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Opinions on Black Dome Valley hike

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  • Opinions on Black Dome Valley hike

    For the next time I make it up to the Catskills, I am thinking of getting all 4 of the BDV 3500+ peaks as a snow-free day hike. Looking at the map, it seems there are at least two ways to go about it.
    1) Park at either Peck Road or Barnum Road and do a loop around the valley CW or CCW. This looks to be nearly 15 miles on the trails + an additional estimated 3.5 mile road walk.
    2) Park at Big Hollow, and then up the north side and out to Windham, then loop around the ridge to Blackhead, Black Dome and Thomas Cole, then trail on the south side of the valley back down to the parking area. Or the reverse of this going to Black Dome and Cole first and looping around the east to Blackhead and then Windham last. This looks like about 15.8 miles.

    The difference in mileage is irrelevant to me. If you can provide any thoughts about the pros and cons of each of the two approaches, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

    ADK 33/46
    CSK 8/35

  • #2
    You can also start at Peck, go around the valley to TC, and then find the newish DEP property between TC and the Camels Hump and return to Peck, It should save several miles of road walking. That road walk is not enjoyable.

    Comment


    • mudhook
      mudhook commented
      Editing a comment
      Go to the NYCDEP and look at their recreation maps.

    • Inko
      Inko commented
      Editing a comment
      I see what you are talking about on the map from the DEC website. Looks like that map is dated 11/2017 and shows two parcels, one a bit more north than the other and that northern one being closer to Peck Rd. Are you aware of any marked trails or herd paths leading down to these properties and through them, or would it entail some route finding and a bushwack?

    • mudhook
      mudhook commented
      Editing a comment
      Bushwack to Charbineau Rd.

  • #3
    If you do the 3 Blackheads, it's about 8 miles. WHP by itself is about 6 miles. So...
    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!

    Comment


    • Inko
      Inko commented
      Editing a comment
      I think I see your point, Tom. Taking the 3 and the 1 individually (i.e. Moving car to other trailhead) allows for a shorter total mileage. Option 3 we can call it.

  • #4
    We've done your option 1 hike many times in both directions, but always with a car-spot. It's one of our favorite hikes. If you are solo, I like mudhook's suggestion. But then again, we love bushwhacking! Haven't actually done the DEP route yet so looking forward to trying it. :-)

    Comment


    • Inko
      Inko commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the input! Yes, the full loop around the valley does look like it would be a nice day. I was up that way back in mid June with my daughter and we did a loop of Slide, Cornell and Wittenburg CCW from the Slide Mountain TH. The hike down into Woodland Valley and then right back up the other side was a bit grueling, as it was a hot and humid day. Unfortunately, despite my powers of persuasion I was unable to convince her to take a 'quick' walk over to Panther since we were already right there. So that one will be left for another day.

    • bikerhiker
      bikerhiker commented
      Editing a comment
      I also did that loop earlier this summer, and went clockwise from woodland valley, and my primary memory is from the west side of woodland valley also, my direction i got to that seemingly vertical rock staircase not far from woodland valley that goes up around the private property line, and looking straight up the fall line with already sore legs kicking myself for not looking at the topo more closely, not realizing i had that all the way at the end of my hike. That road walk between Giant Ledge and Slide PA's wasnt fun either. I imagine the loop for WHP/BH/BD/TC would be much more enjoyable with so much less roadwalk. Plus, the stretch of trail between TC over the BH, and the escarpment from BH around to WHP, is definitely one of my favorite sections of trail in the cats.

  • #5
    I started at Peck Rd and had a bike spotted at the end of Big Hollow. Nice easy cruise back to the base of Peck...I may have ended up walking the last few feet to my car. Probably a pretty similar trip if you spot a bike at Barnum. Any way you slice it, the ridge from WHP to Blackhead is one of my favorite sections of trail, enjoy!

    Comment


    • Inko
      Inko commented
      Editing a comment
      The bike idea crossed my mind but I upgraded my mountain bike a few years ago and I would not feel comfortable stashing it in the woods.

      Looking forward to this hike!

  • #6
    This horseshoe, or D-shaped or whathaveyou, hike is on my list next for the cats, WHP/BH/BD/TC using the two nearby DEP parcels on either side of the road between Peck Rd and the lot on the end. While i havent done the whack from the rd to TC, i did do half the horseshoe last year, starting at big hollow with a short whack up to acra point then around to WHP, with a whack south down the DEP parcel (with slight southeast jag onto state land just prior to the road), and road walk back to the lot on the end. That DEP parcel south of WHP was mostly nice woods with a drainage and marked DEP border as a great cheat handrail right down to the road/private property/state land area. Trip report. https://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/...-pa-09-29-2019.
    I have done both the north and south half stretches of trail in this horseshoe at least once or twice each, and love those sections of trail in any season, but if i remember right it was pretty dry in terms of water filter spots unless you dropped off the trail aways to the different springs.

    For comparison of this loop I just replotted this course on my route planner using the two DEP parcels. When i did the Burroughs Range loop this summer with slide/corn/witt/giant ledge area the mileage and elevation was recorded roughly at 15.8 miles and 4900 ft. This route with WHP and the blackheads is just over 11.5 miles, and unfortunately the route planner's elevation feature hasnt been working, but i would guess this loop's ele gain is less than that of the Burroughs loop's.
    "...don't assume you can't do it...we all make mistakes and sometimes fail. Keep working and learning, and be committed to improving fitness, and there is no limit to what you can do." Joe Bogardus
    "I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all." Ernest Shackleton

    Comment


    • #7
      I've hiked those four in a day many times. Personally I most enjoy hiking Black Dome, Black Head, and Thomas Cole first, returning to my car, driving to Peck Rd, and then hiking Windham. It seems like this would take longer but for me at least it is much quicker (and more enjoyable since there is no road walking). However, the section of trail between Windham and Black Head is quite enjoyable and if you haven't been on it before it may be worthwhile tolerating the road walking at the end.
      To Go and to See
      Is to Know and to Be

      Comment


      • #8
        I've hiked this group of peaks a few times as well, including the road walk from Barnum to Peck at least twice and honestly didn't think it was that bad. But I lived in NYC for 35 years and was used to "road" walks of several miles. IIRC, it took around an hour and was totally worth it to get to enjoy the trail between Windham and Blackhead. But now I'd like to revisit and check out the newly acquired land.
        We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

        Comment


        • Inko
          Inko commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, I don't really mind the road walks either. It gives one a good opportunity to see the assortments of interesting items some people store out on their front porches! Not sure now if i'll be able to get up to do this hike this year, trying, but may not happen until next spring/summer.

      • #9
        Just hiked the loop on sunday morning with posted trip report.
        i parked in the roadside field at the DEP parcel between Peck Rd and the end lot, and was only 5 mins road walk to the DEP parcel leading up to Thomas Cole.
        As Eleventhgear said, it would probably be quicker overall to summit the 4 35er peaks by parking at the two different lots separating the BH's and WHP, but from one parking spot this a great valley rim hike with fun shwacks.
        "...don't assume you can't do it...we all make mistakes and sometimes fail. Keep working and learning, and be committed to improving fitness, and there is no limit to what you can do." Joe Bogardus
        "I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all." Ernest Shackleton

        Comment

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