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Wittenberg / Cornell Only Accessible Starting in April?

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  • Wittenberg / Cornell Only Accessible Starting in April?

    I read on All Trails that Wittenberg / Cornell is only accessible from April to October. Not sure if they were talking about the Woodland Valley parking lot or what. I am driving in from Michigan and would like to tackle this hike the final week of March. Any insight about the accessibility of the parking lot or trails would be appreciated.

    And a second question: Is there a trail connecting the Cornell Mountain peak to Slide Mountain? Anybody have any experience on it? Thanks!

  • #2
    I've never hiked from that direction but I'm guessing they are talking about Woodland Valley. The campground is closed in the off season but I've never heard of anyone having any trouble parking there when it is closed.

    Yes, there is a trail between Cornell and Slide Mountain. It's pretty straightforward, nothing as tricky as the Cornell Crack that is between Cornell and Wittenburg. BTW, the full Burroughs Range can be done as a 15 mile loop with 4,000 feet of elevation gain (roughly). It does involve some road walking to connect the points along the loop, though.

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    • #3
      Awesome, thanks for those deets.

      I am planning on parking in Woodland Valley and doing Wittenberg - Cornell - Slide on Day 1, camping on the descent down Slide, and tackling Panther Mountain / Giant Ledge on Day 2 before looping back to the parking lot.

      Essentially this loop: http://www.phattire.net/blog/2010/map-1.jpg

      I was wondering whether that's realistic for two days, or whether allocating a third day would make more sense.

      (EDIT: I am 26, in good, but not great physical shape. I run/workout once or twice a week. Last year, I hiked Indian Head & Twin Mtn. without too much of a problem)

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      • #4
        The parking and trail is open year round. Once the state Campground opens there is a $ fee to park, but the trail remains free. The parking fee is called a day use permit, so if you want to use the facilities like shower or bathroom, you can. There is also water available if you are doing the loop and starting elsewhere. This is the same set up as Notch Lake, but there is no shower. You need to go to the campground office to obtain the pass. Always ask for a receipt if not offered especially if someone in an official looking car comes while you are in the parking lot demanding money.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by biles1234 View Post
          Awesome, thanks for those deets.

          I am planning on parking in Woodland Valley and doing Wittenberg - Cornell - Slide on Day 1, camping on the descent down Slide, and tackling Panther Mountain / Giant Ledge on Day 2 before looping back to the parking lot.

          Essentially this loop: http://www.phattire.net/blog/2010/map-1.jpg

          I was wondering whether that's realistic for two days, or whether allocating a third day would make more sense.

          (EDIT: I am 26, in good, but not great physical shape. I run/workout once or twice a week. Last year, I hiked Indian Head & Twin Mtn. without too much of a problem)
          Welcome to the Forum, biles1234 !

          The terrain and elevation gain/loss will be similar to Indian Head and Twin, but each day of the W-C-S hike will probably be longer mileage, and I assume you'll be carrying a pack with overnight camping gear, so it's likely your pack will weigh more than if you did a day hike of IH &T (though my overnight gear isn't very heavy, so I don't automatically assume that an overnight pack means a "heavy" pack). Depending on factors such as fitness level, ability to handle somewhat rugged terrain, pack weight, etc. I think your planned trip is very realistic. I've done this route as both a day hike and backpack trip (including the side trip to Panther), and I'd classify it as fairly challenging, but still very doable.

          I'd bring at least microspikes for traction, as the Catskills have been very, very icy this year and it might not yet be gone by the end of March.

          A few hints: When on the road walk (Route 47) between the Slide parking area and the trail to Giant Ledge, take the easement trail just past Winnisook Lake so that you don't lose as much elevation (note the dotted line near the 2750' contour on the map). There will be a gate on your right with a sign, IIRC, that says something like "stay on path" This unmarked path can be muddy, but it will lead you right to the junction of the Phoenicia East (yellow) trail and the blue trail to GL & Panther.

          Be mentally prepared for the steep elevation gain and rock steps near the very end of the loop on day 2 (after you cross the stream near the private property border), when you'd expect everything to be all downhill. Not to worry, it will eventually go downhill as you're approaching Woodland Valley.

          I would DEFINITELY recommend buying the full map set that is the source of the map image found at your link. The NY-NJ Trail Conference sells the Catskills map set online, and they are also available in the Catskills area at places like Kenco's in Kingston, NY. There is a lot of valuable information found on both the front and back sides of the maps, and the Trail Conference is an organization worth supporting.

          Enjoy!
          We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

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          • #6
            Thank ya for the useful tidbits, mudhook and debmonster! I would have definitely kept going down Route 47 like some dingus if you didn't alert me about the easement trail, so much props for that. I'll be sure to pick up a Trail Conference map on the way to the peaks!

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            • #7
              I did a similar trip a couple of years ago. This report might be useful.

              http://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/f...ight-5-18-5-20

              If you have any questions about the trip let me know. I remember it well and have been back to that area since. Its a great hike and be prepared for what debmonster said about the gain and steps at the end before descending back to Woodland Valley. I hit that part and was like - WHAT is this? I'm tired

              Have fun - I wish you good views on The Witt and Cornell - I had none.

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              • #8
                Did you say you were planning on camping off the back side of Slide if you are going the Cornell-Witt-Slide route? I wouldn't recommend that. There are great primitive spots in the Col between Witt and Slide that are far better. The backside of Slide is really just a straight shot down the whole way with a pretty steady elevation drop the whole way. You would have to basically come completely off slide to find a viable campsite. The sites between Witt and Slide are amazing and highly recommended.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rzaberto View Post
                  Did you say you were planning on camping off the back side of Slide if you are going the Cornell-Witt-Slide route? I wouldn't recommend that. There are great primitive spots in the Col between Witt and Slide that are far better. The backside of Slide is really just a straight shot down the whole way with a pretty steady elevation drop the whole way. You would have to basically come completely off slide to find a viable campsite. The sites between Witt and Slide are amazing and highly recommended.
                  There is a designated tent site on the trail up Slide from the west, mid-way up the mountain. You can see it on the map posted by Biles1234 above.

                  If my memory is correct, there is also a designated site near the Curtis Monument, at the junction between the Phoenecia-East Branch and Curtis-Ormsbee Trails. It'd require you to hike out of your way when doing the loop, but the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail offers some nice views.

                  So there are some options for camping west of Slide Mountain. I would agree that the sites between Cornell and Slide may be a better option, though- there's 5 or 6 of them, so there is less worry about arriving late in the day to find the tent site you planned to stay at full with no other options nearby. And I think those sites have closer water sources as well.

                  EDIT:

                  Here is a photo of the designated site that is partway up the west side of Slide Mountain:




                  And a photo of the designated site at the lower end of the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail:

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                  • #10
                    Good to know. Man this forum is full of excellent resources. Keep up the good work!

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                    • #11
                      I camped at the site in the first photo of DSettahr post above. It was a nice site, and fairly large, but I agree the sites in the col of Slide and Cornell were nicer IMO. I stopped there for lunch but wanted to keep hiking due to the timing of my trip so I didn't camp there. But the designated site on the west side of Slide is definitely an option. I don't recall a water source...I had filled up at the spring on the east side of Slide heading up a little before the summit...if I recall correctly.

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                      • #12
                        Good to know there are some options for camping. I think me and my bud will probably camp between Slide & Cornell, but if we're making awesome time, it might be worth to descend Slide to get it out of the way for Day 2.

                        A bit of newbie question, but I was planning on bringing along two quart-sized Nalgene bottles full of water and filling them up at the water sources on the mountain as needed. Should I bring a filter for this or is it not necessary?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by biles1234 View Post
                          A bit of newbie question, but I was planning on bringing along two quart-sized Nalgene bottles full of water and filling them up at the water sources on the mountain as needed. Should I bring a filter for this or is it not necessary?
                          I would probably still plan to filter the water, especially since all of those water sources are located close to the trail. Human waste is the primary source of water borne illness in the backcountry, and you can never guarantee that someone hasn't taken a nice big dump 20 feet above any of the water sources. (In fact, since people tend to camp near water sources, or stop to take breaks at them, it seems like a lot of springs and other water sources are frustratingly common places to find unburied human waste in close proximity. If you poke around Indian Falls on the VanHoevenburg Trail up Mt. Marcy in the summer, the woods look like one big toilet with piles of crap and toilet paper everywhere.)

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                          • #14
                            The spring off the trail on the way up slide is fantastic, but you still need to purify the water for sure.

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                            • #15
                              I always drink water from spring pipes in the Catskills w/o filtering. Never gotten sick in 17 years.
                              Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

                              Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
                              Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
                              Past President Catskill 3500 Club
                              CEO Views And Brews!

                              Trail maintainer for the Dry Brook Ridge trail from Mill Brook Road to just past the Lean-to

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