Once known as the Shandaken Mountains, this interior portion of the Catskills remained something of a mystery, as it wasn’t well known or visited. It wasn’t until the 1880s that Slide Mountain (10 miles south of Big Indian) was declared the highest in the Catskills, following a survey conducted by Princeton University Geology Professor Arnold Guyot. Today the mountain is quite accessible and popular. Although Slide is the highest in the range, the hike to reach it is not difficult. On the contrary, it is quite manageable, and plenty of rewards await the hiker.
The journey up the higher reaches of the Esopus Valley from Big Indian tends to lull you into a more relaxed state in a way that only the Catskills can. If you find yourself wanting to linger in the mountains, there are some lodging options to enhance your experience of this place. Two of these are found along the Slide Mountain Road in Oliverea: The Slide Mountain Forest House and the Full Moon Resort. Each of these inns features a unique mix of accommodations and activities, with trail networks for all seasons on both grounds. A third, the Alpine Inn is located on Burnham Road in Oliverea and offers a distinctive experience with a flavor of Swiss/ German heritage. And of course an overnight stay positions you well to enjoy other nearby destinations in the Catskill Forest Preserve, including Giant Ledge, Biscuit Brook, McKenley Hollow, and Lost Clove — all NYS trailheads on or near the the Slide Mountain Road (Ulster Co. 47).