"Dave Holden of Woodstock Trails made a small trail on my property, turning an unused patch into a wonderful path for contemplation and meditation. He knew precisely what I envisioned...then went one step further, suggesting a bench at the ideal resting spot and a railing for stone steps he made that went down a slope. His knowledge and respect for nature is so deep and it's catchy - if you haven't already fallen in love with the trees, the fallen limbs and the earth as he has."
Woodstocker Books (woodstockerbooks.com)
Start with woods you love. Perhaps you own them, perhaps you walk them. No matter.
Ask Dave to walk with you--to make meaning of the scattered stones and tiny groves. Walk and listen as he summons the spirits of the land to walk alongside you.
My wife and I asked him to help us dream ways through our woods that animals and spirits could find useful, that we would find joyful. He did. He narrowed his eyes to catch sight of small and subtle things. The MicMac in him grows stronger as you walk with him. Every wood is home to him, so he moves effortlessly and easily. We now walk everyday through a winding, magical path he helped us to craft.
We recommend him as a trustworthy ally as you deepen relationships with the many sanctuaries throughout your woods...
Kemp and Kerissa Battle
"To walk in the woods with Dave Holden is one of the treasures of Woodstock. For decades he has explored our local landscape to become more knowledgeable about our wild areas than anyone else. His Native American ancestry, his love of local history, his knowledge of nature, his good humor, and his delight in being outdoors all combine to make a walk with Dave Holden an experience as special as hearing the song of a thrush or smelling the mountain laurels in bloom.
He is Woodstock’s best guide."
Will Nixon and Michael Perkins are co-authors of "Walking Woodstock" and "The Pocket Guide to Woodstock".
"Dave Holden of Woodstock Trails took a long-abandoned, overgrown old road and worked diligently and imaginatively to make it into a clean, fun, viable trail for us. As well as creating the new path itself, Dave thoughtfully added places for contemplation and meditation, knowing that our walkers would like to be able to slow down, to stop and look around at the natural world surrounding them.
Hopefully, this will help them find inner peace in a green setting at Menla.
The Earth and the Sky Thank You, Dave Holden.
We highly recommend paths made by Woodstock Trails."
Michael Burbank. Director, Menla
“Dave Holden of Pathfinder Hikes is the person I contact when I want to investigate an area in the Town of Woodstock, New York, that I have not explored or need to explore further. He is the person I know who is most familiar with backwoods and off-trail areas. His knowledge of both natural and local human history, plus his enthusiasm, make hiking along with him most enjoyable. If you can, walk the woods with Dave Holden.”
Michael Kudish, Professor Emeritus,
Paul Smith’s College Division of Forestry. Author of The Catskill Forest:A History and Where did the Tracks Go?
August 2, 2012
"Dave Holden is an
absolute pleasure to work with.
He is a gifted naturalist for whom
trail-making is a spiritual endeavor.
Dave created beautiful trails that accentuated the natural features of our property. But more than this, he evoked a sense of sacredness on our land. He listened both to what we wanted and to what the land was needing.
We feel very blessed to have had Dave work on our property and look forward to planning future trails with him."
Namaste Sacred Healing Center (NamasteSacredHealing.com)
“Take a walk with Dave Holden and you will see even the most familiar trail with new eyes. With an expert and inspired guide like Dave, the woods, are haunted by the ghosts of Woodstock’s glory days, and memories of the people who worked and created there hang over them like fragrant woodsmoke. Every walk with Dave is a fresh adventure, leading off into the mountains like an old quarry or logging road toward new and surprising discoveries. Each peak, stream, valley, and byway has its own story, and Dave Holden knows them all!”
Retired NYS DC Trail Educator & Naturalist
“Dave Holden is a true asset to Woodstock. His knowledge of the areas’ backwoods and the old roads that weave through them, coupled with his familiarity with local history and lore, has been invaluable to my biodiversity studies of Woodstock. I would easily recommend to anyone to walk Woodstock with Dave.”
Biodiversity Mapping Coordinator,
Hudsonia, Ltd., Annandale, NY
“ I have know David Holden for many years and hiked with him often. David is a real enthusiast for the Ulster County region. He must know every trail and maybe every tree and is immersed in our area’s cultural history as well. I recommend him strongly.”
Robert Titus, Professor of Geology Hartwick College, Woodstock Times columnist
and author of The Catskills: A Geological Guide
My whole family had a wonderful time over the course of two days with Ranger Dave. My 81-year old father can’t handle strenuous hikes or very hilly terrain, and Dave treated us to a set of customized 2-3 hour walks over two beautiful days that gave us a great mix of amazing views and interesting (but not difficult!) terrain, with lots of local history sprinkled in for fun. My parents really felt like they’re getting to know Woodstock and the surrounding Catskills environment like locals!
On the first day, my family met Dave right in Woodstock and we all drove high up into the hills around Overlook mountain for a truly special hike around an old stone quarry. Dave knows all the local history and all kinds of interesting details about the geology and environment of this rarely seen nor experienced area. The following day we met Dave at the Comeau Property for a really nice long walk through the forest and along the gorgeous riverbed. In addition to being a licensed NY State guide, Dave actually helped preserve this local treasure from development and he used to maintain the hiking trails so he knows everything about the history, ecology and interesting flora and fauna. What a treat!
We will certainly be seeing Dave again anytime family or friends are in the Woodstock area and looking for a unique and fun outdoor adventure!
Cheers, Andrew (2020)
Dave Holden came into our lives in a magical way.
We were doing our final walk through of the property we were purchasing in August 2019 and out from the forest popped Dave. He introduced himself as a friend of the previous owners and let us know he had permission to be walking the land for what might have been his final days since we would be moving in soon after.
We welcomed him with open arms and invited him to come back as soon as possible. Which he did and we hired him immediately to create a loop of approx 2500 feet through sacred forest.
He came and went freely and took us on walks, teaching about the Carins, history and the magic of the sacred land and forest we had been blessed to care for.
The trail has since become an official Forest Bathing experience where we have brought offerings to the ancestors to honor and give thanks.
The trail is well marked and easily accessible for all to enjoy.
Dave was a pleasure to work with and we consider him a dear friend.
Stefanie Frank & Gordon Kindlon
Co founders of Eskffnest.com