Hunter Mountain: Fire Tower Views and Delicious Brews
A few months ago, we heard about a new brewery hidden deeply in the Catskill Mountains. It seemed like a spot begging to be visited after a sweaty hike. After some basic map reading (NYNJTC Catskills Map 41), it looked like there was a parking lot just down the road from the brewery that connected to Hunter Mountain Fire Tower which at 4,040 feet, sounds like the perfect mix of a workout and some views.
PT 1: Hiking to Hunter Mountain Fire Tower
Park at the Hunter Mountain trailhead on Spruceton Road. The trailhead connects to the blue blazed Spruceton trail which is a straight (2,000 foot) shot up to the fire tower. After 2,000 feet of hiking up, you’ll reach the fire tower where you’ll enjoy incredible views of the surrounding region.
If you’re looking to extend your trip, the John Robb Lean-to is off a short spur trail on the way up. There are actually bunkbeds in the cabin next to the fire tower but they’re only available for local volunteers.
Here’s the truth: this is really not the best route up to the fire tower. The path is gravel and double track and there are other actual trail options you can take to get to the top. However, the parking is conveniently close to the brewery (scroll down for more).
Other options to get up to the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower include:
For a short and steep option, take the 4.7 Mile Beckman Trail
To make it easier, take the lift up to the top (3,200 feet) of Hunter Mountain Ski Resort ($14). From there, take the Colonel's Chair Trail 2 miles to the fire tower.
Another option is to create a loop with the Devil’s Path.
PT 2: Relaxing at Westkill Brewery
After our decent, we hopped into the car to check out Westkill Brewery, the inspiration for today’s hike choice. It’s a small brewery perched at the top of a hill just a minute off Spruceton Road. They really lean into their outdoorsy location, with antlers on the taps and maps galore.
We tried a Belgian Dubbel and their famous Kaaterskill IPA - both were delicious. The folks from Kingston Bread Lab were also on-site slinging fresh pizza’s so that didn’t hurt the vibe either. You can check out if they’ll have guest food purveyors on their instagram.
After leaving the brewery, we made one last stop at Newton Farm to pick up a few veggies before heading home.
Have you been to the fire tower or the Westkill Brewery? Let us know in the comments!