17. Bull Run to Denning Road

Section 17: Bull Run to Denning Road


  • As part of recent special regulations for the Blue Hole and Peekamoose Valley at the start 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: 7.6 miles
Parks: Sundown Wild Forest, Slide Mountain Wilderness
Maps: Interactive Map, Catskill Trails (map 143)
Print-Friendly Version: Link

General Description

This is a rugged trail section that begins with a three-mile, 2,500-foot ascent of Peekamoose Mountain. Shortly before the top, there is a tremendous view of the Rondout Creek valley. After climbing out of the saddle between Peekamoose and Table Mountains, the trail ascends along the broad, gentle "top" of Table to the summit. From Table, the trail drops to the valley of the East Branch of the Neversink River. The trail then climbs out of the river valley and joins the Phoenicia-East Branch Trail. For the entire length of the section, the Long Path follows the blue-blazed Peekamoose-Table Trail.


Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 19 (Kingston). Continue on NY Route 28 west. In Boiceville, about 17 miles from the Thruway, turn left onto NY Route 28A. (Do not turn left onto Route 28A where it first meets Route 28, about 3 miles west of the Thruway.) In West Shokan, turn right onto Peekamoose Road (Ulster County Route 42, also known as Gulf Road and as Sundown-West Shokan Road). (This turn may not be marked by a street or route sign, but a large sign points to Grahamville and Town Offices.) Follow Peekamoose Road for about 10 miles to a parking area on the right.


0.00  Parking area on Peekamoose Road. (41.91493°, -74.42923°)
7.60  Parking area at end of Denning Road (1.2 miles along the Phoenicia-East Branch Trail from the end of this section). (41.96556°, -74.45248°)


0.00  Sundown Primitive Campsite (on Peekamoose Road, 0.4 miles west of trailhead).
5.20  Bouton Memorial Lean-to.
7.15  Two DEC campsites.

Trail Description

0.00  From the north side of Peekamoose Road, about 250 feet south of the parking area, the Long Path proceeds uphill on a woods road, following the blue-blazed Peekamoose-Table Trail.

0.85  The trail turns right, leaving the woods road, and continues on a footpath. The ascent is steady but varying in pitch as the trail alternates between gentle stretches and sharp, rocky climbs.

2.35  Reach Reconnoiter Rock, a rock outcrop, with a partial view to the northwest. The trail now levels off for some distance.

3.10  Just past the 3,500-foot elevation sign, reach a wide ledge to the right of the trail, with excellent views. In another 250 feet, an unmaintained trail, with some old red paint blazes, goes off to the right and descends to Peekamoose Road.

3.35  Pass a spring that comes from a small cleft in the rock to the left, a source of water. The trail now passes through a dwarf spruce forest.

3.80  Begin to climb steeply.

3.95  Reach the summit of Peekamoose Mountain, marked by a large rock to the left of the trail. Some views to the northeast are possible from the top of the rock. The trail descends steeply into the col between Peekamoose and Table Mountains.

4.20  Reach the base of the col, and begin gentle ascent.

4.40  Begin a steep ascent up Table Mountain. The grade moderates, and then becomes extremely gentle when the nearly flat ridge of Table Mountain is attained. Shortly after attaining the ridge, an unmarked trail to the right leads to an excellent viewpoint over the Burroughs Range and Rocky and Lone Mountains to the northeast.

4.80  Reach the summit of Table Mountain, on the divide between the drainage basins of the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. (The wooded summit affords no views.) Descend, sometimes steeply, as hardwoods replace spruce forest. Past the summit is an excellent view point.

5.15  Pass a sign indicating the 3,500-foot elevation.

5.20  A trail leads left to the Bouton Memorial Lean-to. About 500 ft past the turn-off to the lean-to is an excellent spring.

5.55  Begin to climb over a small knoll. The way down includes four sharp drops that are separated by gentler sections.

6.35  The descent is interrupted briefly by a second small knoll.

7.15  Two DEC campsites are indicated with yellow tent markers.

7.20  The trail drops into the broad, flat flood plain of the East Branch of the Neversink River.

7.30  Pass the flood plain of the East Branch of the Neversink River. At the crossing of Deer Shanty Brook, two new log bridges have been constructed where crossings at times of high water were formerly a problem.

7.45  Climb out of the flood plain and ascend gently.

7.60  Reach the yellow-blazed Phoenicia-East Branch Trail.* To continue, turn right and follow the yellow markers. To the left, it is 1.2 miles to the parking area at the end of Denning Road.


Previous Section: Section 16
Next Section: Section 18

* This junction marks the eastern end of the Finger Lakes Trail, a hiking trail that continues west along the Southern Tier of New York to the Pennsylvania border at Allegheny State Park.

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Gedalyamil's picture

What an amazing day!! I woke up at 5am, was out the door by 5:30, and arrived at the Denning Road terminus by 7:30. I was near-tears nostalgic (violins please) driving up the Route 17 Quickway today because I know this is the last time Waze will take me in this direction. It’s been an amazing run driving this way upstate every morning for the past couple of weeks. I now see this area in a whole new light. Also, with so much time on the road thank God my sleep apnea has not gotten the better of my driving so far. BTW, my new CPAP machine arrived today (hang in there drivers!). My shuttle taxi was scheduled to arrive at Denning Road at 8am to transport me to the Peekamoose-Table Trailhead and the start of the hike. I bided my time by setting my pack, saying my morning prayers, and strapping on my boots. The taxi never showed!! By 8:15 I had a sinking de-ja-vu feeling going back to hike #15 (remember: no taxi, cold, dark, 4 hours, daughter, angry wife, hero brother, etc). Also, I needed to be on a video conference by 4PM with a medical artificial intelligence (AI) start-up company that I'm doing some consulting for. I did not want to abort this hike!! I drove back on Denning Road for about 6 miles till I had some cell signal and called the cabbie at "We Care Travels" (they actually do give a s**t), which is based in Liberty. She explained the screw-up: They had my wrong cell number. They didn't realize there was no service in this remote terminus of Denning Road. OK, s**t happens sometimes. I coolly calmed down and drove back to the trailhead and “We Care” picked me up at 9:30. It was 90 minutes late, but we had some miraculous 'kivitzut haderech' en-route to the Peekamoose-Table Trailhead. That means super-natural shortening of the travel time. You see, last nite Waze predicted a 40 minute trip from Denning to Peekamoose and it took us less than 20 to get there. If you don't believe in miracles (ugh!) this could rationally be explained by the possibility that Waze assumes you can only go 5-10MPH at night on these backcountry roads but in the light of day (especially when the passenger has a 4PM Zoom meeting) you can go 45 MPH. Anyway, I attacked the trail from the get-go. But before I go there, 2 things: (i) There was a Porto-John at the Peekamoose-Table Trailhead. Its mildly unsightly and the plastic structure doesn't fit in with the natural rustic environs but its fairly functional. By contrast, the Denning Road Trailhead had no Porto-John, but lots of evidence of its absence. I humbly recommend that the DEC place these facilities at more trailheads. (ii) The cabbie asked me to wear a mask. I gave her my shpiel. The whole nine yards: masks, social distancing, shutdowns, ongoing so-called "pandemic" it’s all a hoax. I don't need AI to know this! Nevertheless, I complied in her cab. She was very nice about it. The fare was $57. It’s a fair fare considering the remoteness of the area, distance from their Liberty home-base, and the fact that I got to experinece 'kivitzut haderech'. Back to the hike, I was hoof'en it today. I climbed to the summit uninterrupted in 1.5 hours. Fast for this 49 y.o. (hanging on to every bit of 49). There were enough flat sections to provide breathers in between the steep climbs. The weather was beautiful. Sunny and middle-low 60s. The trees changed abruptly to a pretty stunted grey above Reconnoiter Rock (i'm not an arborologist, but that's what they looked like to me). The view from the rocky outcropping near the Peekamoose summit of the surrounding high peaks was downright inspiring. My first taste of consistent snow was at ~3 miles, near the 3,500 foot elevation sign. I put on spikes here and did not remove them the rest of the hike. I relaxed a bit post-summitting Peekamoose. Trail finding was different (but not difficult) near the snow-covered peaks and saddle areas. There were a couple of icy slopes, but it was pure fun and no great worry. Once I got to the two attractive bridges over Deer Shanty Brook at the base of Table I relaxed even more and turned on my daily Talmud podcast. Ironically, today’s topic of discussion was futuristic Brooks that stream forth from Solomon's Temple. Overall, a great classic Catskill hike and a terrific work-out in under 5 hours (fast for an old man). I drove home energized! I passed the beautiful Neversink Reservoir, and joined my video conference from the car whilst on the Quickway, but my mind was already on Cornell, Wittenberg and Slide. Trivia question of the day: Over the past 2 hikes I drove past these 3 very attractive Catskill Reservoirs. Which is your favorite? A) Neversink B) Rondout C) Ashokan