16. Riggsville to Bull Run

Section 16: Riggsville to Bull Run


  • As part of recent special regulations for the Blue Hole and Peekamoose Valley at the end of this section, be aware that a permit is required for parking and usage of the area.  See details at www.dec.ny.gov/lands/109922.html.

Quick Facts

Distance: 10.1 miles
Parks: Sundown Wild Forest
Maps: Interactive Map, Catskill Trails (maps 143 and 146)
Print-Friendly Version: Link

General Description

The Long Path follows a snowmobile trail to Vernooy Falls, a series of lovely waterfalls. After the cascade, the Long Path leaves the snowmobile trail to follow and cross many dirt roads on gentle grades for the first six miles. The trail becomes narrower and more rugged as it passes the shoulder of Samson Mountain and climbs gently over Bangle Hill. The final descent to Bull Run is steep and long.


Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 19, Kingston. Continue on NY Route 28 west for about three miles, then turn left onto NY Route 28A. At Ulster County Route 3, go west to and through Samsonville. Go right on Sundown Road, then turn left onto Upper Cherrytown Road and follow it to the trailhead.


0.00  DEC parking area at entrance to Catskill Park on Upper Cherrytown Road. (41.86395°, -74.34630°)
9.65  Sundown primitive campsite on Peekamoose Road. (41.91679°, -74.43791°)
10.10  Parking area on Peekamoose Road (also known as Gulf Road and Ulster County Route 42). (41.91493°, -74.42923°)


Sundown primitive campsite and state land.

Trail Description

0.00  Opposite a DEC parking area on Upper Cherrytown Road, the Long Path enters the woods at a DEC sign with a red marker indicating a snowmobile trail. Follow the blue hiking trail markers and the large orange snowmobile markers on a wide path. The trail crosses a small stream and begins to ascend.

0.25  Cross a stream on a wooden footbridge and turn right to follow the stream. In another 0.1 miles, pass a piped spring on the left. The trail turns left away from the stream and ascends more sharply as large trees give way to a smaller forest. The trail eventually levels off and crosses several small streams.

1.70  Reach a clearing with Vernooy Falls, a series of lovely cascades in a large stream, on the left. A number of old foundations are in this area, and the hiker can explore several paths. The Long Path makes a sharp right turn on a wide cobble path as it continues to follow the blue trail markers and the orange markers of the snowmobile trail. After a gradual ascent, the trail levels off. Here, it is often wet.


Vernooy Falls. 2008 [JAKOB FRANKE]

2.65  The Long Path turns left up a gentle hill as the orange-marked snowmobile trail continues straight ahead. It reaches a gentle hilltop and becomes fairly level.

3.90  The trail turns left, the Long Path now follows a wide woods road. It crosses a stream on a large culvert. Several dirt roads lead away from the trail. A stream approaches from the left and the trail runs alongside it.

4.60  Cross a tributary stream on a wood plank bridge. The trail passes through hemlock forest before rejoining hardwoods. This section of the trail is often wet.

5.30  Cross a stream on a metal pipe culvert. In 500 feet, another dirt road goes off to the left.

5.60  The Long Path goes right on a narrow track, leaving the woods road. The trail climbs, often fairly steeply, until it reaches an abandoned woods road. Here it turns left on level ground. (For reverse direction, the turn off this woods road is a few hundred feet before the road curves to the left.)

6.10  At a small crest in the woods road, the Long Path turns right on a footpath, leaving the road. A few hundred yards further on, it makes a sharp left on a well-defined path. The general trend is gently downhill as it crosses several small streams.

7.95  The trail jogs left and runs along a level grade with a sharp drop to the right.

8.65  After reaching the top of Bangle Hill, the trail descends steeply, and then turns left and continues along a nearly level contour. 

8.85  Cross a rocky intermittent stream, turn right, and head downhill, parallel to the stream. It is now steep downwards all the way to the base of Bangle Hill. On the way down, the trail crosses the stream two more times. It then crosses the outlet of a spring and continues along the valley of the stream. The trail widens into a woods road and passes several other woods roads on the left.


At the bottom of Bangle Hill, near Peekamoose Road. 2012 [JAKOB FRANKE]

9.65  Reach Peekamoose Road (Ulster County Route 42) and turn right, passing  a parking area for the Sundown Primitive Campsite on the left. Occasional LP aqua blazes appear on roadside objects to mark the way.

9.75  The road crosses a bridge over Rondout Creek. In another 600 feet, it crosses a bridge over a tributary stream.

10.10  The Long Path departs from the road by turning left.


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Gedalyamil's picture

The past 2 days were among the best of my life!! Within the past 48 hours my brilliant nephew became Bar-Mitzva’ed, my first-ever great-nephew was born, my big brother gained handsomely in the recent stock market surg behind new jobs data (enough to even fund a bar-mitzva and bris), and I hiked the 16th stage of the Long Path. My traditional wife Annie joined me. We travelled by 2 cars to avoid fighting and enable a 2-car shuttle. I left my 2011 jalopy at the Peekamoose-Table trailhead and we rode her fully supped SUV to the starting point at the Vernooy Kills Falls Trailhead. One of my favorite delights of hiking the LP in Catskill Park is learning first-hand how the string of mountains are connected to one another and feeling one with the country roads. The roads both around the Peekamouse DEC parking area and on the shuttle back to Vernooy Kills were quintessential Catskills rustic and had me playing John Denver in my mind. Rondout Reservoir and Ashokan Reservoir were also exceptional highlights of the drive. I saw some NYC cop cars in the area and realized they were there protecting the City's water supply. Today's hike did not have the climbing, drama, or views of the upcoming mountain treks but Vernooy Falls was beautiful, the grey deciduous forests had their own regal majesty, and contrasted with attractive patches of evergreen forests. We brought micro-spikes and hiking poles but there was hardly snow to be found on this early April day. At the end of the hike we sheepishly eyed the daunting views across the range to tomorrow's looming adventure. Today’s hike was perhaps pedestrian, but was made beautiful by the summer-like day. Annie enjoyed it! She usually prefers shopping in Marshalls to sifting thru early Spring mud but something today made her smile. Annie has hiked (not entirely against her will) in the Swiss Alps, North Wales, the Scottish Highlands, the Arizona Desert, Utah Canyons, and California Coast but she claims to dislike “eastern remoteness”. I’m not sure what that means, but I think the LP is changing her mind. Driving home alone I was thinking how much the LP has changed me. Each hike a small important bit. The things I've seen each day have been wonderous. I recommend the LP if you're between jobs, retired, between semesters, have a job you can do by phone (good reception on most hikes), or if you can dedicate weekends for a string. I’m thinking that the LP is one of the top 10 things I have ever done. Nearly my entire remaining top 10 list is still blank, so I’m glad to have one filled in.