|Quick Look - Packsaddle|
|Difficulty||Round trip||Total climb||Location||Internet Maps|
|7.6 mi.||2175 ft.||N42.2177 W74.3590||Google Maps|
Packsaddle and Pine Island can be hiked in succession as a loop by hiking to the col between them, by spotting a car or separately. Both peaks are in the Hunter Mountain Wild Forest but access on state land can be a problem. Asking permission from local landowners is the most polite way to make sure no one objects to your hike. There is public access along Schoolhouse Brook starting from Spruceton Road. Another popular jumping off point is at the end of Arbor Road of the Tumbleweed Ranch Road. There are a few POSTED signs near Schoolhouse Brook but none in the woods by Arbor Road.
Follow Route 6, Spruceton Road, east for about 2 miles. Shoemaker Road will appear on your right and just after this is Schoolhouse Brook. On the left is a gated driveway with room for one car to park so that it is not blocked. An alternative is to drive less than a mile down Spruceton Road and park at the first public access lot on the right. Asking permission to park and hike is always an option. Hike up Schoolhouse Brook watching for the POSTED signs as you go. You may run into some woods roads that will make hiking quicker but at some point you will be bushwhacking north or a little northwest. After about a mile you can choose to head for the col or go directly for Packsaddle. At this point you are on state land so either option should be OK. A woods road runs toward the Col which may make hiking easier but I headed directly to the summit. The summit is about .5 miles but the climb is steep in places. In the first mile you gain about 650 feet but in the last .5 miles the elevation change is 725 feet!
From the top of Packsaddle take a bearing east or slightly northeast toward the Col between Packsaddle and Pine Island. As you descend watch for a woods road. This road runs all the way from near the top of Pine Island to near the top of Packsaddle. The road does switchback some but does head to the col so watch your bearing. Once you lose the road on top of Pine Island it's a bushwhack to the highest spot. The trip between the two peaks is less than 2 miles. Each season provides its own excitement with plenty of prickers and nettles from spring to fall!
From Pine Island take a southeast bearing for the Col between Pine Island and Evergreen. There are some steep spots with rock ledges on the descent. Do not take any of the woods road that run north-south as they do not seem to lead down the mountain. You may run into a woods road that runs east or southeast and toward the col. This road eventually turns south and southwest toward Arbor Road. Follow this road but be sure to take a turn that avoids walking into someone's back yard. The total distance from summit to road is less than 1.5 miles. Once on the roads head south toward the Spruceton Road which is about 1.5 miles distant. Notice the beautiful valley and stop to take some pictures of Westkill, Evergreen, Hunter, Packsaddle and Pine Island. Once on Spruceton Road walk west for about a mile to get back to your car.