A hike to a Catskill 67 peak with a wilderness experience in a splendid first-growth forest.
East Wildcat Mountain is a trailless 3350-foot peak in the Slide Mountain Wilderness. Although the peak is named on maps, the USGS has not officially recognized it as East Wildcat. East Wildcat is the taller associate to Wildcat (aka West Wildcat), which is 180 feet shorter and has been formally named by the USGS. Many rock ledges shield East Wildcat on its flanks which make for great scrambling.
The Wildcats forest is in forest growth. There is a nice but thick area of fir between East Wildcat and its bump to the east and a gorgeous hemlock stand heading to Wildcat in the west. It is feasible to hike the peak from Denning, the Slide Mountain Trailhead, or a parking area off Slide Mountain Road. But the last is long and combined with an ascent of Wildcat Mountain and requires you to cross the West Branch of the Neversink, which can be tricky during periods of high water. When the trees are bare, you can catch views of many high peaks.
East Wildcat Mountain hike specs
This hike was done from Denning and ascended from the junction at the Peekamoose Table Trail with a descent to the Curtis-Ormsbee junction and back to Denning – a lollipop route. A hiker could climb toward the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail and head for East Wildcat anytime after the Peekamoose Table junction. This second route allows for more climbing to be done on the trail.
|About 7.3-miles||1388′ total||Hard|
Maps and guidebook
East Wildcat step by step
- Depart from the remote Denning trailhead on the Phoenicia East Branch Trail. Take 1.2-miles to the junction with the Peekamoose – Table Trail.
- Leave the trail after this junction and bushwhack to the summit. You’ll climb some rock ledges with level sections in between. Watch for some interesting rock overhangs and one formation that looks like a “pup tent.”
- Reach the summit about 1.3-mile from the trail.
- Leave the summit generally heading NE.
- In the first col leaving the summit, you’ll encounter a dense fir stand which you can avoid by navigating toward the cliff line. Watch for bogs on the ridge.
- Follow the ridge to the Phoenicia East Branch Trail to the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail junction. You’ll have traveled about 1.8-miles from the summit.
- Take the Phoenicia East Branch Trail 3.0-miles back to Denning.
This route requires strong navigational skills.
Explore more: The Catskill 67 Peaks List
Dig deeper: The Slide Mountain Wilderness a Complete Guide
DEC Contacts and information
|Slide Mountain Wilderness|
|Contact Information:||DEC Region 3 New Paltz Office:
phone (845) 256-3000 (M-F 8:30AM - 4:30PM), email: email@example.com
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|
|Cell Service:||Never count on your cell phone for rescue. Cell service in the Slide Mountain Wilderness is sparse and one may have problems gaining a signal.|
Map of East Wildcat bushwhack from Denning
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.