Here’s what you need to know
- Devil’s Path is hard. It may be one of the hardest trails to backpack in the Northeast. Don’t underestimate it.
- Water can be hard to come by. Don’t pass up a water source without filling up.
- You may have to drop off the ridge to find a good camping spot. Know your bailout points.
- Unless it’s winter you can’t camp above 3,500 feet.
- Unless it’s an emergency you can’t burn a fire above 3,500 feet.
- You can’t pitch a tent near lean-tos unless indicated.
- Follow the 150′ rule when not at a or .
Devil’s Path is home to some of the Catskill Mountains most dramatic scenery. Most people visit Devil’s Path on day trips, but to experience this trail and get the full impact of the wilderness feel it provides, one should camp at one of its many great camping locations.
Before we talk about camping spots on Devil’s Path we need to introduce the basic dos and don’t of camping in the Catskills.
: You can camp anywhere as long as you are at least 150 feet from a water body, road, or trail unless the area is posted as “Camping Prohibited.”
: All designated primitive campsites have yellow and black “Camp Here” marker. Many by lakes and ponds are often identified by number – a yellow number on a dark brown wooden plaque typically attached to a tree near the edge of the water.
Lean-to: Lean-tos are available in many areas on a first come first served basis. Lean-tos cannot be used exclusively and must be shared with other campers. Tents are not allowed inside lean-tos. Around lean-tos, camp at least 150 feet from the lean-to unless there is a “Camp Here” marker.
A Length of stay: Camping for more than 3 nights at one spot or with 10 or more people requires a permit from a forest ranger.
Above: Camping is also prohibited above 3,500 feet in elevation from December 20 until March 22 each year to protect the fragile summit environment.
Human waste: Use pit privies provided near popular camping areas and trailheads. If none are available, dispose of human waste by digging a hole 6″-8″ deep at least 150 feet from water or campsites. Cover with leaves and soil.
Fires: Fires should be built in existing fire pits or fireplaces if provided. Do not build fires in areas marked by a “No Fires” disk. At all times, only emergency fires are permitted above 3,500 feet in the Catskills.
LNT: Carry out what you carry in. Practice “leave no trace” camping and hiking.
Illegal camping: As you hike along Devil’s Path you are sure to come across fire rings near the trail. Do not camp at these unless it is a designated campsite. These are common at overlooks, flats on ridges, cols, and summits.
Where to camp on Devil’s Path
Starting at the east end of the trail your first formal campsite will be the Devil’s Kitchen Lean-to. It is situated one-tenth of a mile from the junction of the Overlook Trail. This junction is 1.7-miles from the trailhead. This lean-to is heavily used. Be prepared to camp elsewhere. There are some good sites for at-large campsites in the area. There is good water found in the area.
The next spot to camp is at a spot in Jimmy Dolanat 4.55 miles. There is no water here. The at-large campsite is just west and above the view.
The next spot to camp is off the Devil’s Path. Dibbles Quarry is located 1-mile down the Pecoy Notch Trail which junction is at 6.4-miles on Devil’s Path.The campsite is situated above and west of the view at the quarry. There is good water supply on the way down to the campsite. Even though it is an easy hike from the Roaring Spring trailhead, it is generally well kept and many times not crowded. Visiting the quarry is a nice option for hikers with a desire to get off the ridge.
Heading west over Sugarloaf Mountain at 8.75 miles you will find the Mink Hollow lean-to and designated campsites in Mink Hollow (south side). There are springs heading north and west from the notch.
Your next formal camping opportunity will be Devil’s Tombstone Campground. It is south of the road crossing on Rt 214. This is the only camping that is not free. Water, showers, and other amenities are found here. The fee as of 2016 is $22.00 per night.
This is a popular campground and do not count on getting a site without a reservation. At various times there is a 2-night minimum. Given the cost, location, and amenities pay for 2 and stay one.
After Stony Clove Notch, your next formal camping will be at 15.35 miles at the Devil’s Acres Lean-to. The lean-to is not far from the Hunter Mountain trail junction and is right on the trail. The lean-to has a fire pit but no privy. This spot provides a good base to hike Hunter and SW Hunter.
There is a seasonal spring near the lean-to. There are also several spots in this area for nice at-large camping spots along the herd path to Southwest Hunter.
Your next spot is the Diamond Notch Lean-to. On Devil’s Path, you are at 17.50 miles. However, the lean-to is situated .5 miles from Devil’s Path on the Diamond Notch Trail going south. You will climb about 400 feet to the lean-to. It has a fire ring and privy (see featured photo at top of page). Do not count on water at the lean-to. Refill at the falls.
After Diamond Notch, all camping on Devil’s Path going west will be at-large.
When camping on Devil’s Path remember these basics, check water supply, don’t count on a lean-to and bring another shelter type, and keep in mind the 150-foot rule.