Rocky Mountain is a
3508’ 3487′ peak (update 2018: Rocky’s elevation has been downgraded to 3487′) in the Catskills Bushwhack Range in the Slide Mountain Wilderness. Geographically it can be considered as a part of the Peekamoose Mountain Range. However, local hikers have deemed the range the Bushwhack Range to be referred to on this site. The peak is a required climb for the Catskill 3500 Club. Over the past couple of decades, the undergrowth of spruce has matured, making navigating your way to the summit easier. Owed to Tropical storm Irene, there are nice views from near its summit. Rocky is often done with Lone.
Rocky Mountain Specs
Trailhead to Fisherman’s Path
You begin your hike at the remote Denning Trailhead. It has a large dirt parking area that can accommodate many vehicles. So parking is generally not an issue.
At the NE end of the lot is the large kiosk and trail register; please sign in, and here’s why. You take the yellow-blazed Phonecia East Branch Trail 1.2-miles to the junction with the blue-blazed Peekamoose-Table Trail from the register.
From the junction turning right (ESE), you’ll make a quick 125’ descent through some rocky terrain toward the Neversink Valley floor, which is reached in 0.20-miles.
The trail will cross several bridges and undulate as it heads toward the herd path.
You’ll reach the Fisherman’s Path at 0.31-miles from the junction and 1.51-miles from the parking area.
There is a designated campsite off to the right near this junction.
Fisherman’s Path to Bushwhack Point
Taking the unmaintained Fisherman’s Path, it will be well-worn at times then seem to “run-out,” take your time; the path is always there, sometimes obscured by thicker vegetation.
The path will generally follow the East Branch of the Neversink River. However, it will swing away and climb above it at times.
After about 0.77-miles (2.28-miles from the PA), you’ll cross a large tributary draining Table and Lone mountains north face from the junction. This is Donovan Brook. By this point, the path has already moved away from the East Branch. After the Donovan Brook, in another 0.25-miles, the path will meet up with the East Branch again.
The path will remain close to the stream from here on out and will cross it several times. The stream is magnificent and wild!
Along the way, you’ll reach a wonderful beaver dam with extensive cutting. Take some time to explore this area. Be careful; the points on the cut trees can be dangerous if one would fall.
You’ll continue on the Fisherman’s path, passing some possible campsites. Please remember that one must camp at least 150’ away from water unless at a designated site.
The stream’s beauty is in part due to its power as you’ll find downed and uprooted trees from flooding.
Along the way, the stream is full of swim holes and cascades. One can imagine the feel of a dip in ice-cold mountain water on a hot summer day.
At 2.6-miles from the junction (4.1-miles from the PA), you will reach another large tributary. It will have a small open area, maybe with a campfire ring near it; if you’re unsure if it’s the correct stream, walk 100 years or so, and you’ll find another large stream entering the East Branch.
Between these two streams is your bushwhack point up Rocky.
Bushwhack to Rocky’s Summit
The hike up the broad ridge of Rocky is generally SE. You may want to pick a point past the first stream where the grade is less steep. On the hill, you’ll find small rocky outcrops. Just below the summit cone, you may want to jog right to avoid some steep terrain or not!
From the Fisherman’s Path, it is about 0.7-miles to the summit (4.8-miles from the PA). Don’t forget to sign the summit log!
The summit proper has no view but heading SE, one will find an area of blowdown which has opened vistas east to southeast. You’ll be able to see Balsam Cap and its prominent southern ridge and Ashokan High Point.
Extending your trip
From the summit you can retrace your steps and enjoy the river again, something worth doing on hot days!
Having said that, it is common for hikers to head to Lone and then descend and return to the trailhead. One can head to Lone, then cross the col to Table. One may also attempt Balsam Cap from Rocky, but you’ll meet significant cliffs on the way. Many hikers opt to climb Balsam Cap and Friday together.
|Slide Mountain Wilderness|
|Contact Information:||DEC Region 3 New Paltz Office:
phone (845) 256-3000 (M-F 8:30AM - 4:30PM), email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Law Enforcement, Emergency & Ranger: 518-408-5850 or dial 911
|Location:||Towns of Shandaken, Denning and Olive in Ulster County|
|Map:||Slide Mountain Wilderness Map|
|Amenities:||Food, gas, and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Phoenicia and Boiceville.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Boiceville, Mount Tremper, Phoenicia and Shandaken.
Lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Mount Tremper, Oliverea, Phoenicia, Shandaken.
|Weather:||Slide Mountain Weather|
|Cell Service:||Never count on your cell phone for rescue. Cell service in the Slide Mountain Wilderness is sparse and one may have problems gaining a signal.|
Rocky Mountain Hiking Map
Click map or here for an interactive version of the map
Backwoods wanderer with a passion for backpacking, hiking, kayaking, and exploring the wilds of the Catskills and Adirondacks in New York. A Catskill 3500 Club Member and Adirondack Forty-Sixer. Climbed Mount Rainier. Professionally an Exercise Physiologist.