Roulette Hike Review – Thomas Cole Mountain

The outcropping just before the summit of Thomas Cole Mountain

Hike Details

  • Region: Catskills State Park, Upstate New York
  • Trailhead: East Jewett, NY 12424
  • Approximate Round Trip: 6 Miles
  • Approximate Elevation Gain: 2,200 ft.
  • Exertion Level: Moderate
  • Technical Level: Easy
  • Recommended Footwear: Hiking Boots
  • No water sources after first 1/2 mile

Hike Overview

For a quick overview of the Thomas Cole Mountain Hike in the Catskills, watch my review below – it’ll give you a great idea of what it looks like on the hike!

 

In Depth Review

Overall, this was a great hike, but it wasn’t anything extraordinary. Perhaps the best trait about this hike is that it sees little traffic. If you want a hike in a popular area of the Catskills State Park that you will likely have to yourself on all but the busiest of days, this is a great hike for you. Or, you might be looking for a good first-solo-summit, and want something that isn’t too difficult, but still a good workout.

It started off with a gentle incline, following a rock bed up the beginning of the mountain. After you pass the registration box (about a 1/4 mile into the trail), it begins to pick up and be a little bit more uphill, with some very short scrambles/rocky areas to step up and through. Like anything, if you need it to be more of a workout, just up the pace a bit.

Much of the trail is overgrown as seen above

You’ll come past some neat rock formations along the way up, some that overhang or nearly enclose the trail. You’ll steadily gain altitude as you come up and through the trail that is nearly overgrown with ferns and other small weeds and grasses – would recommend wearing pants for this hike, and using a solid bug and tick spray. The infamous black flies weren’t too bad, but I made sure to reapply bug spray several times throughout. If the wind calms down, they will likely be a little worse. Perhaps be a little weary on the hottest days of the year.

You’ll continue on just past the 2ish mile mark to a false summit that is known as the Camel’s Hump. You’ll know you’re there when the trees open up a bit, and there are lookouts facing both North and South. I think the North facing one offers a bit better views, but you already walked your ass almost all the way up a mountain – I know you’ll be going to both of them anyways. You can’t miss ’em. Pictured below is the North facing outlook just off the trail on the Camel’s Hump.

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View from North facing outlook on Camel’s Hump

From there, you’ll continue on back into the thick of the woods – here is where the trail gets really overgrown, but still, nothing challenging. For the next half mile or so, it is a steep grade, with some rocks and roots to scramble up and over.

You’ll come through a section of pines (take in that good ol’ Christmas smell) that leads out into another clearing, with some mountain shrubbery flanking the trail – coming back down during the golden hour, it was actually pretty serene.

Bear Scat found on the trail

A little farther up the trail, I did come across some bear scat, but did not hear or see any near the trail. Be aware as usual, but don’t worry yourself about black bears.

Finally, after about three miles, you get to what is the official summit at 3,950′, at a level area in a section of pines. Unfortunately, this point is actually sort of just on the trail, with no visible marker that I found (if there is one and I missed it, please let me know with a comment below – this is actually my first hiking review, and trying to include everything that I remember! However, back the ways a little bit from the summit, there is a decent little clearing with a spot to relax for a bit and catch a south facing view.

Clearing just before the summit

Summary

Overall, I would give this hike a mixed score of about a 5/10. While the views weren’t that incredible, it was still a decent workout, and the peace and quiet of an empty trail was just what I needed that day. I would have to disagree with AllTrail’s rating of Hard, but apparently that is based on people who have done it during the winter. I would say this was between easy and moderate (more towards the easy side). But, if you’re new to hiking and want to give this one a try with the knowledge of a guide (and transportation from Hudson, NY if needed), visit our page about guided hikes, or get in touch!

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