The Combo Grid
Gridding a dozen specially chosen hikes
As you are hiking The Catskill 35 and pursuing lofty hiking goals such as the Catskill High Peaks - 4 Seasons, the Catskill 420 Grid, the Single Season 35'R, or the Single Season 35'R FOUR in a ROW, you may want to consider the Combo Grid.
The Combo Grid allows you to track your progress in hiking a dozen specially chosen hikes. For each of the hikes, you'll see how many times you've hiked it in each month and season. It's up to you if you want to complete a monthly or seasonal grid for each hike.
We've provided two summaries: Regular Combos and Ultra Combos, with each summary containing a half dozen hikes.
Progress Reports - Combo Grid
Ideas and Suggestions
The Combo Grid is an exciting new way to hike The Catskill 35.
Please email us with your ideas and suggestions for making The Combo Grid even better.
This is the classic Catskill trail hike which is frequently hiked as a car-shuttle traverse between the Slide Mountain and Woodland Valley trailheads. Each direction offers a unique experience. It can also be hiked out and back or in a loop from either trailhead.
Traverse W-C-S: About 9 miles; 3,400' ascent
Traverse S-C-W: About 9 miles; 2,400' ascent
Out and back S-C-W: About 11 miles; 3,600' ascent
Traverse W-C-S from Lane Street: About 16.3 miles; 4,500' ascent
This is a bread and butter hike for avid Catskill High Peaks peak baggers folding three days of hiking into one with a very small incremental extra effort. It's usually hiked as a car-shuttle traverse with Friday first and Peekamoose last. It's fun going backwards too.
This can also be hiked as a loop from the Denning trailhead for a vastly different experience.
Peekamoose Parking Permits
Here are ways to avoid the parking permits required at the Peekamoose trailhead from May 15 to September 15.
- 1) Park at Moonhaw, get dropped off at Peekamoose and go backwards.
- 2) Hike the loop from Denning.
- 3) Hike The NINE or The OCHO instead.
- 4) Hike a traverse from Moonhaw to Denning (NOTE: this is a 55 minute car shuttle!).
About 11.5 miles; 4,000' ascent
Any way you approach it, you'll need excellent navigation skills and endurance. If you're after a FKT you'll have to hike a full loop with Denning being the most common starting and finishing trailhead. Slide Mountain trailhead and Moon Haw are other options.
You can reduce the mileage by employing a car shuttle. The StraightLine NINE starts at Peekamoose and ends at Slide. Either direction between Slide Mountain trailhead and Denning are even more feasible with a shorter drive between trailheads and less elevation gain.
If you'd really like to kick it up a notch, consider the Romer Nine which adds Cross, Pleasant and Romer mountains and ends at the Lane Street trailhead in Phoenicia. Of course, none of those peaks "count"!
About 16 miles; 5,000' ascent
This challenging loop hike is one of the great things that happened when the Gould Family closed access to their property. By starting from the Biscuit Brook trailhead, we now have one of the more challenging hikes in the Catskills. Hikers who've hiked it seem in unanimous agreement that it is more challenging than The SIX and requires superior navigation skills.
If you're considering this one for the first time and you'd like to hike with a group, contact us and we'll try our best to get you in touch with some Triple-Biscuit-Experienced hiking buddies.
About 11.8 miles; 3,250' ascent
Biscuits and Gravy
By far, this is the most challenging combo in the Big Indian Wilderness. You take the Triple Biscuit and add some Eagle and Balsam gravy. You'll likely want to use a car shuttle for this one. Another way to look at this combo is that it's a FirBBiE with a quick out and back to Doubletop in the middle.
About 17 miles; 4,800' ascent
CrazyCombo™ Spruceton StraightShot
The CrazyCombo™ name is throwback to the days when we hiked as the Rip Van Winkles, but by current standards this is not so crazy anymore. Best hiked as a straight line from Shaft Road to the end of Spruceton Road, getting the bushwhacking portion finished early and ending with a trail hike, it's also routinely hiked in the opposite direction. Under certain conditions a DoubleShot approach may make sense.
About 11.3 miles; 4,200' ascent
There's no longer only one SIX in the Catskills. SIX West is a new one that we've quickly come to enjoy. It's a long challenging day, so you might consider stashing some water at the midpoint around Diamond Notch falls.
About 20.5 miles; 6,950' ascent
Hiking the four peaks on the eastern Devils Path is one of the true pleasures of rugged trail hiking in the Catskills. Best hiked as a traverse with a car shuttle, it can also be tackled as an ambitious DoubleShot or an outrageous out and back hike.
Hiking the Devils Path route precisely as a traverse from the Prediger Road trailhead to the Notch Lake trailhead on Route 214 is the first half of the Devil in a Day challenge.
Experienced Catskill peak baggers come to know that tackling them biggest to smallest (Plateau to Indian Head) is the best recipe for a successful and pleasurable trip. They may even have a few shortcuts up their sleeves to spice thing up a bit.
About 8.8 miles; 3,900' ascent
Kaaterskill High Peak, Roundtop
The addition of Roundtop to the Catskill 35 has added so much variety and interest to the hiking in the Kaaterskill Wild Forest.
Aficionados of the Majestic Roundtop have rediscovered the DEP parking lots on Gillespie Road (Gillespie One and Gillespie Two) and have found relief from the busier scene at the Platte Clove parking lot. So many route options are possible when planning to hike this pair that we'll leave it up to you to find your own favorites.
About 6 miles; 1,600' ascent
CrazyCombo™ Mink-Gillespie Horseshoe
If you think, as we do, that every cluster of Catskill peaks should have a challenging horseshoe shaped combo, then you'll come to love this one which we think is the most challeging of the bunch. You may tend to agree when you see the elevation profile of the traverse route.
It may even prompt you to consider hiking this combo as a DoubleShot. It's just a DPE4 traverse plus a KHP, Roundtop combo: a pretty full hiking day for sure!
About 17.5 miles; 6,200' ascent
Devils Path Peaks
These are the peaks you'll summit if you hike the full Devils Path Traverse which just happens to be the Catskills entry on the New England Ultra 8 (NEU8) challenge.
If you're not up to that challenge, you could consider hiking this combo as a DoubleShot, saving some mileage.
Distance and elevation? Let us know.
You can hike all four peaks in the Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness by adding Windham High Peak to the three peaks of the Blackhead Range.
The legacy route would be a horseshoe shaped trail hike between the Barnum Road and Peck Road trailheads. This is a fabulous hike and perhaps the best of the "horseshoes" in the Catskills.
With the addition of some newly acquired DEP parcels, a shorter circular route can be considered. Short bushwhack sections at each end of the hike replace the trail mileage to the traditional trailheads and the circular shaped route avoids the need for a car shuttle, so this route can be hiked solo if necessary.
Many hikers choose to use a DoubleShot approach to hiking this combo which allows you to refresh your water and supplies at your car.
About 13.8 miles; 4,350' ascent