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Old 04-11-2012, 01:44 PM   #1
mrsmileyns
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Devil's Path or Escarpment

I am looking at doing a 3 day, 2 night backpack. For a while I had my heart set on doing the Devil's path end to end. I did 2 peaks of it the other day and I have little doubt I am phsically capable - I am in good shape and ready to go It seems like a cool challenge and a great hike.

But then I read about the Escarpment trail and that sounds cool too. I suppose asking which one is better is a stupid question but I guess which one is harder? How do they differ? Maybe I should just do both sometime this season

Or perhaps someone can recommend an alternate 3 day, 2 night challenging hike for me. I am moderately experienced and am looking to stay on trail at this point. Not ready for trail less peaks yet.

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks a lot.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsmileyns View Post
I am looking at doing a 3 day, 2 night backpack. For a while I had my heart set on doing the Devil's path end to end. I did 2 peaks of it the other day and I have little doubt I am phsically capable - I am in good shape and ready to go It seems like a cool challenge and a great hike.

But then I read about the Escarpment trail and that sounds cool too. I suppose asking which one is better is a stupid question but I guess which one is harder? How do they differ? Maybe I should just do both sometime this season

Or perhaps someone can recommend an alternate 3 day, 2 night challenging hike for me. I am moderately experienced and am looking to stay on trail at this point. Not ready for trail less peaks yet.

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks a lot.
The DP has more elevation gain for sure. They can both be done in a day, but feel free to take your time! If as you say, you are in good shape, maybe a 1 night trip would be a better plan. The Devil's acre leanto or the Mink Hollow leanto would make good places to stay. There is also the Diamond Notch leanto a little off the DP.

Other longish hike that is on trail is the Dry Brook Ridge traverse, starting in Margaretville. You can stop at the PA on Mill Brook Rd., or continue up and over Balsam Lake Mountain all the way to Claryville if you so desire. There are at least 2 leantos along the way.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:12 PM   #3
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Done them both as backpacks and day hikes...Big fun either way...
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:14 PM   #4
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Other alternatives could be the LP, from Peekamoose Road to whatever (this would include the Escarpment trail).

You could probably spend a whole day in and around North/South lake exploring the area along the Escarpment trail... and the surroundings as well..

Of course, you can also extend the DP by doing KHP or even combine the DP with the escarpment if you want to really move and do less sightseeing..

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Old 04-11-2012, 03:30 PM   #5
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Another nice backpack--w/ a car spot is Barnum Rd to Meades(Overlook) 2 or 3 days
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:21 PM   #6
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The Devil's Path is more rigorous, but it also has more views, and better camping opportunities along the way.

The Escarpment Trail, though, gets less use, so you'll find a lot more solitude along that trail.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:16 PM   #7
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I'll say Escarpment Trail. You "earn" less 35'R peaks that way, but it's an interesting and varied trail, and the remote sections of that trail get much less business than the DP, if you want more peace and quiet.

If you're looking for a marathon hike, though, there are lots of trails you could string together. For instance, spot a car at Margaretsville, start hiking at Alder Lake and climb the long way to BLM and then do the Dry Brook Ridge.
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Old 04-12-2012, 11:00 AM   #8
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I like the Escarpment, myself.

Maybe just because I like to say the word <escarpment>. I like to say the French term even more: <falaise>.

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Old 04-12-2012, 05:59 PM   #9
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Another option for a marathon hike that sees little use though not in the Catskills is the Taconic Crest Trail.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:37 PM   #10
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thanks everyone for all the input and suggestions - totally diggin' this forum great community
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
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I suppose asking which one is better is a stupid question but I guess which one is harder? How do they differ? Maybe I should just do both sometime this season
Devil's Path is definitely more challenging, but still very doable even as a 2-day backpack trip, especially if you hike in on Fri. night to camp at the Devil's Kitchen lean-to and start early the next day. But the Escarpment Trail is absolutely beautiful and definitely worth it as well. So yes, you should do both

Quote:
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Or perhaps someone can recommend an alternate 3 day, 2 night challenging hike for me. I am moderately experienced and am looking to stay on trail at this point. Not ready for trail less peaks yet.
Another fun route that you could do as either an overnight or 2-night, 3-day trip is Panther to Peekamoose (Panther, Giant Ledge, Wittenberg, Cornell, Slide, Table and Peek).

Enjoy!
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:06 AM   #12
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Hello... New on here. Awesome forum, very useful. Did not want to start a new thread, but I plan on hiking the Escarpment Trail from south to north as my first backpack trip of the year. Can anyone advise me on good camp locations? 3 days 2 nights trip. Thanks.
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:05 AM   #13
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Hello... New on here. Awesome forum, very useful. Did not want to start a new thread, but I plan on hiking the Escarpment Trail from south to north as my first backpack trip of the year. Can anyone advise me on good camp locations? 3 days 2 nights trip. Thanks.
Your options for the first night could be somewhat limited- there's only one designated campsite near the southern part of the Escarpment Trail, at Palenville Overlook. This campsite isn't ideal, as it appears to be 2.5 miles off of the trail, and there doesn't appear to be any water sources nearby.

Best bet for your first night is probably to primitive camp- find a spot 150 feet off the trail and away from any water. Be aware that you'll likely encounter fire rings along the trail showing where others have camped in the past- these may not be legal sites. Please also refrain from camping on the summits of any peaks (like North Mountain or Stoppel Point), as the ecosystems there tend to be slightly more fragile and aren't as resistant to camping impacts.

For the second night, you best bet would be either the Batavia Kill lean-to or tent site- located north of Blackhead Mountain, located a short ways off of the Escarpment Trail down the Batavia Kill Trail. The lean-to is old and is starting to show it's age, but it's still sound and a decent spot to camp. The lean-to is fairly popular, so if it's taken, please don't set up tents next to the lean-to (there are numerous signs at the lean-to warning backpackers against doing this), but rather use the designated tent site which is uphill of the lean-to (coming from uphill, you'll likely spot the path to the tent site before you see the lean-to). The tent site is a pretty decent spot, and doesn't seem to get nearly the same amount of use as the lean-to does.

If you're super ambitious, you could go all the way to the Elm Ridge lean-to, west of Westkill. This is a nice lean-to that doesn't seem to get nearly the same amount of use as the Batavia Kill Lean-to. Water availability could be an issue at this lean-to, though- if you head down the Elm Ridge trail a short distance, you may be able to find a trickle somewhere in the rocks.

I'd also recommend, if you have time and energy to do so, heading out to Black Dome and Thomas Cole Mountains from Blackhead- well worth the side trip!

Feel free to look through any of the photo galleries from my trips in the area for inspiration:

Stoppel Point (2011)
Blackhead Mountain (2011)
Windham High Peak (2010)
Acra Point (2010)
Thomas Cole and Black Dome (2008)
Windham High Peak (2008)

Last edited by DSettahr; 04-15-2012 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:05 PM   #14
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Thank you for the fast response. First night I will camp somewhere in between Stoppel Point and Dutcher Notch. Second day will hike to Blackhead Mtn drop pack and bag Thomas Cole like you recommended. Will stay at Batavia Kill lean-to for the night. I appreciate the info. Thanks again!
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:18 PM   #15
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Thank you for the fast response. First night I will camp somewhere in between Stoppel Point and Dutcher Notch. Second day will hike to Blackhead Mtn drop pack and bag Thomas Cole like you recommended. Will stay at Batavia Kill lean-to for the night. I appreciate the info. Thanks again!
If you head about a quarter mile down the Dutcher Notch trail towards Storks Nest Road, there is a pretty reliable spring. Many hikers traversing the Escarpment Trail fill up on water here.

Also- if you are willing to put in a little extra distance your first day, there is a campsite in a clearing about a mile down the Colgate Lake trail. Where the trail makes a sudden left turn off of the old road bed, there will be a pretty prominent field on your right (it appears to be an old orchard). In the middle of the field is a decent campsite, and there's plenty of water nearby in the East Kill. When I was there this fall, I paced it out, and it's just about exactly 150 feet from the trail, so I think you'd be ok camping there. Some nice views of the Blackhead Range and Stoppel Point from the clearing as well.

View from the old orchard:

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Old 04-15-2012, 01:19 PM   #16
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Thank you all your input, has helped me plan my intinerary. Plan on going 1st of May. Hope to have some solitude since it's during the week. Thanks again.
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:10 PM   #17
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You have to watch the weather on that Stork's Nest spring. The weather has been really dry, so I can't guarantee that its running right now even.
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