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  • Catskill Firetowers

    I found out unexpectadly that I will be off work this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Decided that this may be the best window of opportunity to knock off the 5 Catskill firetowers required for the ADK Firetower challenge. I feel a bit silly asking because I always do my research and enjoy it as well but with less than a week to go I just don't have the time for the extensive research I would typically do.

    To be short and sweet....

    Ideas on a somewhat central free tent site?

    Possible order of attack for the 5 mountains. Hunter, Tremper, Red Hill, Overlook and Balsam Lake. Fastest, shortest, most scenic routes?

    Is it friendly enough to leave nice camping gear unattended for the day? I probably wouldnt leave any anyway because I'm a freak but better safe than sorry and definetly still good to know.

    Dog issues? Always feel like I'm hearing some story about angry Catskill dogs that control most of the counties

    I've never hiked in the Catskill area. The only thing I know in that area-ish is the Alcove Resevoir.

    Any and all responses appreciated

  • #2
    Can't really comment on the tent question, but I can certainly talk fire towers!

    1) are you on FB? there's a really great Fire Tower Challenge page, and in the group files, there are suggested groupings and the driving distances between the trailheads.
    2) At this point, the snakes are still sleeping, but Overlook and Tremper have a resident rattler population
    3) You can do them all in a day, if you are crazy, but for the first visit, I suggest you don't so that you could enjoy the scenary
    4) BLM has 3 approaches but one is super long from Alder Lake (15 RT?) and the Beaverkill Rd approach is a seasonal road. Thus, the Drybrook is the best option. It is also one of the highest trailheads, and the road follows the old jeep road. It is very picturesque and you will have nice views with no leafs.
    5) Red Hill has one approach and usually best combined with BLM. it is at least 1:15 hours of driving between the trailheads. You probably won't be able to make it to the trailhead, so park near the snowplow turnaround. I think this will add a modest elevation gain on your way out and perhaps an additional 0.4 miles (at most) each way. Either way, it is the easiest and shortest peak out of them all.
    6) Hunter has many approaches. Becker Hollow is my favorite and the most steep and the shortest. You will most definitely need traction for that. Approach form Spruceton is the longest but the easiest. Very gradual elevation gain and the road is free of ice (was there on Sun). A bonus! A most wonderful brewery is just a few miles down the road (note that they will be closed on weekdays). If you do Hunter from Rt 214 (either DP or Becker Hollow), you can easily combine it with either Tremper or Overlook
    7) Tremper has 2 approaches. Willow is very scenic and less elevation gain. The one from Phoenicia follows the jeep road and even though the summit is just over 2400', the gain for the hike is 2K! Tremper is best combined with Overlook - a very short drive between the THs.
    8) Overlook is a tourist zoo but has really neat hotel ruins near the top. You are best off visiting it on a weekday, and late afternoon is probably the best. It is the 2nd easiest after Red Hill.

    beware that the cell reception is spotty, the roads can be confusing (especially near red hill), so bring a map for the roads!

    Brio's is right next to Tremper and is a great place to grab a dinner after a hike.
    46/46 as of August 1st, 2014!

    Comment


    • YanaLG
      YanaLG commented
      Editing a comment
      all of the roads are very much derivable, apart from the last bit to get to Red Hill, as I mentioned earlier. End of Spruceton road is not paved well but it just means the dirt on your car (it is very smooth). All other trailheads (that are currently accessible) are off good roads. I also forgot to mention that the Drybrook access to BLM has a parking lot on the opposite side of the road where the trailhead is. if you start hiking behind the parking lot, you will get to explore the Drybrook range, which is a beautiful hike, but no tower there

    • FoulHooked
      FoulHooked commented
      Editing a comment
      If any, I think the road to red hill is the only one with potential to be sketchy, but we did it in a front wheel drive car without any issues.

    • salt
      salt commented
      Editing a comment
      Alright then. Thats all I needed to hear. YanaLG and FoulHooked thanks so much!

  • #3
    there is free camping in alabeen, between Phonecia and Pine Hill. Several spots off Rt 28. That's about as central a spot you will find. Right across from Copper Fox or something spa.

    Comment


    • salt
      salt commented
      Editing a comment
      Blowdown Gang Thank you very much. Sounds like exactly what I'm looking for

    • Blowdown Gang
      Blowdown Gang commented
      Editing a comment
      One more thing to add - - there is a homeowner nearby that sometimes lets his 2 medium sized dogs run around the area. They are friendly, but one will bark at you. They ran up to me a few weeks ago and scared me a bit at first, but despite the one's barking, their tails were wagging. Just an FYI. (PS - I had considered contacting a DEC ranger to report the problem, but I go there very infrequently so it may have been an isolated incident.)

    • salt
      salt commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the extra tip Blowdown Gang. Def good to know.Thanks again

  • #4
    Originally posted by mudhook View Post
    there is free camping in alabeen, between Phonecia and Pine Hill. Several spots off Rt 28. That's about as central a spot you will find. Right across from Copper Fox or something spa.
    I realize that this post might be too late to help, but I'd highly recommend buying the NY NJ Trail Conference Maps for the Catskills if you haven't yet.

    Also, in my post on this other thread, there is a hyperlink to a Google Maps view of the camping area on Route 28 that Mudhook mentioned. Good luck and have fun!
    We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

    Comment


    • salt
      salt commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey debmonster thanks for the reply. I hate to be cheap but I cant justify spending the cash for one outing. I have Gaia GPS with the Catskill park downloaded for offline use. I really have no desire or plan on tackling any of the catskills after this. If they werent part of the challenge I would never set foot in the Catskills. Just not my cup of tea. Thanks for the response and def not too late. This rainy weather may actually keep me away from getting it. We'll see.

    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      NYNJTC maps are the best maps. I agree w Debmonster. The Catskills 6 map set is like $16 bucks or something. Worth it. My advice to you is to not rule out the Catskills so fast, as a destination you would never go to. The Catskills can be a beautiful, worthy hiking area that is somewhat different than ADKs, yet very rewarding. I think it would be foolish to say I'll never go there or it's not my cup of tea. Just bc you're focused on the ADK 46 or fire tower challenge doesn't mean one day you won't be meandering down to the Catskills. I think it'd be your loss if you never did. Catskills can be a magical place in different seasons. No offense meant by this post. Just my advice/ opinion. Take it or leave it. Good luck
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