Red Hill is a 2,990-foot mountain nestled in the Neversink Highlands and the Sundown Wild Forest. This 27,000-acre parcel forms the southeasterly border of the Catskill Park and acts as the Watershed divide between the Delaware and Hudson River basins.
The trail begins at the DEC Parking Lot off of Dinch Road, a dirt and gravel roadway. Yellow markers line this 1.4-mile and 850-foot hike to a picnic area and ranger station. Along the way you’ll pass through forests of sugar maples, shining pine, and ground cedar. There is a natural spring located about 250-feet off the path at about a mile in. Overall, this trail ascends at a slow rate for the first half and then follows a steep climb to the fire tower at the summit.
This peak’s fire tower stands 60-feet high and was constructed in 1921 to fill a missing link in the region’s forest fire detection network. It was the last staffed fire tower in the Catskills, and it closed in 1990. Today, it is one of five remaining fire towers in the Catskill region. (The four others are Hunter, Overlook, Tremper, and Balsam Lake.) It was set be torn down, but preservationists and forest historians campaigned to restore it and have it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eventually it was reopened to the public in 2000.
To the north you can see the Big Indian and Slide Mountain wilderness. To the south and southeast there is the Rondout Reservoir and the Shawangunks. You can even see the faint outline of Skytop Tower and the Mohonk Preserve.
This trail was constructed when the private landowner closed the vehicle road to the south. While open to the public, groups larger than 20 require a permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Note that the snow is not plowed after the intersection of Dinch and Rudolph roads in the winter months. Therefore, adventurers at this time of year should plan for an additional mile of trail and an approximately 325 feet of decent to the starting point kiosk.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.