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

Jimmy Dolan Notch Trail with blue marker
Average read time 6 min

Twin Mountain is a peak in Devil’s Path Range’s eastern section in the Indian Head Wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. Twin, as it’s named, would indicate it has two summits. It is one of the most beautiful summit experiences in the Catskills. The peak can be hiked as a day hike or as part of a more extended, 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 the bottom of page).

Geeky Stuff

Elevation:3653′ (1113 m)
Lat/Lon:42°7.54′N / 74°7.76′W
SubpeaksTwin Mountain-South Peak (3580 ft/1091 m)
Seasons:Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Activities:Hiking, Camping/backpacking, Snowshoeing, winter climbing
Nearest higher neighbor:Sugarloaf Mountain WNW 1.16 mi, 1.87 km
Line parent:Sugarloaf Mountain WNW 1.16 mi, 1.87 km
Key-col:Pecoy Notch 2820′ (860 m)
Prominence:833′ (254 m)
Range:Catskill Mountains > Central Catskills
Land Unit:Indian Head Wilderness
Summit forest:Boreal in first growth
Maps and Guide:NY-NJTC Catskill Map Set
NY-NJTC Digital Trail Maps
ADK Catskill Trail Guide

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
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Chris at the 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. After the turn south, the stream on your right is the Schoharie Creek’s headwaters; the waters here will begin the 120+ mile journey to the Hudson River! The Schoharie offers some great fishing along the way. The trail will make a few turns on the ascent so keep trail markers in sight.

Jimmy Dolan Notch Trail with blue marker
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Jimmy Dolan Notch Trail with blue marker with Chris ahead

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

Another hike nearby: Plattekill Mountain in the Catskills Indian Head Wilderness

View from Jimmy Dolan Notch

I’ve had a few people say they could not find the view “at the notch.” The vista 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
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Chris navigating some rock before the view in the notch

Having said that, this is a good view and a 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
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking 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 trail section between the notch and the lower summit, you scamper up rock ledges, one almost vertical.

Chris climbing on Twin
Scott Larson 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.
3500 foot mark

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 the 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
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking 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
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking 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 challenging 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
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking View from the summit of Twin Mountain (click to enlarge)

How to return to your car?

For your return, you can 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 trailhead on the Pecoy Notch Trail. Note this route requires a road walk unless you have spotted a car there.

The advantage of hiking 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

Click the map or here for an interactive version.

Twin Mountain Trail Map
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Twin Mountain Trail Map

Contacts for Twin Mountain

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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