Ascent of Hunter Mountain on 2017-07-30

Climber: Josh Schmid

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, July 30, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Hunter Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4040 ft / 1231 m

Ascent Trip Report

Completed this hike on a pleasant Sunday morning and early afternoon. Including roughly 45 minutes at the summit, took slightly more than 6 hours to return to my car. A fire tower, picnic table and privy are at the summit, while one reliable spring is located along the ascent.

The ascent up Hunter was completed using the Spruceton Trail, the former Jeep road to the Hunter fire tower. This trail is wide, with moderate grades and the only stream is crossed using a bridge. Horses can use the trail. The first half-mile to the bridge and first switchback is relatively level, then the moderate climbing begins. The col between Hunter and Rusk Mountains is reached near the halfway point and the trail takes a sharp right turn that is signed well. Roughly 1/4 mile after the turn is a pipe spring, where I stopped for water, followed by a side trail to a campsite and lean-to. The trail levels out near when a trail leading to the Hunter Mountain chairlift comes in, about 1 mile from the summit. Remaining distance to the summit is a very gradual ascent. I had my lunch at the summit and climbed the fire tower, which provides excellent views in all directions. The Ashokan Reservoir and Slide Mountain can be seen very clearly, with views east to the Taconics as well. A large map is provided in the fire tower cabin for reference purposes. The fire warden's cabin on the surface is open to the public and the true summit is marked by a cairn approximately 100 feet to the side and behind of the cabin.

Leaving the summit, the trail is flat until a 4-way junction: to the right is a short, unmarked dead-end trail providing excellent views to the west. The main trail (continuing straight) to the Devil's Path junction descends steeply, intersecting the Devil's Path just below the 3500 foot mark. The Devil's Path passes a lean-to and has several ups and downs along the SW side of Hunter Mountain, eventually beginning a descent to Diamond Notch Falls. At many locations, the trail was quite narrow. One location had an excellent view toward SW Hunter at the edge of a cliff. The descent to Diamond Notch Falls and the Diamond Notch trail was steep and rocky with running water and a couple stream crossings. Diamond Notch falls can be viewed from the side or on a bridge above. From the falls, it was 1 mile to the end of Spruceton Road, plus approximately 1/2 mile of road walk back to the Spruceton Trail parking lot.
Summary Total Data
    Round-Trip Distance:9 mi / 14.4 km
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Distance:3.7 mi / 6 km
    Route:Spruceton Trail
    Start Trailhead:Spruceton Road Trailhead  
    Time:2 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Distance:5.2 mi / 8.4 km
    Route:Hunter Mountain Trail, Devil's Path, Diamond Notch
    End Trailhead:Spruceton Road Trailhead  
    Time:3 Hours 0 Minutes

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