A Catskill 3500 Checklist to Track Your Progress (pdf download)

In this article, I will list and briefly discuss the mountains over 3500 feet in elevation in the Catskill region of New York State.

I have also created a Catskill 3500 checklist in pdf format that you can download and track your progress as you climb each mountain.

Coincidentally there are 35 Catskill peaks (kind of- see below) in the Catskill mountains that are over 3500 feet in elevation.

Sadly, two of these mountains, Doubletop and Graham mountains, are on private land and can not be climbed legally as the property owners have closed these peaks to the hiking public.

It is a shame that you can’t climb the peaks, but the misuse of private property has led to the closure of these two peaks.

The tallest peak in the Catskill region is Slide Mountain, followed closely by Hunter Mountain, which is over 4000 feet and is included in the NE115 list of mountains in the northeastern United States over 4000 feet of elevation.

catskill 3500

Like the Adirondack 46, one mountain in the Catskill 35 doesn’t reach the required elevation standard.

Rocky Mountain, at an elevation of 3487, is shy of the 3500 mark. However, the Catskill 3500 Club does recognize this mountain in the list of over 3500 (see below).

Many Catskill Mountain peaks do not have an open summit and are covered by balsam firs and hardy deciduous trees.

Still, most have open ledges, such as the popular destination of Giant Ledge on Panther Mountain, that provide incredible views of the surrounding mountains.

Giant Ledge on Panther Mountain

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Hunter Mountain and Balsam Lake Mountain also have fire towers that provide the best views of the beautiful Catskill Mountains.

You get 360-degree views of the Catskills from the towers and can see the Hudson Valley and the Green Mountains in Vermont.

The Catskill 3500 Club recognizes hikers who have completed hikes of the 33 accessible peaks.

To complete the Catskill 3500 challenge, four peaks also need winter hikes (between Dec 21st and Mar 21st) to earn a number and patch. 

These mountains are Slide Mountain, Blackhead Mountain, Panther Mountain, and Balsam Mountain.

Some mountain peaks have orange-painted PVC canisters at the peak that contain a log book for hikers to sign.

These all appear to be mountains that do not have DEC-marked trails.

In contrast, mountain peak trails that the DEC maintains have had the canisters removed. Probably a leave-no-trace artifact.

Catskill mountain peak

I guess that the canisters mark the high point on the forested peaks. However, I found that it can still be difficult, even the open peaked mountains, to know where the exact top is located.

It would be nice for all of the highest peaks to have canisters and logbooks. 

Also, I’ve noticed on my recent climbs that some signs at the top of the peaks are missing.

I always use a GPS to track my climbs and location, which will give you a good indication of whether you are near the peak. 

The best part of the Catskill 3500 is that you can reach all mountains with day hikes.

Some might be long days, but you will usually hike to multiple peaks on those days.

For instance, when you hike the Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide trail, you finish three peaks and the tallest mountain in the Catskill High Peaks.

There is no need to hike multiple peaks if you don’t want to.

You can reach all the mountains with hikes less than 10 miles out and back. 

catskill 3500 trail

Yes, that is the trail.

Below are the 35 mountains over 3500 feet in elevation in the Catskill Mountains.

catskill 3500 checklist pin

The Downloadable Guide also lists the elevation, if the trail is marked or is a bushwhack to trailless peaks if there is a view, the relative level of difficulty of the hike, and if a sign-in canister is found at the peak.

List of the Catskill 3500-foot Mountains

NumberName (link to article)Elevation (feet)Distance
View at TopTrail TypeCanisterDifficulty
1Slide Mountain4,1825.9YesDEC TrailNot FoundEasy
2Hunter Mountain4,0306.3YesDEC TrailNot FoundModerate
3Blackdome Mountain3,9945.1YesDEC TrailNot FoundDifficult
4Thomas Cole Mountain3,9536.1NoDEC TrailNot FoundModerate
5Blackhead Mountain3,9405.9YesDEC TrailNot FoundDifficult
6West Kill Mountain3,8986.4YesDEC TrailNot FoundDifficult
7Graham Mountain3,868Not OpenNo TrailPrivate
8Cornell Mountain3,8578.9LimitedDEC TrailNot FoundDifficult
9Doubletop Mountain3,852Not OpenNo TrailPrivate
10Plateau Mountain3,8357.3YesDEC TrailNot FoundDifficult
11Table Mountain3,8257.5YesDEC TrailNot FoundModerate
12Peekamoose Mountain3,8199.1YesDEC TrailNot FoundModerate
13Sugarloaf Mountain3,7936.7YesDEC TrailNot FoundChallenging
14Wittenberg Mountain3,7927.1YesDEC TrailNot FoundDifficult
15Southwest Hunter Mountain3,7537.1NoBushwhackYesModerate
16Balsam Lake Mountain37,295.8YesDEC TrailNot FoundEasy
17Panther Lake Mountain3,7246.9YesDEC TrailNot FoundModerate
18Lone Mountain3,7006.7LimitedBushwhackYesChallenging
19Big Indian Mountain3,6999.1No BushwhackYesModerate
20Friday Mountain3,6927.7NoBushwhackYesChallenging
21Rusk Mountain3,6863.7NoBushwhackYesDifficult
22Kaaterskill High Peak3,6528.2YesBushwhackYesDifficult
23Twin Mountain3,6506.0YesDEC TrailNot FoundDifficult
24Fir Mountain3,6297.8NoBushwhackYesDifficult
25Balsam Cap Mountain3,6087.7LimitedBushwhackYesDifficult
26Balsam Mountain3,6075.5YesDEC TrailNot FoundModerate
27Dome Mountain3,6055.0NoBushwhackYesChallenging
28Bearpen Mountain3,5875.0LimitedDEC TrailNot FoundEasy
29Eagle Mountain3,5837.9NoBushwhack YesModerate
30Indian Head Mountain3,5734.6YesDEC TrailNot FoundModerate
31Sherill Mountain3,5585.8NoBushwhackYesDifficult
32Vly Mountain3,5413.6NoBushwhackYesEasy
33Windham High Peak3,5256.2YesDEC TrailNot FoundEasy
34Halcott Mountain3,5094.0No BushwhackYesDifficult
35Rocky Peak3,4879.7LimitedBushwhackYesChallenging

You can Click Here to receive a pdf of the Catskill 3500 checklist.

Use the checklist as a reference to track your progress as you climb the 33 tallest mountains in the Catskills.

The checklist also includes the four winter peaks that need to be climbed during the winter to earn your Catskill 3500 patch.

catskill 3500 patch

I also recommend purchasing a waterproof map set.

The maps will list the location of the mountains, trailheads, parking area, location of herd paths, and nearby campgrounds and amenities. The two below are the most frequently purchased.

The New York New Jersey Trail Conference Map

National Geographic Catskill Park Map

I use the National Geographic version as I’ve always had good luck with their maps.

The Catskill 3500 Isn’t Easy

Honestly, I have to say I did not give them the credit they deserved before I started hiking the Catskill Mountains.

The first time I hiked in the Catskill Mountains, I found rugged trails and the elevation gain was as much as hiking the Adirondack Mountains.

The First Catskill Mountain Hike

The first Catskill Mountain I hiked was up Wittenberg Mountain, then over to Cornell Mountain along the ridge. 

From the get-go out of Woodland Valley Campground, the hike up Wittenberg Mountain was very steep, with several scrambles over rock ledges.

The views at the top were amazing, despite some haze. 

View from Wittenberg Mountain

The hike down into the col between Wittenberg and Cornell was nice, but then we got to the Cornell Crack.

The Cornell Crack is no joke.

cornell crack cornell mountain catskill mountains

It was much more complicated to climb than I expected.

However, there were spectacular views; I also got to hike a section of the Long Path, a trail system I would like to complete someday.

What I Like About the Catskill 3500

The description of my first hike says it all. I was challenged, and that’s what I like. Maybe I don’t like that at the moment, but afterward, I enjoy it when the trail challenges me.

Also, I like that the hikes are quite short. In the Adirondacks, many of the hikes are over 10 miles long. In the Catskills, the hikes are shorter, so you can complete two or more in a day.

As a sedimentary geologist, I enjoy the sandstones, conglomerates, and sediment bedding features much more than the metamorphic gneiss and anorthosite of the Adirondacks and other ranges in the northeast.

catskill mountain trail

Catskill 3500 Checklist Download

Don’t forget you can Download a Copy of my Catskill 3500 checklist and track your progress toward completing the Catskill 3500.

catskill 3500 checklist to download
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