Fahnestock: Catfish Loop to Moneyhole Mountain to Chimney Top Trail

Today felt like a fall day. About 60 degrees, overcast. Not typical July weather. But it was a good day for a hike. It was cool, albeit a little muggy. The chance of rain didn’t stop us either. Looking for trails Jackie and I have not yet done in Fahnestock, we decided on the southwest corner that contains the Moneyhole Mountain Trail and Chimney Top Trail. Driving down Dennytown Road, just past Sunken Mine Road, on the left you come to a clearing where you can park. The Appalachian Trail runs through here, and that is where we started.

Crossing the street, you see the trailhead for the Catfish Loop. The first few steps of the trail are technically the Appalachian Trail, but then you come to a junction where you have a few options. Going straight keeps you on the AT, to the left starts the Catfish Loop, and to the right is also the Catfish Loop. We went right this time. We’ve done the whole Catfish Loop previously, and since we wanted to do the Moneyhole Mountain trail, we went right which eventually leads up to the Moneyhole trail. Crossing over a rock wall, you follow the red blazed Catfish Loop west. It’s a slight incline, with narrow, rocky paths, and continues that way until you reach the top where it opens to a clearing and comes to the yellow blazed Moneyhole Mountain Trail.

When you arrive at the junction, head south on the yellow trail. Walking along here was fairly level, and wider paths. This part was a nice leisurely stroll, which is surrounded on both sides by what to us looked like blueberry bushes. See the picture below and let us know if you think it’s safe to eat. We did come across some bear scat, and what appeared to be a paw print, so we remained on high alert. Fortunately and unfortunately we didn’t come across anything. Looks like a bear horn might be in order soon.

You then come to another junction that crosses with the Catfish Loop. Stay with the yellow trail. Walking along, we noticed something pretty cool. It is heavily wooded, and then comes to a rock wall. Once at the wall it turns almost into a pine forest. It felt like a totally different trail.

Finally, you reach the white blazed Chimney Top Trail. From here, it’s a half mile hike to top. Arriving at the top, you walk into a clearing with a chimney just standing by itself. The chimney is a supposedly the remnants of an old estate that burned down in the 1960’s. Looking out to the west, you can see Storm King Mountain across the Hudson. We spent a few minutes here just relaxing, enjoying the view. afterwards, we headed back down the way we came to head home. We joined back up with the yellow trail until we came back to the Catfish Loop junction.

When we got to the Catfish Loop junction, we went right to take us back to the car. The trail returns to being narrow and rocky, going mostly downhill. In about a mile and a half, you reach the junction with the AT and the Catfish Loop that we started on, so we headed back out to the road. Another fun hike was in the books.

See our recording of the hike here

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