Hunter-Westkill Wilderness Area
|Description: This remote wilderness area includes Hunter Mountain—second-highest
peak in the Catskills—and three other summits within the Catskill High
Peaks Bird Conservation Area. Outdoor enthusiasts as well as wildlife are
drawn to the dazzling and often steep terrain, which has elevations ranging
from 1,000 feet to 3,880 feet.|
Wildlife to Watch: White-tailed deer and coyotes are the most frequently seen large mammals;
watch for them in open areas at sunrise or sunset. Look for snakes on the
forest floor beginning in spring. Watch for wild turkeys, Bicknell’s thrush,
several different birds of prey and dozens of species of songbirds. You may
flush a ruffed grouse if you step close to one in the brush. Black bears are
present but few in number, so seeing them is rare. This also applies to
bobcats, fishers and porcupines.
Special Tips: There are no restrooms in the area.
518-473-9518, DEC Division of Lands and Forests,
Other Activities: Seven miles of the popular, moderately difficult Devil’s Path traverse the
northeast portion of the area, rising to the top of Westkill Mountain. This trail
offers breathtaking views of the central Catskills from the Buck Ridge lookouts
just east of the summit.
Diamond Notch Trail is a gentle 3-mile hike. Beautiful Buttermilk Falls, at the
junction of Devil’s Path, drops about 25 feet in an amphitheater-like setting,
with a small meadow nearby.
Ownership: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Size: 19,250 acres
Closest Town: Lexington
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: