Cortina Valley to Palenville

 4 votes

10.9 Miles 17.6 Kilometers



1,460' 445 m


-3,023' -921 m


3,107' 947 m


536' 163 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (19°)



A grueling one way ride with some tough terrain, but very rewarding downhill with incredible views!

Mike Henry


Can be wet up top so ride it when it is relatively dry out - be prepared, there's no easy way out!
Starts out with a tough climb, and the entire trail is technical. There's a plane crash site on Kaaterskill High Peak that's interesting to check out, as well as some incredible views off the top of waterfalls (but be careful!)

There's also a fast long downhill at the end of the ride - not for beginners!

Need to Know

This ride is one-way, you'll need to leave a car at the bottom, or endure a tough road ride back up. There's a parking area on Rte 23A in Palenville. I wouldn't do this one alone. Don't forget to stop in at "Circle W" in Palenville for a nice, healthy lunch!


Park on Gillespie Road, a steep dirt road climb to top of Cortina Mountain ski area, and access the trail behind the top of the ski lift. The trail is on State Land, marked as a snowmobile trail, and it can be wet in the spring. Start with an arduous climb for about 1/2 hour, with small ledges along the way. I don't think anyone has ever cleaned every section, but give it a shot and comment if you make it!

The trail levels out and can hold water when it's wet out. Stay left at the first intersection, turn left at the next intersection, and follow signs for Palenville. This would be the place to turn back if you have any doubts! Be prepared for some serious technical downhill. There are no big drops, but let go of the brakes and you'll be flying! The trail crosses two streams, each with spectacular views from the tops of waterfalls.

The last section drops over 1,500 feet! Have fun, ride hard, but be careful!


Rate Featured Ride


4.5 from 4 votes

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Jul 18, 2015
George Holzhauer
Tough climbs I did a lot of walking. Also he trail was not makes well in the beginning but once I found the snow mobile trail marking I was good to... — 1h 06m
Oct 26, 2013
Chris Cusumano
Rode the Cortina Valley Round Top High Peak Loop 10.3mi — 2h 49m
Jul 28, 2013
John Parker
Road up 23 to make it a loop. It started raining and never stopped shortly after I started. The trail on the top had a ton of standing water on it. 20mi

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 4 votes


  4.5 from 4 votes
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So stoked just found out about another trail network close to me in the catskills May 7, 2014

Looks amazing! Jun 8, 2016

Thanks for posting this. Best ride in the NYS/NJ area. Hard up/downhill. Rode past plane wreck to climb up the extremely steep trail to High Peak. If you try this, be ware it'd make an extremely challenging climb by 1 single person. We passed bikes from one another to overcome a few sections. Rewarding viewpoint and beautiful alpine patch above 3k feet. Very challenging downhill, not for everyone Oct 11, 2016

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