The blackhead Range: Catskill Mountains 3500
Mileage: 8.2 Miles Directions 42.288909,-74.115111
Rise: 2680 ft Facebook
Hike Time: 6hrs Weather
Significance: Three Catskill High Peaks Pintrest
Here is some of what you need to know: Looking at the map below, we did this trail counter clockwise, with the parking area at 12 oclock.
1. Scroll the mouse over the altitude line to see where it lines up on the map
2. Click on the flags for more information
3. Click on the pictures to make them large
From the parking lot it is a short walk up the road to the trail head. You will be following Red blazes on the Black Dome Trail (BDT). At 0.7 miles you will walk past the yellow blazed Batavia Kill Trail that you will return on later. The BDT is well maintained with few obstacles. At about 1.2 miles your ascent to Black Dome becomes steep climbing about 1200 feet of elevation over a mile.
The leafless trees allowed for views most of the way up. Close to the top of black dome the trees opened up for a great view of a bunch of High Peaks; Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf are a few of them. (Enlarge the Pictures by clicking on them). Their are a few steep areas that require some minor climbs but nothing serious.
The Blackdome summit has a rock ledge big enough to fit a small hiking party. In this picture from R-L: Plateau, Sugarloaf, Twin, and Indian head. Not in this photo is Hunter, Slide and a few others. It was an awesome placed to stop and break for lunch.
Onward to Thomas Cole; it is less than a mile from the top of BD to the fourth Highest Peak in the Catskills. I heard it said many times that “the great irony is that the summit of Thomas Cole has no views” referencing the great american painter of Catskill mountain. A local hiker told us the unofficial summit is a large rock off to the side of the trail (good enough for me).
It is about 2 miles to the top of Blackhead mountain from Thomas Cole, 1.5 miles of which is a backtrack. The 0.5 miles up Blackhead has a 500 foot climb in elevation. At the top of Blackhead you will come to a 3 way intersection. To get back to your car follow the Blue blazes toward the Batavia kill Lean-to. BUT WAIT, Don’t go! If you continue on the trail you just came up on for another 1/2 mile you will come to my favorite view of the trip.
A little beyond the top of Blackhead is an awesome view of the Hudson Valley; from where you stand you can look down about 3000 ft to the lowest point…cool. On this clear day we saw Mountains in Vermont. Now back to the 3-way intersection.
It is about 2.5 miles back to your car and on that first mile you will drop about 1200 feet. Never hike these mountains in the winter without throwing your Kahtoola Microspikes in your pack; their was no snow anywhere but ice covered almost the entire trail. Keep heading toward the Lean-to, the blue blaze will turn into yellow, then back the the red blaze you started on.
We love the Catskill mountains and we cannot wait to come back. Check out our other hikes in the area: