Jun 28, 2013 · 9:00 PM
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Mark your calendars for Beyond Adventure's Catskills Backpacking Weekend.
We will take advantage of the longer days this late June weekend affords by hiking Friday night to the campsite. On Saturday we will ascend Cornell, Slide and Wittenberg peaks, all over 3500 feet. Sunday will be a mellow hike back to the parking lot.
Be prepared for hiking at night with a headlamp, and scrambling up steep ascents with a full backpack.
There are no lean-tos among this route, so be prepared to sleep in a tent each night.
The tentative plan is to drive up Friday night and park at the lot off of CR-47. We will then hike 1.5 miles to Giant Ledge and camp there for the night. Saturday morning we will continue clockwise toward Woodland Valley campground. We will summit Wittenberg and Cornell and then setup camp in the col between Cornell and Slide. The total distance Saturday will be ~9.5 -10 miles. Sunday we begin with a steep ascent up Slide, the tallest peak in the Catskills and then continue to CR-47 where we will hike along the road back to the parking lot clocking in about 5.5 miles.
Here's a description of the hike:
From the Panther Mountain parking area on Rt 47 (hairpin turn on CR47 GPS N[masked] W[masked]), cross the road and get on the yellow blazed Phoenicia - East Branch Trail. At 0.7 miles you will reach the intersection with Panther/Giant Ledge trail going to your left, where you will see a few campsites, this is the primary camping spot for Friday night. If this is full, we will head up 0.75 miles on the Panther trail to another primitive campsites location. Saturday morning we will continue to follow the yellow-blazed Phoenicia - East Branch trail from the intersection for 3.4 miles to the parking area in Woodland Valley. From Woodland Valley follow the red markers through the campsites to the bridge over the stream and to the red-blazed trail. Immediately the trail gives you a hint of what is to come. There is an ascent to even get to the log book! After 3.9 miles of ascent including some interesting rock scrambles, you arrive at the top of Wittenberg Mountain. Wittenberg offers one of the finest lookout in the Catskills and is well worth the effort. The trail now descends into the col between Wittenberg and Cornell and then ascends to the summit of Cornell, a total distance of only .85 miles. Be sure to take the short spur trail to the left at the top of Cornell to actually reach the highest point on the mountain. The trail now descends to the col between Cornell and Slide which is reached after about 1.4 miles, this is where we will camp Saturday night. Sunday morning, we begin the steep climb up Slide. As you begin, look to the right as you ascend the rock and wood "staircases". A short trail leads to a spring which also affords a nice view back at Cornell. After about .85 miles from the col, you will be at the Slide Mountain lookout. From here you can return the way you came but this would mean hiking five 3500's in one day! You can continue on the trail for about 2.85 miles to the Slide Mountain parking area on the Frost Valley Road. From here you will need to hike 2 miles on the road back to the Panther Mountain parking area at the hairpin turn passed Winisook Lake.