We recommend getting an early start for this adventure. (Please see the entry for Rider Hollow, located southeast of Arkville, on the Hiking page.) If you’re coming to the byway from the east, there are a number of breakfast options on the way to this hike. These include the Pineview Bakery in Shokan.
Located just over a mile past Winchell’s Corner (Reservoir Road, Shokan) on the right side of the byway. The Phoenicia Diner is another popular breakfast spot, also located on the byway, 2.75 miles west of the junction of Routes 28 and 212.
Turn on left on Dry Brook Road in Arkville (.2 after crossing the RR tracks); continue 4.68 miles and turn left on Todd Mountain Road (Ulster Co. 49A); continue .47 mi. and turn right onto Rider Hollow Road. The Rider Hollow Trailhead and Parking Area are located at the end of this road. As mentioned in the entry for Rider Hollow, there is a lean-to along the trail near the parking area, and hikers have a choice of direction for reaching the 3600′ summit of Balsam Mountain. The view near the summit makes for a perfect lunch spot. An estimated time for completing the hike is 3.25 hours, though in winter the hike could take up to five hours.
After you’ve completed the hike, you’ll want to consider the many dining options. If you plan on driving east along the byway, two nearby options are Oakley’s Place specializing in wood-fired pizza and located 1.5 miles east along the byway from Dry Brook Road. A bit farther along Route 28 (3 miles), the byway turns left onto Old Route 28, which becomes Main Street in the village of Fleischmanns. In the center of town are two Mexican restaurants, La Cabana and Mi Lupita. You make the choice… but you’ll likely want to return to try the one you didn’t choose.
These restaurants, along with others in the Margaretville area are conveniently located if you plan to stay overnight. If that is your plan, you very well may want to take a swim or workout at the Catskill Recreation Center in Arkville. It’s a great way to start your day… or conclude it, if you still have energy after the hike.