Indian Head Wildernessicon key
Open for recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 4 Stamford Office (M-F 8:30AM - 4:30PM): (607) 652-7365; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Backcountry Emergency (Search, Rescue & Forest Fire): 518-408-5850 or dial 911
- Location: Towns of Saugerties and Woodstock in Ulster County, and the Town of Hunter in Greene County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 3A
- Map: View Indian Head Wilderness Map - PDF (3.82 MB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
The 11,500-acre Indian Head Wilderness is on the eastern escarpment of the Catskill Mountains in the Catskill Forest Preserve. The wilderness area is characterized by extremely rugged topography, with five major peaks falling within the unit: Plattekill, Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf, and Plateau mountains. The vistas afforded by these peaks attract thousands of hikers annually, as does the Long Path, with passes through the wilderness from west-to-east over most of the high peaks.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Devil's Path (25.2 miles, red markers)
Devil's Path is a popular and challenging trail extending from the Prediger Road Parking Area in Indian Head Wilderness west to County Route 6 (Spruceton Road) in the Hunter-West Kill Wilderness. The trail crosses the summits on Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf, Plateau, and West Kill mountains. About 13.7 miles of the trail traverse the Indian Head Wilderness.
Warner Creek Trail (3.0 miles, blue markers)
The Warner Creek Trail extends from the Phoenicia Trail off of Notch Inn Road in the Phoenicia-Mt. Tobias Wild Forest to the Devil's Path. Access the trail 0.75 miles from the end of Notch Inn Road. The Warner Creek Trail coincides with the Long Path.
Mink Hollow Trail (5.3 miles, blue markers)
The Mink Hollow Trail travels from the end of Mink Hollow Road in the south up 2.5 miles to the Mink Hollow Lean-to, then the Devils Path at 2.6 miles. The trail ends at 5.3 miles at the junction of the Roaring Kill Trail and the Pecoy Notch Trail. A steep bushwhack to one of the Catskill 67, the 3440 foot Olderbark Mountain is normally started from along this trail.
Pecoy Notch Trail (1.8 miles, blue markers)
The Pecoy Notch Trail extends from the junction of the Roaring Kill Trail and Mink Hollow Trail to the Devil's Path. Some hikers use this trail, Mink Hollow Trail, Roaring Kill Trail and the Devil's Path to create a 7-mile loop hike featuring Sugarloaf Mountain.
Roaring Kill Trail (0.3 miles, yellow markers)
The Roaring Kill Trail extends from the Roaring Kill Parking Lot on Elka Park Road to the junction of the Pecoy Notch Trail and Mink Hollow Trail.
Jimmy Dolan Notch Trail (1.6 miles, blue markers)
This trail starts at one spot along the Devils Path and travels 1.6 miles to another spot along the Devil's Path. Some hikers use this trail and the Devils Path to create a 6.4-mile loop hike featuring Indian Head Mountain.
Overlook Trail (4.8 miles, blue markers)
This trail starts off Platte Clove Road and travels 4.8 miles south to the Overlook Spur Trail about 0.4 miles from the summit of Overlook Mountain. It is 3.4 miles from Platte Clove Road to the junction with the Echo Lake Trail.
Echo Lake Trail (0.7 miles, yellow markers)
The Echo Lake Trail extends from the Overlook Trail to Echo Lake. There is a lean-to and seven designated campsites near the lake.
General information on backcountry camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Indian Head Wilderness features 10 designated primitive tent sites and 3 lean-tos located near:
- Junction of Devil's Path and Mink Hollow Trail (3-tent, 1-lean-to),
- Devil's Kitchen on the Overlook Trail (1-lean-to) and
- Echo Lake (7-tent, 1-lean-to).
At-large camping is also allowing. Camping must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. Camping is prohibited above an elevation of 3,500 feet in the Catskills, between March 21 and December 21.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Indian Head Wilderness is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. There are no groomed or maintained trails, however cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.
General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations
The nearby Schoharie Creek is a trout stream with public access for fishing. Parking is located along Elka Park Road.
East- Central NY Fishing provides information on fishing in the Catskills and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.
Hunting & Trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed during appropriate seasons. The main game species and furbearers found on the property include deer, bear, bobcat, coyote and fisher.
General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.
The Catskills are home to an abundance of wildlife. With both larger mammals (including deer, bear, and bobcat) as well as smaller mammals (including porcupine and fisher) the Catskills have several unique habitats. In addition to the many mammals found in the Catskills, hundreds of species of birds can also be found in the Catskills.
There are 6 parking areas and a number of trailheads and access points with road side parking that can be used to access the Indian Head Wilderness. All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.
From NYS Route 214
- Notch Lake Parking Lot is located off of NYS Route 214 at the Devil's Tombstone Campground. The parking lot provides accesses Devil's Path.
Phoenicia Trail Trailhead is located at the end of Notch Inn Road. (42.137505°N, 74.211189°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
From NYS Route 212
Lake Hill Parking Lot is located off of Mink Hollow Road, 2.9 north of its intersection with NYS Route 212. (42.105131°N, 74.173565°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
From Greene County Route 16 (Platte Clove Road)
Roaring Kill Parking Lot is located on Roaring Kill Road, 1.4 miles for its intersection with Elka Park Road. (42.151237°N, 74.130844°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Old Mink Hollow Road Trailhead is located at the end of Mink Hollow Road off of Elka Park Road. (42.143616°N, 74.158144°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Prediger Road Parking Lot is located at the end of Prediger Road, off of Platte Cove Road. (42.134122°N, 74.104417°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Public Fishing Stream Parking is located on Roaring Kill Road, off of Elka Park Road. (42.157405°N, 74.138260°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- Steenburgh Road Parking Lot is located off of Platte Clove Road. (42.133607°N, 74.082241°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles when recreating in the Catskills to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other backcountry users.
Camping is prohibited above an elevation of 3,500 feet in the Catskills, between March 21 and December 21.
How We Manage Indian Head Wilderness
DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Indian Head-Plateau Mountain Unit Management Plan (UMP). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries, and much more.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
DEC Lands and Facilities
- Kaaterskill Wild Forest
- Devil's Tombstone Campground
- Hunter - West Kill Wilderness
- Rusk Mountain Wild Forest
- Windham Blackhead Range Wilderness
- Phoenicia Wild Forest
- Slide Mountain Wilderness
Lodging and dining opportunities, as well as gas, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Hunter, Tannersville, and Woodstock.
Catskill Regional Tourism Office (leaves DEC website), Greene County Tourism Office (leaves DEC website) and Ulster County Tourism Office (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.
Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.
Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.
Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.