Lone and Table Mountains from Paul's Lookout

Lone Mountain hike in the Catskills

Lone Mountain is one of 4 trailless peaks below Slide Mountain south of the Burroughs Range. At 3,721′ it ranks 16th of the Catskill 35 high peaks and is a required climb for the Catskill 3500 Club. The 4 peaks of Lone, Rocky, Balsam Cap, and Friday are collectively known as the “Bushwhack Range”. You’ll need a map and compass to navigate this peak. Lone is the westernmost peak in the range just northeast of Table Mountain (see top image). Each peak can be hiked individually maximizing the experience or in combination maximizing the endeavor.

On his 1880 “Map of the Catskill Mountains”, Arnold Guyot included Lone as part of the “Slide Mountain Chain” which spanned from Slide to Belleayre Mountain with Lone being a ridge from the summit of Slide. In his report in the The American Journal of Science in 1880, Guyot states regarding Slide “From its broad triangular top it sends a ridge south east… and terminates in the Lone Mountain 3670 feet, by which it is almost connected with the Wittemberg chain” (his spelling). Was his naming of the peak simply that the mountain stood alone?

Section of Aronald Guyot's Map of the Catskill Mountains showing Slide and surrounding peaksCollection from Scott Larson
Section of A. Guyot’s Map of the Catskill Mountains showing Slide and surrounding peaks

Based on his map, measured elevation, and description, the Lone referred to by Guyot is probably today’s Balsam Cap. If it was, his naming was fitting as Balsam Cap can feel as one of the most lonely places in the Catskills. Currently Lone Mountain and other peaks in the Bushwhack Range may be viewed as a part of the Peekamoose Range as suggested by Michael Kudish in his book “The Catskill Forest: A History”.

The most common approach is from Denning and the Fisherman’s Path. Another and more difficult approach is from Peekamoose Road which requires a climb of Peekamoose and crossing the col between Table and Lone. Of course one can hike the range from the shoulder of Cornell crossing the entire range making this one of the most arduous and grand off-trail adventures in the Catskills. In fact, there are many combinations and approaches for all peaks in this range.

In this description we will climb Lone Mountain from Denning and return over Table back to the trail head. The Denning Road trail head is one of the most remote in the Catskills, make sure your car is in good working order. The parking area is large and can accommodate approximately 20 cars. It is located on Denning Road, 3.5 miles north east of its intersection with New Road.

Denning Trail-head to access the Table - Peekamoose TrailChallenged Hiker | copyright Challenged Hiking
Denning Trail-head for to access the Table – Peekamoose Trail and the Neversink

The trail register and kiosk is at the east end of the parking area. Please sign in as you will be in remote areas eventually without trails. You begin your hike on the yellow blazed Phoenicia East Branch Trail. The section between the trail head to the junction with the Peekamoose – Table Trail is on private land, please stay on the trail.

Phoenicia East Branch Trail to Peekamoose – Table Trail

Bridge over the NeversinkScott L. | copyright Challenged Hiking
“Bridge” in the Neversink Valley

This section of the Phoenicia East Branch Trail is pretty but shows signs of private use with occasional side path at the start. The trail will traverse

gradual grades to the blue marked Peekamoose – Table Trail which it reaches at about 1.2-miles. Along the way look for mountain raspberries in season. You will cross two footbridges. Otherwise the trail is the remeninate of the old turnpike that connected this area with the valleys to the north.

Peekamoose – Table Trail to Lone Mountain summit

At the junction turn south on the Peekamoose – Table Trail and begin a pretty descent into the beautiful Neversink Valley through rocky terrain. You are entering one of the most wild places in these mountains.

You will cross several bridges before reaching the Fisherman’s Path at 0.30-miles. There is a designated campsite across the trail which makes for a good place to basecamp as a short overnight. Water is plentiful.

Early October backpacking in the morningScott L. | copyright Challenged Hiking
Early October backpacking in the Catskill’s Neversink Valley in the morning

You will depart the trail here. The path will be obvious heading east from the trail following the East Branch of the Neversink River. You will be hiking just below first growth forest until you depart the path on your way to the summit of Lone. Take the Fisherman’s Path to Donavan’s Brook which you will cross. After crossing the brook follow the northwest ridge to the summit. This is steep terrain and you’ll need to pick your ascent route intelligently and allow enough time to reach the summit.

Chris at the cansiter on the summit of Lone MountainScott L. | copyright Challenged Hiking
Chris at the cansiter on the summit of Lone Mountain

From the start of the Fisherman’s Trail to the summit you will have traveled about 2.2-miles and gained over 1,500’. You’ll find the canister in a small grassy area. A herd path will lead to a nice ledge with views.

Lone Mountain to Table Mountain

The trek from Lone to Table is one of the nicest off-trail col crossings you will experience. However, don’t take it lightly as one may descend to far off the ridge and find themselves in the drainage of Donavan’s Brook which would be very hard to reascend. The descent to the col is somewhat southwest. Stay on the ridge it will drop off steeply on each side. Once in the col cross it and ascend the ridge south-south-west to the trail on the ridge of Table. The hike from the summit is about 0.90-miles and you will drop about 300’ and climb almost 390’.

Table to Denning trail head

From the point you reenter the Peelamoose – Table trail, head north to the Phoenicia East Branch Trail in which you will travel about 2.35-miles and drop 1,700’.

View from overlook on Table MountainScott L. | copyright Challenged Hiking
View from overlook on Table Mountain (Click to enlarge)

Along the way you will pass viewpoints, the Bouton Memorial Lean-to, and a spring. Once you reach the Phoenicia East Branch Trail the walk back to the parking area is 1.2-miles.

Your days totals are approximately 8.25-miles and total climbing of about 2,400’.

Slide Mountain Wilderness
Contact Information:DEC Region 3 New Paltz Office:
phone (845) 256-3000 (M-F 8:30AM - 4:30PM), email: r3admin@dec.ny.gov
Law Enforcement, Emergency & Ranger: 518-408-5850 or dial 911
Location: Towns of Shandaken, Denning and Olive in Ulster County
Map: Slide Mountain Wilderness Map
Amenities:Food, gas, and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Phoenicia and Boiceville.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Boiceville, Mount Tremper, Phoenicia and Shandaken.
Lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Mount Tremper, Oliverea, Phoenicia, Shandaken.
Weather:Slide Mountain Weather

 

Last Updated on by Scott L.

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