Hike Mt. Wittenberg
New York › Woodland Valley Campground
Added by Michael Martineau
Distance: 9.5 miles round tripElevation Gain: 2,515 feetViews of the Ashokan Reservoir & Catskills RegionScrambling sections
Looking for a great day hike in the Catskill region of NY? Then you should definitely look into and consider tackling Mt. Wittenberg then. A challenging climb up but a very rewarding summit view.
Starting at Woodland Valley Campgrounds visitor registration house (where you can pay for parking for the day) follow the small road to the left through the campgrounds. You will reach a roundabout section at the end where you will want to look for the big boulder to your right. Walk around the boulder and pick up the trail which will lead you to a bridge crossing the stream. This is where the red trail begins, which you will follow the entire way up.
The trail starts off pretty steep and stays that way until you get to the sign in kiosk (I always suggest signing in before you do any long hike). After about .2 miles it levels out a little but it is still an upward climb. The first real flat section is where there are some ledges you can stand on and look out into the valley (limited views with trees). The ledges make you realize how much you have climbed in such a short period of time. Be on the lookout for the red trail markers as some of them have faded and are hard to find. For the next few miles you will continue to gradually climb passing a number of areas where streams flow down the mountain when the snow melts. Just wish they were flowing when my group went in mid august.
When you finally come to the trail junction you will want to continue to the right on the red trail. This is where the hike starts to really climb and becomes a little more challenging and adventurous. You will come to sections where you will need to grab on to surrounding trees, or a friend, to help pull yourself up. There are also a few sections where you will be rock scrambling so watch your footing. (Be sure to turn around every once in a while to see the view)
After the few tricky sections you are basically at the top, except you won’t know it. The best part of this hike in my opinion is walking around and coming out of the woods to an amazing view. You get a great sense of accomplishment when you finally arrive at the top and see how high up you are, 3785'. It is a great place for lunch and I suggest sitting on the ledge and taking your time up on top, you'd be crazy not to.
- Hiking Boots or Hiking Shoes
- Backpack with 10 essentials
- Hydration pack or multiple water bottles
- Snacks or lunch for the top
- Trekking poles
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Use caution in hiking here in spring
Two friends and I did the red trail hike in early March, and it was rough going: very icy, and the blazes were not as close together as we'd have wanted for such conditions. The last part of the hike, the scramble to the view, was unscalable without crampons or other winter gear. We bumped into some hikers coming down from the top who said they'd never seen the snow/ice so bad at that time of year (they were all outfitted with crampons), but they did say they wouldn't recommend this trail in general unless the weather was warmer (i.e. late spring to early fall). We missed the view, but hope to try again sometime in warmer weather; just something to keep in mind if you plan to hike this trail in the spring!
Do all Three
Wittenberg by itself is a gem, the views of the Ashokan are the best. If you want a little more though add Cornell and Slide (Catskills highest peak at 4180 ft) to the mix. All three are part of the Catskill 3500 Club challenge. Some fun scrambles including the Cornell Crack. To do an out/back from Slide to include all three would be 11.8 miles
Fantastic hike. Fun technical-y ascent in the winter. Great views looking to the Ashokan. If you're looking for more of a challenge think about doing some sort of circuit with neighboring peaks Cornell and Slide. Once you're on the Witt it's not too far to hop over to Cornell, but adding Slide to the mix makes it a pretty long hike, probably would want to spot a car or spend a night. Also, Google "Cornell Crack"! Making it up that in the winter is a serious undertaking. Ice tools and crampons necessary.
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