This may be the hardest backpacking trail in the NE US
Devil’s Path is home to some of Catskill Mountain’s most dramatic scenery. Most people visit the Devil’s Path Trail 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.
Hike Length: 24.2 mi (38.9 km)
Route Type: Point to point
Total Ascent: 9,000 feet (2,700 m) approx
How Hard: Very Difficult, demanding, and rugged
Best Time: Mid-week, in summer., fall, and spring. Winter for experienced only.
Red Tape: Charges for camping at Devil's Tombstone Campground
Features: Devil’s Path is hard.
Eastern Trailhead at Prediger Road
Western Trailhead on Spruceton Valley Road
Map associated with Devil's Path
Trail Guide Book -
Info on Devil’s Path Camping
Before we talk about camping spots on Devil’s Path Trail, we need to introduce the basic dos and don’t of camping in the Catskills.
At-large camping: 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.”
Designated campsites: All designated primitive campsites have a 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 water’s edge.
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 3500 feet: Camping is also prohibited above 3,500 feet in elevation from March 22 until December 20 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 the Devil’s Path Trail
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 1.9-miles from the trailhead. This lean-to is heavily used and abused, as one can see by the graffiti and markings on the lean-to and privy. Be prepared to camp elsewhere.
There is NO privacy at the lean-to as the trail passes right in front of it. There is a privy, but it is old like the lean-to.
Camping is prohibited near the lean-to. Having said that, there are some good sites for at-large campsites in the area. Water supply is generally good in the area.
The next potential spot to camp is at a location in Jimmy Dolan Notch at 4.55 miles. There is no water here. The at-large campsite is just west and above the view. The DEC may eventually mark this spot with no camping disks, but none of this writing.
Your next logical 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 an adequate 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 often not crowded. Visiting the quarry is an excellent 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.
Devil’s Tombstone 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 two and stay one.
After Stony Clove Notch, your next formal camping will be 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 an excellent base to hike Hunter and SW Hunter.
Related post: 10 things to think about when staying at a lean-to
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 the 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, bring another shelter type, and keep in mind the 150-foot rule.
Related post: Tips for Camping in the Catskills
Backwoods wanderer with a passion for backpacking, hiking, 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.