Jimmy Dolan Notch Trail with blue marker

Best Hikes: Twin Mountain on the Catskill’s Devil’s Path

Twin Mountain is a peak contained in the eastern section of Devil’s Path Range in the Indian Head Wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. Twin, as it’s named, would indicate it has two summits. The peak can be hiked as a day hike or as part of a longer more strenuous backpacking trip on Devil’s Path. It offers some of the best views in the region.

With multiple ways to access Twin, you will find exciting features no matter how you ascend. If you don’t mind a 2.5-mile road walk, you can hike a good loop (see map at bottom of page).

Trailhead to Jimmy Dolan Notch

This hike will be described as an out and back from the trailhead off Prediger Road which is about a 6.3-mile round trip. The parking area has been relocated away from the end of the road and is now tucked in the woods. There is ample parking but the “driveway” from the road is narrow.

You will find a register and kiosk at the south end of the parking area. Please sign-in, you are going into a rugged territory and here’s why you should. The trail leaves on Devil’s Path following red markers. At about .04 miles you will reach the junction with the Jimmy Dolan Notch trail. You’ll be taking this trail to the notch which leaves you between Indian Head and Twin Mountains.

Chris at junction with Jimmy Dolan Notch trail hiking Twin Mountain
Chris at junction with Jimmy Dolan Notch trail hiking Twin Mountain

The Jimmy Dolan Notch trail will begin on the level but will get progressively steeper as you turn southward toward the notch. The trail will make a few turns on the ascent so keep trail markers in sight.

Jimmy Dolan Notch Trail with blue marker
Jimmy Dolan Notch Trail with blue marker with Chris ahead

On one hike we found a lone hiker “lost” and wondering looking for the trail. When the leaves are down, as you gain elevation stop and take in the views. At 1.6 miles (2 miles from trailhead) from the junction, you will reach the high notch (3,100′ +).

View from Jimmy Dolan Notch

I’ve had a few people say they could not find the view “at the notch”. The view is found via a path leading south and losing a bit of elevation. It can be quite rough, especially as you get closer to the view. When icy or wet watch your footing.

Chris navigating some rock before the view in the notch
Chris navigating some rock before the view in the notch

Having said that, this is a good view and wonderful place to sit with its southern exposure. Even though the sometimes busy Devil’s Path is only a few hundred feet away, the notch takes on a completely different feel, wilder. Above the notch to the west is an at-large campsite.

View from Jimmy Dolan Notch
View from Jimmy Dolan Notch

The notch to Twin Mountain’s summits

Once in Jimmy Dolan Notch, you will be at the intersection with Devil’s Path. Heading west out of the notch the trail will begin a 450-foot climb to the lower peak. On the section of trail between the notch and the lower summit, you scamper up rock ledges, one that is almost vertical.

Chris climbing on Twin
Chris climbing on Twin

Except in an emergency or between December 21st and March 21st, camping is prohibited above an elevation of 3,500 feet in the Catskills.About 0.25 miles from the notch you will come upon an open ledge with an outstanding view. Indian Head Mountain is front and center. This view takes in mountains including Kaaterskill High Peak to Overlook Mountain.

You will have passed the 3,500′ mark. Be mindful that camping is prohibited above 3,500 feet in elevation from March 22 until December 20 each year to protect the fragile summit environment.

View of Indian Head Mountain
View of Indian Head Mountain from Devil’s Path climbing Twin. Hudson Valley in the background.

At about 2.3 miles from the trailhead, you will pass a side path to a boulder which is the lower summit high point. Keep walking and at about 2.36 miles you will be greeted with one of the finest views in the Catskills. If you get a late start, plan to visit this place with many other people. our tip is to get a very early start and beat the crowds.

View from the lower summit on Twin Mountain
View from the lower summit of Twin Mountain (click to enlarge)

The trip from the lower summit to the actual summit is a pleasant walk. You will quickly descend into the col and make your way through a pretty section of trail. The climb up the summit is not hard which and will be reached at about 3.1 miles from the trailhead. Once on the summit, you will get another fine view, but not as extensive as from the lower peak.

View from the summit on Twin Mountain
View from the summit of Twin Mountain (click to enlarge)

For your return, you can simply turn around here and retrace your steps. Depending on your stamina, you may wish to continue on Devil’s Path to Pecoy Notch and drop down to the trail head on the Pecoy Notch Trail. Note this route requires a road walk unless you have spotted a car there.

The advantage of doing the loop is that you can take in dramatic terrain and fine views along the way. Visiting a beaver dam and Dibbles Quarry is novel. Whichever way you climb Twin Mountain make sure you visit both peaks for the maximum appreciation of this Devil’s Path mountain.

Map of Twin Mountain Hike

Indian Head Wilderness
Contact Information:DEC Region 4 Stamford
Office hours: M-F 8:30AM - 4:30PM
Phone: (607) 652-7365;
Email: r4.ump@dec.ny.gov
Backcountry Emergency: (Search, Rescue & Forest Fire): 518-408-5850 or dial 911
Location: Towns of Saugerties and Woodstock in Ulster County, and the Town of Hunter in Greene County
Map: Map of the Indian Head Wilderness
Amenities:Lodging and dining opportunities, as well as gas, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Hunter, Tannersville, and Woodstock.
Weather:Sugarloaf Mountain Weather

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