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Overnight Ideas

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  • Overnight Ideas

    Thinking of putting together a trip this upcoming weekend. Looking to break the legs in a bit. Hoping to drive up from Westchester to any location in the Cats. I have hiked almost 30 high peaks, but sadly never on Catskill peak. Since the season is just starting I don't want to over do it. Any suggestions for a single day trip, hike < 10 miles. Looking for a moderately difficult hike, nothing very difficult or strenuous. Also I was hoping to camp out up there, possibly even car camp at a location where we could have a fire. Any suggestions are welcomed.

  • #2
    We had a thread here maybe 1 or 2 years ago about places to car camp in the Catskills. I did a search, but searching for "Catskill car camping" brought up a lot of results. If you look, you'll be able to find it I'm sure, it had a lot of good info.

    EDIT: Here's the thread:


    • #3
      Thanks DeSettahr. I believe I posted this question before a year or so ago and you had replied. Unfortunately I couldn't locate the thread or PM (if there was one). I need to do more research on the sites listed in that former thread you posted a link to. I really seem drawn to the Black Head Range. I think I saw a lean-to site on the map. Any suggestions on favorite ridges? Peaks? Thanks again. Cheers.


      • #4
        Yes, the Batavia Kill lean-to is located on the north side of the Blackhead Range. There's also a designated campsite just uphill of the lean-to.

        Personally, I'm quite fond of any of the peaks in the Blackhead Range, along the Devil's Path, or on the Burroughs Range. I also enjoy the Big Indian/Eagle/Balsam ridge- it doesn't quite have the views of the aforementioned peaks, but it does have a fraction of the crowds. Every time I've hiked along this ridge I've had the woods to myself.


        • #5
          My first and still favorite camp site in the Catskills is Giant Ledge.
          Reliable water source, plenty of designated camping sites and great views.
          Not to mention your own meteor impact crater.
          Just don't tell too many people.
          Last edited by Hiker41; 05-05-2012, 05:28 AM. Reason: spelling
          In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks
          John Muir
          My Flickr Hiking Pics
          Catskill 3500 33/39


          • #6
            Thanks to everyone for the feedback. Definitely headed out with two of my buddies...we are going to decide tomorrow, but it is definitely between Blackhead Range and Giant Ledge. TBH Giant Ledge is really appealing right now with the Super Moon and Meteor shower which is going to be visible Saturday night. I also like the thought of camping at altitude, something I have done in the Adirondacks but never above tree line or at least at levels with open views. However since we are overnighting we definitely want to have a fire. I am concerned with all the recent rain all the wood that could be collected will be too wet. So we are going to each carry a bundle (should be interesting) on our packs. Has anyone brought wood with them to Giant Ledge? Difficult? I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes. If anyone is planning on getting out there, I will be at one of these two locations Saturday night (if Blackhead staying at Batavia Creek leanto otherwise Giant Ledge) with two buddies. Cheers.


            • #7
              Remember that there is a ban on moving firewood more than 50 miles. Be aware that by bringing wood, you could potentially be introducing non-native insects into the Slide Mountain Wilderness. For this reason alone, bringing your own firewood probably isn't the best idea.

              From an efficiency standpoint even, it's probably not worth it to carry all that extra weight up the mountain anyways. I'm sure you'll find decent firewood if you're willing to look for it. You may have to walk a few hundred feet from the campsite/lean-to to find it, but that's better than carrying it 2 miles.

              As for wood being wet, that's never an issue if you're willing to put the effort into building a proper fire. Start with the smallest twigs you can find- stuff that's only a millimeter across will readily burn no matter how wet it is. Work your way up in size, and once you get a decent bed of coals, you'll be able to put the larger stuff on. A small hatchet might be good for splitting wood so that you can get to the dry interior of a log (Not for cutting down live branches or trees!).

              And remember that it's much more efficient to heat your body from within- so if you are cold, a hot meal with plenty of calories (bring butter!), warm drinks, etc., should be your first priority, and then fire can be a priority after that has been taken care of.


              • #8
                Much nicer just to use Duralogs: They come in different colors, no insects, burn when wet and impart a wild, succulent taste in food cooked over one.


                • #9
                  Pat McManus, outdoor author/humorist, has some interesting views on the "ease" of building a campfire. Smudge and inferno are two words that immediately come to mind.
                  Nature we have always with us, an inexhaustible storehouse of that which moves the heart, appeals to the mind, and fires the imagination - health to the body, a stimulus to the intellect, and a joy to the soul. - John Burroughs


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PA Ridgerunner View Post
                    Pat McManus, outdoor author/humorist, has some interesting views on the "ease" of building a campfire. Smudge and inferno are two words that immediately come to mind.
                    When the wood is soaking wet, it's all in the preparation. If you are willing to spend time gathering the right amount of tiny twigs and small sticks, then the actual act of getting the fire started is a piece of cake.


                    • #11
                      There is so much wood available right now, why carry what you can find?

                      And yes, prep is everything. A good fire starter n good technique, ask any Boy Scout.



                      • #12
                        Well we did bring wood from a nearby grocery store, however we never left the parking lot for the trailhead. Unfortunately as we were packing up our gear one of my friends suffered a massive grand mal seizure. Scariest experience of my life. Luckily the trail is very popular. We didn't have cell phone service and were unable to call 911. I flagged the nearest passing car and told them to drive to the first house to call 911. About 20 minutes later the first emergency vehicle showed up followed by an ambulance about 10 minutes later. My friend was ok. This is his second seizure in a year (I had no prior knowledge that he had ever suffered a seizure before). He was taken to Margaretville Hospital and after about 4 hours discharged. On the car ride home he was in good spirits. Hopefully after some neurological testing he can get the appropriate care he needs.

                        As for the Catskills, I am a big fan from what I have seen. Despite growing up in Westchester County, I spent most of my youth hiking in the Adirondacks and skiing in the Berkshires and Green Mountains. As an adult I have continued skiing and hiking in the same regions. However I will definitely be going back to the Catskills in the next few weeks with my Fiance.

                        Although a very scary incident I am very glad it happened at the trail head and not on Giant Ledge during the night. Who knows how long it would have taken to get him help up there. A real eye opener. Always be prepared for the worst.

                        I'll be sure to post a TR once I get back to the Catskills. Thanks again for all the recommendations.