In the shadow of the Blackheads, this hike has much beauty to offer
In the shadow of the prominent peaks that line the Black Dome Valley (aka Big Hollow Valley) in the Catskills sits Acra Point. This 3100′ peak is located just north of Blackhead Mountain and is part of “The Catskill 67”. The Acra Point Loop makes for a great day hike any time of the year. This peak is especially lovely on busy days when loads of people scramble up into the Blackhead Range. You’ll be able to hike in relative solitude. Parking is at the end of Big Hollow Road.
Trailhead to Escarpment Trail
Your hike begins about a tenth of a mile back up the road from the trailhead parking on the Acra Point – Burnt Knob Access Trail. Keep in mind that on many days this trailhead parking can fill up quickly. As you enter the trail, you will immediately cross a bridge over the Batavia Kill. Take a moment to enjoy this section of trail as you will be walking over and along streams through a beautiful Hemlock forest. Also, please sign the register.
After the bridge, you will cross a feeder stream on rocks. This section can be tricky during periods of high water, and during the winter, this section of the trail can be icy. Soon after the stream crossing, the trail will begin to climb above the stream, which it meets again at about .3 miles. You will be walking in the cool shade of Hemlocks up to this point.
Crossing the stream, the trail will continue to climb, and the forest composition changes to deciduous hardwoods. The climb is moderate to easy as you will reach the blue-blazed Escarpment Trail at 1.0 miles. When the leaves are down, you can view the Blackhead Range, Burnt Knob, and Acra Point from the col.
Col over Acra Point to Batavia Kill Col
This section of trail will take you over Acra Point. The broad col and trail junction is an excellent place to take a quick break. Heading south on the Escarpment Trail, you will rise out of the col scrambling through some easy rock ledges while entering a spruce forest.
At 0.35 miles from the col, you will reach a herd path leading to the best view on this hike and one of the finest in the area. The view encompasses to the south, Arizona Peak, The Blackhead Range looming above you, with Burnt Knob and Windham High Peak to the north. It is a fantastic panorama, and you’ll want to spend some time here.
Once you are high on Arca Point, the trail will gently rise up and down with some views to the Hudson River Valley with one good one at 1.90 miles. The path will begin a moderate descent to the col between Acra Point and Blackhead Mountain, where you will find the junction with that Batavia Kill Trail reached at 3.65 miles from your start.
If you are thinking of extending your trip over Blackhead Mountain, be ready to work as it is a 1,100-foot climb from the junction to the summit in less than a mile!
Batavia Kill Col to Trailhead
Leaving the col, you will switch back down the valley along the yellow-blazed Batavia Kill Trail. After about .2 miles from the col, you will reach two nice designated campsites and a lean-to.
There is generally plentiful water in the area as you have again reached the Batavia Kill, which you will have at your side for the rest of the hike.
On an easy grade, the trail winds down the valley toward the Junction with the Black Dome Trail. Before the junction, you’ll need to do a stream crossing with the aid of a high-water bridge. You will reach the junction at 4.55 miles from the start.
Now heading right on the red marked Black Dome Trail, you will be .5 miles from the parking area. Hiking along this section of trail, you soon reach one of two footbridges. Before approaching the second bridge, look down to your left, and you’ll get a view of an old dam that mills used for logging operations in the 1800s.
After you cross the second bridge, you will easily drop down to the trailhead and reach the Acra Point Loop hike’s end.
DEC contact and other information
|Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness|
|Contact Information:||DEC Region 4 Stamford
Office hours: M-F 8:30AM - 4:30PM
Phone: (607) 652-7365;
Backcountry Emergency: (Search, Rescue & Forest Fire): 518-408-5850 or dial 911
|Location:||Towns of Cairo, Hunter, Jewett, Windham and Durham in Greene County|
|Map:||View Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness Map - PDF (2.82 MB)|
|Amenities:||Dining opportunities, as well as gas, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Cairo, Windham and Palenville.|
|Weather:||Blackhead Mountain weather|
|Cell Service:||Never count on your cell phone for rescue. Cell service in the Windham-Blackhead Wilderness is okay and one may have problems in ravines. We have not had problems with service.|
Acra Point Trail Map
Click the 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.