Great Hikes: Wittenberg and Cornell Mountains, Catskill SP

One trail, two peaks, 100 miles outside NYC
Staff Writer

The view from the top of Wittenberg Mountain.

A mere 100 miles outside of the Big Apple lies one of the favorite getaways for city folk. The Catskill Mountain area not only provides a nice reprieve from city life, but is a haven for artists, musicians and writers, especially around the town of Woodstock.

The hike to the Wittenberg and Cornell peaks can be very busy, but the gorgeous views of rolling hills and the Ashokan Reservoir from the top of Wittenberg Mountain—even more beautiful with fall foliage–is worth the crowds.

On the way to the top of Cornell, you will also pass the V-shaped Cornell Crack. Throw off your pack and take some time to boulder this unique rock formation. When you’re done, finish the hike (only 400 more feet) to the summit.

If you want to avoid the crowds, you can do the hike in winter. Be warned, however, that the level of difficulty goes way up, and you’ll often need mountaineering skills, an ice axe, snowshoes and crampons.

Make sure to bring cash to pay for your spot in the DEC parking lot at the Woodland Valley campground.

Distance:  8.85 miles RT
Elevation Change:  2,514 feet
Difficulty Rating:  Difficult
Duration: 7 hoursBest Time to Go: Fall, spring and summer

How to get there: The largest nearby airports are in Albany, Hartford and New York City. Rent a car and head toward  the Slide Mountain Wilderness in New York's Catskill State Park. The trail is located just off of the DEC Woodland Valley Parking Lot.

For more information about this hike, visit the Catskill State Park website or 

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