Fahnestock Catfish Loop

Putnam Valley, New York 10579

Fahnestock Catfish Loop

Fahnestock Catfish Loop Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"These fun trails undulate so much you may be reminded of a roller-coaster ride. From mossrimmed swamps to granite-struck ridges, this hike passes through an extraordinary clutch of boulders and includes a side trip to a hidden pond that appears to have been forgotten by time."

Fahnestock Catfish Loop Trip Reports

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The day was perfect for this hike. 50 degrees and sunny. The leaves are all gone and there is numerous places to take in the sites. The first half of the hike is all about being up high and the views. One of my favorites is the view from West Mt. shelter. It is a spectacular view right down the hudson river. The second half of the trip is much lower and its all about looking back several years to a place called Doodletown. Lots of history, remnants of old houses and a cemetery. There are a few small streams and a nice little waterfall .
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This hike has two distinct components: the 1777 trail portion, and the rest. I did the hike "backwards" (from the description in the guide here) and highly recommend it.

The 1777 trail is broad, well-maintained, and fairly easy. It is close to the road, so you'll get a fair amount of traffic noise during a fair chunk of it. Doodletown is heavy on signs and light on ruins, so it was a bit disappointing. Having said that, it was interesting to see how quickly and ruthlessly nature can swallow up a town.

The rest of the trail was pretty hard, at parts very poorly marked, and absolutely worth every drop of sweat! The trail itself is scenic and full of variety, but the the panoramic views you get along the ridgelines are absolutely out of this world. I saw NYC's skyline in the distance quite clearly from a few points on the trail. The rest of the views of the Hudson Valley were phenomenal as well. I highly recommend this trail.
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As an amateur hiker and physically fit and healthy person, I must not recommend this trail for the less experienced. A group of us folloed the trail which we gave ourselves 4.5 hours (plenty of time to complete a 7 mile hike, according to the report). We loved the scenery but were very confused with the trail markings and blazers. The start of the trail was well marked but it soon became very confusing until the markings disappeared and we were stranded without a forward direction and not enough time before sundown to return back where we came from. Out of desperation, we followed a well-paved But unmarked trail and were fortunate to see a smokestack and house in the middle of nowhere. With no phone reception and the sun about to set, this had the potential to put us in a life-threatening situation.
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Pleasantly surprised by the amazing views both north & south along the hudson. Started off going the wrong way on the 1777 (WD) trail, but the views along the joining B leg were awesome. Some traffic noise from the Pkwy at start of hike, but not too bad.
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I absolutely love this solitudinous trail. It's very strenous though. It's also poorly marked (blazes poorly maintained) and you come to the point where you cannot find a red blaze to follow this trail. We decided to go the opposite direction (in this direction red blaze was visible) on the red trail and that's where the whole adventure began. Absolutely breathtaking views! Beautiful wildlife. Very difficult, steep sections of the trail. We ended up getting to the same point where we couldn't find the red blaze before, from the other side though (after about 2 hours). That's when we found this fainted red blaze on a tree. Now we know you have to look for it, it's cut out in a free and it's fainted red color. Barely visible.
Awesome trip, will do it again. Left woods at complete darkness though, so don't try if you haven't hiked before. I would not recommend this trail to begginers.

Fahnestock Catfish Loop Photos

Trail Information

Putnam Valley
Nearby City
745 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2.5 hours
At park headquarters on north side of NY 301, 0.6 mile west of Taconic Parkway; download from tinyurl.com/fahnestockmspmap; USGS Oscawana Lake
Local Maps

Trail Log