Hunter Mountain Hiking in Catskills New York
I love exploring the great outdoors. However, with a hectic work schedule, unfortunately, long weekends and trips abroad were the only times that I’d get to escape. After focusing more on health and wellness this year, I stopped making excuses. The lack of time was no longer going to hold me back from pursuing the things I enjoyed. Since there are many state parks and nature trails in New England, I decided I would spend more time hiking, biking, and kayaking. To usher in spring, I joined a Hunter Mountain hiking trip with Discover Outdoors. Offering a variety of guided group tours, this hiking trip helped me get acquainted with the basics before daring to head out on my own.
Update May 2021: Discover Outdoors is now closed but you can still complete Hunter Mountain hiking trails like these on your own. This blog post was originally written in 2017.
Read Next: Best Vacation Spots on the East Coast
Exploring Hunter Mountain Hiking Trails
Heavily forested Hunter Mountain!
Picking the Perfect Hiking Trip
When searching for group hiking tours, I wanted to go on a local day trip that included round-trip transportation from New York City. I didn’t want to worry about gas, tolls, or traffic. I also wanted to go on a challenging hike, but I did not want to over-commit.
Small groups have more fun – photo by Discover Outdoors guide Michael Domanic!
Reaching 4,046-feet, Hunter Mountain is the Catskills’ second highest peak.
Ranked 6 out of 10 in intensity, this tour is perfect for:
- Experienced outdoor enthusiasts and hikers
- Intermediate hikers
- Fit adventurers
This 8.2-mile trail included steep ascends and stunning unobstructed views from a historic fire tower.
Surprisingly, the trail was covered in snow, sleet, and ice. Although the trail conditions were unexpected for April, pushing through those difficult moments made this hike memorable!
Read Next: Hiking Cleeve Hill in Cheltenham England
Hiking Hunter Mountain with Discover Outdoors included round-trip transportation, two phenomenal expert guides, and park permits. Our guides Michael and Alexis were knowledgeable, approachable, and friendly. We were in great hands – they were trained Wilderness First Responders.
The night before our trip, we received a friendly reminder email from our guides. It included important details about our trip like our guide’s contact information, weather conditions, a packing list, and departure times.
I can’t stress enough that waterproof hiking boots are a must! As I mentioned, we were slogging through inches of snow, small streams, and as a result, my feet were completely wet. This would have been a different story if I was wearing one of the best hiking boots for outdoor enthusiasts. Sadly, since I wasn’t, I ended up wearing sneakers which were less than ideal. Take it from me. Hiking with wet feet is not fun!
Heading To Hunter Mountain, New York
On the day of our trip, Discover Outdoors guide, Michael met us in the Upper West Side. There we checked in, boarded the shuttle, and drove to Hunter Mountain. It took about two hours to get to the Catskills with one pit stop.
As we drove closer to the trail, the scenery changed drastically. Leaving New York City’s skyscrapers behind, we drove past rolling hills, streams, farms, and ranches.
The weather was perfect for an early spring hike.
Early Spring in the Catskills
At the trailhead, we met our second guide, Alexis. After a safety briefing, it was time to get started.
Within a few minutes, we reached the beautiful Diamond Notch Falls. There we learned more about the trail and how to read topographic maps.
Afterward, we climbed uphill through the thick forest.
Since it snowed the night before, we trekked through snow and ice. MICROspikes helped with traction.
Benefits of Hiking With Expert Guides
There were many benefits to hiking with experienced guides.
Our guides skillfully tied rope knots to get us through sketchy patches of ice. Our guides also brought us to several hidden viewpoints.
A hidden viewpoint!
They even pointed out impressive finds like snakes, deer tracks, and bobcat scat which I missed!
Hunter Mountain hiking trails with Discover Outdoors was an incredible experience. The view from the top of the Hunter Mountain fire tower was the highlight of my trip!
Discover Outdoors reintroduced me to the great outdoors just in time for spring and summer. They also reminded me of just how much I love New York.
After the six-hour hike, our group stopped at Brio’s Pizzeria & Restaurant. Although service was slow, our small group enjoyed some grub and a well-deserved beer before heading back to the city. This was the perfect way to end our big adventure in the Catskills. I’d love to go waterfall rappelling next!
Interested in similar New York hikes, check out:
- Giant Ledge & Panther Mountain
- Slide Mountain
Want a challenge? Why not level up with:
- Blackhead Range
Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast, where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.
I just love the great outdoors! And so I love reading hiking posts. This looks like such a beautiful part of the world, thanks for sharing :)
This sounds like an awesome trip to a beautiful area! Have you been able to hike Mount Marcy or Slide Mountain as well?
I’ve recently heard of Slide Mountain but I’ve yet to visit. I have so much more discovering to do of the Adirondacks. Did you enjoy your hikes there?
I’ve never gone on an official guided hike before, but it must have been nice to have all transportation taken care of…and a ready-made group to hike with. Your photos are spectacular, especially the shot from the top of the fire tower!
Sounds like a beautiful hike and waterproof hiking boots are essential indeed. It is nothing worse getting soaked while hiking. I would definitely get an expert guide to not get lost and see the hidden viewpoints. ?
How fun!! I love hiking, too, but have never done a guided group trip. I do have to say I’m kinda jealous that you live in NYC and have such awesome trails and natural beauty nearby. I live in Chicago and we don’t have anything like that in the area.
I think I would love this! I really enjoy the idea behind a smaller guided hike tour. I’ve been trying to get a lot more active these days, so this hike sounds perfect. Natural beauty + new friends + working out = win! :)
Stunning views while working out in good company – hey, it’s gets no better than that!
I do not know there is such a beautiful place outside New York City, and the hiking through the thick forest with snow underneath is like walk through a winter wonderland. The view from the top of Hunter Mountain is so stunning. It is a great idea to do weekend getaways and even getting to know some parts of backyard is so much fun!
What a fun day hiking trip! I love that they only have small groups and the intensity level rating so you know what you are getting yourself into. I don’t have huge experience in hiking but I am moderately fit so I think that this would be a good one for me. Also it’s awesome that they pick you up in Manhattan. So convenient!
That looks awesome! It’s been a while since I did any hiking in snow, but it sounds like going with a guide for that was a great choice.
What a beautiful area to hike in. I have to say that I never thought of hiring a guide but it sounds like a lovely idea.
Hiring a guide for the first really helped with getting acquainted with the area and discovering more about the wildlife! I’d recommend it!
I’m impressed that this unspoiled area is so close to New York. It must have been tough with wet feet, poor you! The landscape looks beautiful in the snow
Wet feet were such a drag but I would do it all again for the view from the top of the fire tower!
Interesting. Love the photographs. Keep clicking!
Thanks so much Syam!