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.
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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!
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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 is a financially savvy traveler, 5x author, and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast here.