Mud Pond/Trout Pond Loop


This loop hike in the western Catskills climbs through a ravine to reach Mud Pond, with interesting stone foundations from former settlements, and continues to scenic Trout Pond, with opportunities for fishing and swimming.

3 hours
4.8 miles
Route Type:
Allowed off leash
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Daniel Chazin


Looking south over Trout Pond. Photo by Daniel Chazin.


View Mud Pond/Trout Pond Loop in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
Driving Directions

Take NJ 17 north to the New York Thruway and continue to Exit 16. Proceed west on NY 17 to Exit 94 (Roscoe). Turn left at the end of the ramp onto County Route 179, which becomes N.Y. Route 206 in half a mile. In 2.6 miles (from Exit 94), you’ll cross the Beaver Kill. Just beyond the bridge over the stream, turn left onto Morton Hill Road, then bear right at the next intersection. In another 2.7 miles, the pavement ends. Continue ahead on the gravel road for 0.3 mile and turn left onto Russell Brook Road (marked by a sign "Seasonal Limited Use"). Follow Russell Brook Road downhill for 0.5 mile to a parking area on the right.


From the parking area, follow a short path downhill and turn right onto a woods road that descends parallel to Russell Brook, on the left. At the base of the descent, the road turns left and crosses the brook on a wooden bridge (to the right, a short distance upstream, are the stone abutments of the original bridge over the brook). Just ahead, you’ll pass a trail register on the left and reach a Y-intersection. Bear left at this fork, following the signs to Mud Pond, anMud Pond. Photo by Daniel Chazin.d continue along a blue-blazed snowmobile trail. After crossing another bridge over a tributary stream, the trail begins to climb, first rather steeply, then more gradually.

In about a mile, after a short descent, you’ll reach a trail junction, marked by signs. Continue ahead for 500 feet on the wide woods road, now following the blue-blazed Mud Pond Trail, then turn left onto an unmarked path that leads down to Mud Pond. Despite its name, Mud Pond is a very attractive body of water, and both fishing and swimming (at your own risk) are permitted. You’ll want to spend a few minutes at the shore of this pond.

Now return to the Mud Pond Trail and turn left. Just ahead, you’ll notice some bluestone foundations to the left of the trail – remnants of old settlements in the area. You may wish to explore these interesting ruins, but use caution, as there are some steep drop-offs.

After checking out these interesting historical relics, retrace your steps to thFoundations on Mud Pond Trail. Photo By Daniel Chazin.e trail junction, marked by the signs, and turn left (east) onto a grassy path -- the continuation of the route of the blue-blazed Mud Pond Trail. After a short climb, the trail crosses the remnants of an old stone wall and levels off, passing through abandoned fields that are now overgrown with young maple trees. The trail descends slightly, crosses a branch of Russell Brook, then starts a gradual climb to a spur of Cherry Ridge. Unfortunately, there are no views from the crest of the rise.

The trail now begins a steady descent, rather steeply in places, reaching Trout Pond at the base of the descent. The largest wilderness lake in this area of the Catskills, Trout Pond offers opportunities for fishing and swimming (again, at your own risk). The trail bears left and crosses the pond’s inlet stream on a wooden bridge. Just beyond, a short side trail on the left leads to a lean-to. This is a good place to stop for lunch.

Trout Pond from near the dam at its southern edge. Photo by Daniel Chazin.When you’re ready to continue, return to the main trail and bear left. Almost immediately, you’ll reach a junction with the Trout Pond Trail. The Mud Pond Trail ends here, but you should continue heading south along the eastern side of the pond, following the Trout Pond Trail (also blazed blue). In about half a mile, you’ll reach the southern end of the pond, where there are views over the pond from the dam just to the right of the trail. The trail now descends on a woods road through a mixed deciduous and evergreen forest, with the pond’s outlet stream on the right.

In about 20 minutes, you’ll reach an open area where the snowmobile trail you followed at the start of the hike comes in from the right. Continue ahead on the Trout Pond Trail, which crosses Russell Brook on a wooden bridge, curves to the right, and climbs to the parking area on Russell Brook Road, where the hike began

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Hike South For More Exercise

My wife and daughter visited Trout Pond yesterday. It being a damp, post-Labor Day Monday, the trail was deserted, and the leaves were just starting to turn.   Instead of taking the route described here, we parked at the (empty) lot on Campbell Brook Road and took the trail south.  We had to cut the hike short when one of our party became sick, but the out-and-back to Trout Pond had, as best as I can read on the NYNJTC map, a roughly 900' - 1000' total climb over 3.4 miles.   If you're looking to give your legs a bit more of a workout, that's the route to take.

Described loop hike also has good workout

If you look at the contours on the Trail Conference map, you'll see that the loop hike I describe has an elevation gain of about 750 feet from Russell Brook to the top of the ridge.  So you get a nice workout with this hike, too.  Moreover, this is a loop hike which also visits the intersting Mud Pond.

Trout Pond Camping

Other than the lean-to, is camping permitted along Trout Pond itself? When I was younger I camped adjacent to the tributary located on the eastside of the Pond. I would enjoy to take my kids camping here and would like verify the it is in fact acceptable. I assume there is no registry as these are not designated camp sites, and this is considered "primitive" camping. Any information would be very helpful and appreciated. We would enjoy sticking to back country camping, away from actual campground areas where people congregate. Sincerely, Greg

Camping at Trout Pond

While camping is generally permitted anywhere in the Forest Preserve, camping is ordinarily not permitted with 150 feet of any pond or stream, except at designated sites.  Thus, camping along the shore of Trout Pond would not be allowed at undesignated sites.  However, there are several designated campsites along the shore of Trout Pond, besides the two lean-tos at the pond.  Primitive camping at Trout Pond is permitted at these sites.

Camping at Trout Pond

That is great news, and thank you again for confirming. I assume that it is "first come, first serve" when it comes to occupying one of the campsites? Also, do you happen to know how are the conditions are to get there and around the Pond?   Sincerely, Greg

Trout Pond

Yes, the campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  My experience is that Trout Pond is very popular on weekends but less so on weekdays.  As to getting there, there is a parking area on Russell Brook Road (it must be approached from the north, as most of the road along the brook was washed out a number of years ago), and you hike in from there on a trail that follows a woods road.  The woods road leads around the northern side of the pond to the lean-tos, which are at the western end.  There are several designated campsites near the western end of the pond, and there is also a designated campsite at the southeastern corner of the pond, across the pond's outlet.  There is no formal trail along the southern side of the pond.

Hiked this loop on July 6, 2013

Trails, shelters, bridges, etc. are all in excellent condition.  Water at mud pond was great for a quick dip to cool off on a hot day.

Beware "seasonal road"

This is a great hike but be mindful that Russell Brook Road is a "seasonal road" ( and is marked as such) -- we made the mistake of ignoring that fact, got stuck, had tow truck drama, etc. Do not tempt fate!