unit for such an adventure would be cheating!).
Finally, here’s a Backpacking Light thread started by a guy who camped out there earlier this year.
Several lengths of trail required pack removal and tossing of trekking poles to scramble over, through, or down.
Hey, that’s about as good as it gets.
(If you’ve done one that rivals this beast, chime in with a comment).
* For all you gray-bearded Rock ‘n’ Rollers: West Saugerties is the town where Bob Dylan and The Band recorded the famous Basement Tapes.
Nice links, Tom. I grew up in the east and love the Catskills, but even there lots of hikers have never heard of them. They’re really underrated.
My wife and I dayhiked a loop on the Devil’s Path this summer, and it’s every bit as gnarly as advertised. On our 6.6-mile hike over Indian Head Mountain, we had mud, rocks, scrambling up cliffs, a thunderstorm, and tons of fun.
The Devil’s Path is the only ‘toughest trail’ I’ve been on from the Backpacker article, unfortunately. I’ll have to put the others on my to-do list.
Thanks. I should be heading up that way on business before long and was debating whether to stay longer. You have helped me make up my mind!
It’s actually not that hard in spring, summer or fall. Winter is a completely different story.